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City government in southern China cancels waste incinerator after public protests

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BEIJING — A city government in southern China has revoked approval of a planned waste incinerator in response to protests, in the latest case of local authorities bowing to a public outcry over health concerns.

Luoding city government in Guangdong province said in a statement Wednesday that the project fit a national policy to encourage solid waste processing in the cement industry, but that it was cancelled "in response to public demands."

Thousands of residents fearful of pollution rallied Monday and clashed with police the following day, the Communist Party-affiliated Global Times newspaper reported.

A resident surnamed Huang was quoted as saying that people also wanted the company that was to build the incinerator to reduce pollution at its local cement factory.

Calls to the company, identified as the Luoding branch of cement and concrete producer China Resources Cement Holdings Ltd, were not answered Thursday.

Photos in other state media showed people overturning a police truck.

Similar cancellations or postponements in the construction of several waste incinerators and chemical plants have taken place in recent years, particularly in wealthier cities, where a burgeoning middle class is demanding a better quality of life.

Earlier this week, an explosion and hydrocarbon fire at a plant that produces the chemical paraxylene in Fujian province in southeast China renewed discussion on social media of the potential dangers of such plants.

The plant had originally been slated for a more densely populated city, but protests by residents in 2007 succeeded in getting it relocated.

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