3 arrested for beating up environmental volunteers inspecting sewage pit

By Zhao Yusha Source:Global Times Published: 2017/5/4 20:28:39

Three people were arrested for severely beating up two environmental activists who were investigating alleged sewage pits in a village, local police in East China's Shandong Province said Thursday.

Following the arrest on Wednesday, police are still investigating the case and trying to identify other suspects who had beaten the two activists, an officer from Yangliu police station in Sishui county told the Global Times.

Zhang Wenbing, one of the victims, told the Global Times on Thursday that he and Xiao Jiang are volunteers from the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation, a Beijing-based NGO.

The two went to Kongjiacun village in Sishui on Wednesday morning after receiving tip-offs from villagers who said a factory nearby had created a sewage pit in recent years in order to discharge waste water.

However, Zhang and his colleague were followed by three people as they approached the sewage pit, who asked them to stop and threatened to call their "superiors" to come. Later about 10 people joined them and beat the two activists, said Zhang. These people's identities remain unknown.

Zhang suffered from cervical nerve injury and Xiao was found to have cerebral concussion and soft tissue injury because of the violence, said Zhang. 

A villager who asked for anonymity told the Global Times that he had already reported the sewage pit case to the environmental protection bureau of Jining, which administers Sishui, several times before, and the bureau replied on April 27 that they were investigating this case.

The villager added that the pit has the size of two football fields, and the waste water discharged by the factory has severely affected people's daily life and local environment.

The bureau has not replied to an interview request from the Global Times as of press time.

The deputy head of Dacheng county in North China's Hebei Province, as well as head of Dacheng's environmental protection bureau were dismissed on April 20 after two large pits, which cover an area of 170,000 square meters, equal to the size of 23 football pitches, were exposed by an environmental NGO, the Beijing News reported.

China's Environmental Protection Law, which took effect in 2015, banned the use of seepage wells and pits.

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