Protesters target CNPC's Kunming refinery

May 04, 2013, 8:34 AM EDT
A resident holds up a piece of paper that reads "Protest against PX refinery" during a demonstration against a planned refinery which produces the chemical paraxylene (PX), at a square in Kunming, Yunnan province, May 4, 2013.
REUTERS/Wong Campion

Hundreds of people took to the streets of Kunming to protest against the planned production of a toxic chemical at a local China National Petroleum Corp. refinery, in the latest show of popular concern over the effects of China's rapid growth on the urban environment. Last November street protests led to the suspension of a petrochemical project in Ningbo. The year before, big protests in Dalian against the same chemical that CNPC proposes to make in Kunming, paraxylene (PX), which is used in fabrics and plastic bottles, forced the city government to suspend its production there.