Shifang party boss axed after pollution protest

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2012, 1:30pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2012, 9:23pm

The party secretary of Shifang – which was was rocked by angry protests in July – has been replaced by a former Shifang mayor, a local government website announced on Tuesday.

The decision to replace Li Chengjin with Li Zhuo was made at a meeting of members of the Communist Party committee on October 25, the website said.

Tens of thousands of angry protesters clashed with riot police in the Sichuan city in early July after the government announced plans to build a heavy-metal processing plant there.

Construction of the 10.4 billion yuan (HK$12.7 billion) copper alloy factory sparked environmental fears in Shifang. On July 1, residents publicly demonstrated, urging the government to cancel the project. About 15 people were injured after the protests became violent.

Tensions eased after city authorities, led by Li Chengjin, pledged to scrap plans to build the plant. On July 5, a deputy mayor of Deyang, which administers Shifang, became the first secretary of Shifang’s Communist Party committee. Li Chengjin’s future position has yet to be announced.