Viral Chengdu smog protest photo actually snapped during 2012 rally: officials

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/12/11 23:53:40

Authorities in Southwest China's Sichuan Province announced Saturday that the viral picture in which massive crowds in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, gathered at a local square to protest the city's heavy smog was taken in 2012.

The Sichuan provincial government said on its official Sina Weibo account that it has ordered the account that spread the rumor to be banned from commenting or to be followed for 15 days.

Local police said Sunday that they have detained a 27-year-old man surnamed Li for disrupting public order.

Media reports said that the photo was taken in 2012 as residents marked the anniversary of the "September 18 Incident" which heralded the Japanese invasion of China.

The picture began to circulate online on Saturday amid heavy smog that has shrouded the city since late November. Local authorities have sent law enforcement officials to inspect construction sites and outdoor barbecues, but some Net users claimed the heavy smog is mainly attributed to a local petrochemical project, urging the government to "remove the project."

Pengzhou Petrochemical Plant, 25 kilometers northwest of Chengdu, is among the 78 key enterprises that Chengdu environmental protection bureau listed as major sources of air pollution. Ten law enforcers have been stationed at the plant to monitor pollution discharge, news site newssc.org reported Saturday. 

However, an urgent inspection conducted by Chengdu environmental protection bureau on Saturday found that emissions from the petrochemical project are below national standards, Chengdu Business Daily reported Sunday.

The Central Committee of the Communist Youth League also forwarded on Sunday a post from Zhihu, a Chinese question-and-answer website, which denied the project is the major cause of Chengdu's smog, saying that 4.19 billion yuan ($600 million) of the total investment was used for environmental protection.



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