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7 May 2015

Alexandra Harney, Reuters

China: Plaintiffs reportedly pull out from lead-poisoning lawsuit against company under pressure from local govt.

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"Lead poisoning lawsuit tests China's resolve over pollution", 5 May 2015

A lawsuit filed by residents of a Chinese town against a chemical plant that they say is responsible for high levels of lead in the blood of local children is shaping up as a test of the central government's resolve to tackle pollution...Of the more than 50 residents...who originally agreed to join the lawsuit, only 11 remain, their lawyer, Dai Renhui, told Reuters. Hu Shaobo, another lawyer advising on the case, said some plaintiffs had withdrawn under pressure from local government officials.

...A revised environmental protection law that came into effect in January raised penalties for polluters and enabled environmental groups to file public interest lawsuits...factories accused of being polluters are also leading employers and taxpayers, underlining the tensions inherent in China's fight to clean up its environment...Lead poisoning is one of the serious side effects of China's rapid economic growth and lack of environmental controls...