China: Hundreds protest against PetroChina refinery project near Kunming over health concerns - includes PetroChina response

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16 September 2013

China Reins in Popular Voices With New Microblog Controls

Author: Henry Sanderson & Lulu Yilun Chen, Bloomberg

Chinese microblogger Dong Rubin…was detained [by government]…Dong opposed plans for an oil refinery in…Kunming…a project that spurred street protests…The crackdown on users of…microblogs, along with new punishments for online defamation, reflect a stepped-up Communist Party campaign to rein in a forum that’s challenged China’s censorship regime…China’s top court issued an interpretation…saying Web users could face jail time if defamatory rumors they put online are read by more than 5,000 people or reposted more than 500 times…“So long as Weibo is outing a few bad apples, it’s tolerable,” Andrew Wedeman, a professor of political science at Georgia State University…Popular social media platforms include Sina…Weibo service and Tencent…instant messaging app WeChat…Sina [and] Tencent…didn’t respond to…queries on the rules’ effects…In Kunming earlier this year, Dong investigated the planned oil refinery and published his report online. On Weibo, he called for more transparency about the project…He said the local government has a department that “looks at every Weibo I write.” …[refers to Danwei]

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4 May 2013

Thousands of police, other steps silence protest against petrochemical plant in Chinese city [China]

Author: Associated Press

Hundreds of people - many wearing mouth masks - gathered in Kunming to protest a planned refinery project…owned by PetroChina…Residents say they are worried the plant would pollute the air and water, and question why the plant is being built in a region prone to earthquakes…In Chengdu, local authorities have been taking pre-emptive measures to stop local residents from taking to the street…[P]olice station has asked drugstores to report anyone buying large quantities of mouth masks, and for printing services to inform police immediately of those printing…materials with phrases such as “Petro Project”…[A] local woman…said her friends at state-owned companies were threatened with expulsion if they should protest…In a company statement...[PetroChina] said the project has been approved by China’s environmental protection agency and the National Development and Reform Commission, and that it has been evaluated for earthquake safety. It also promised to halt production should any environmental issue arise…

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