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18 Apr 2023

China: Environmental volunteer beaten while investigating alleged pollution by a coal mine in Shanxi Province

[Summary translation provided by BHRRC]

On April 16 2023, environmental volunteer Zhang Wenbin was commissioned by the Chinese environmental NGO "Friends of Nature" to conduct a field investigation regarding alleged pollution by a coal mine. During this trip to Xing County, Luliang, Shanxi Province, Zhang was injured, and his vehicle was smashed. "Friends of Nature" has publicly appealed to pursue the legal responsibility of those who beat people following the law and defend the rights of public participation in environmental governance, [...]

Zhang Wenbin is commissioned by Friends of Nature to investigate wastewater emissions by a coal mine company that has been involved in a public interest litigation. The defendant has clearly stated that rectification has been completed.

On April 17, the Xingxian Branch of the Luliang Public Security Bureau stated that the police, in accordance with relevant laws and regulations, imposed administrative detention on the violator [who beat Zhang Wenbin] and imposed a fine on him.

Zhang Wenbin confirmed that he was entrusted with investigating the Xiegou Coal Mine in Xingxian County and found a pollution problem at the scene. He took photos and videos at the time. After being seen by people in the factory, he was asked to delete [the photos/videos]. After he got into the car, the other party also blocked his car and damaged the vehicle. Zhang Wenbin said that after he called the police, he was violently beaten by one person.

Xiegou Coal Mine is a subsidiary of Shanxi Coking Coal Group. On July 13, 2022, Shanxi Coking Coal Group's Xiegou Coal Mine was named for its severe violations of laws and regulations and perfunctory rectification.