On 12 December 2013, nearly 1,000 local residents clashed with riot police after gathering outside Dongyang Government offices in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang in protest over plans to set up an electroplating plant near their homes.
The site for the planned electroplating plants used to be a polluting dyeing and clothing manufacturer, which was shut down recently, after the strict environmental monitoring from the government. Residents were fearing the high pollution level. Since they had already seen that the pollution levels in the nearby water treatment plant are extremely high, they thought the pollution from the electroplating plant would be even worse. ”How can you put toxic chemicals in a residential district? We will all be slowly poisoned to death.” According to the residents in Jiangnan Mingdi, they hadn't been told that the electroplating plants would set up a shop in the vacated factory premises, but later they got the news about this decision via some other channels, while they were told that their home location became an industrial area instead of a residential area. A complaint letter penned by residents and posted online said the plant's use of concentrated acids and alkalis and other chemicals would likely lead to carcinogenic toxins leaching into the environment. Residents in the nearby buildings collected nearly one thousand signatures to oppose the plan, and about 30 of the flat owners donated for further actions.
On 12 December, local residents went to the Dongyang city government for a demonstration. Authorities in Zhejiang's Dongyang city sent in riot police after the protesters waved banners, shouted slogans and handed out leaflets to passers-by outside the municipal government offices. They had thrown a security cordon around the buildings to stop people. There was some shoving and scuffling from both sides in the process, and an elderly resident was shoved to the ground, and a few of the residents were dragged into the government offices and held there.
The Dongyang Environmental Protection Bureau indicated that “the city government arranged it that way” and they don't have the power to stop it, they will only have the power to undertake monitoring activities to see if the plants are over the pollution limits, then they will ask them to fix the problems.
On 25 December 2013, Dongyang City Government commenced a document titled as “Implementation Advice on Long-term Management of Electroplating Industry in Dongyang City” and addressed that, besides the industrial functional area and electroplating agglomeration area, new electroplating project will not be allowed to establish in principle. All new, expanding, reconstructing and relocating projects shall meet the requirements of the “Electroplating Industry Environmental Protection of Zhejiang Province” in terms of scale, technology, equipment, resource utilization, and pollution prevention and control under the premise of meeting the total amount of pollutant discharge.
Further reports about this conflict are unavailable, while from the government reports and statistics, electroplating is still a big industry in this city.