The Nanfang / Blog

11 Workers Dead in Maoming Bridge Collapse on Labor Day Holiday UPDATED

Posted: 05/4/2014 10:33 am

bridge collapse maoming gaozhou arch construction

UPDATE 1: Reports are coming in that revise the death toll from this incident to seven.

UPDATE 2: A total of six victims transported to hospital have succumbed to their injuries, raising the death toll to 11. Named to that list includes the foreman of the construction site reportedly responsible for the building of the bridge without government approval.

A 20-meter long bridge under construction near Maoming, Guangdong Province was the scene of a deadly incident yesterday when it suddenly collapsed and killed five workers, reported Guangdong Daily.

The collapse occurred yesterday afternoon at 1pm in the village of Liangping, Gaozhou City just as the annual Labor Day long weekend was concluding.

300 rescue personnel descended upon the scene, and by 7:30pm that evening, 26 people had been rescued, all workers of the bridge, of which eight were seriously injured.

The bridge under construction was to be a stone arch bridge, and whose construction is reported to have not taken the proper building procedures despite being authorized by the village itself.

In related news about collapsing structures, two people are dead and three injured when a three-story brick building collapsed early today in the Hongkou District of Shanghai.

Labor Day is the Chinese holiday in which the diligence and hard efforts made by manual labor are celebrated through giving workers time off from work.

bridge collapse maoming gaozhou arch constructionbridge collapse maoming gaozhou arch construction

Photos: Weibo (Guangzhou DailyCaijing


One Dead in Maoming Protest, Contradicting Government Denials

Posted: 04/17/2014 8:00 am

Wen Wanbin slept during the day on March 30 and finished work at 1:48am at a KTV parlor in Maoming. Wen left work 12 minutes earlier than his usual sign-off time because his friend Jiang Xicai asked if he wanted to go and “watch a scene”.

The scene Jiang was referring to was the anti-paraxylene (PX) protest. Thousands of Maoming residents were rallying against a RMB 3.5 billion PX plant.

But when the crowds subsided, Wen never made it home, and his friend Jiang was left with severe brain damage. Liu Xiangnan (刘向南), a vocal journalist, went to personally find out about Wen’s death days later. That’s when Jiang recalled the sound of sticks forcefully swooping down at them when driving towards the protesting area near the city’s government building. At first, they ducked a few, but soon they fell off their motorcycle, causing the tragedy.

Wen’s death was confirmed by Liu when he went to Wen’s village and interviewed Jiang and Wen’s parents and colleagues. This was the first telling case against the government’s insistent denial that Wen’s death and Jiang’s injury were “a mere traffic accident” instead of police brutality.

The Maoming police department said in a press conference on April 3 that the “accident” was caused by reckless driving without a license, and reports of police brutality were “sheer rumors”.

More than half a month after the protest first erupted in Maoming, the protest spilled over to Guangzhou. But so far, the police have denied any deaths caused by police during the protests.

Liu’s original post can be seen below:

But minutes after he made the post on Weibo at 11:43pm on April 15, it was deleted. Liu received a notification from Weibo saying the post has been encrypted and is blocked from the public.

Here is a screen grab of the notification:

 Home page photo: Wen Wanbin’s mother. Photo credit: Liu Xiangnan 


Maoming Protest Against Chemical Plant Spreads to Guangzhou

Posted: 04/2/2014 1:08 pm

Protests against a planned chemical plant have spread over to Guangzhou after being quelled in Maoming, reports the Financial Times.

Two to three hundred protesters are demonstrating outside the provincial government in the capital to stop construction of the proposed PX (paraxylene) factory.

The Maoming protest picked up popular support when pictures of violence against protesters were published in social media like Weibo. A total of four people were said to have died as a result of clashes against police.

As told to the Financial Times, a protest organizer named Mr Dai said, “Guangzhou is the capital of Guangdong, so we can have more influence here; many people in Guangzhou are unaware of the Maoming protest. We want the public to know about the violence used by the Maoming local government.”

For its part, the local authorities have denied that any deaths or violence occurred at the protests and have stated that they will submit to the opinion of the majority, a turn from its previous position that the protest was an “illegal act”.

While “Maoming” appeared to be a banned Weibo search term on Monday, it is not at present. News and photos of the Maoming protest continue to spread online, as seen here. This post shows a building on fire.

Alongside such unverified news on Weibo can be found this infographic (below) that shows the precise number of PX chemical plants located across China and their annual production of PX.  According to this infographic, there already are two PX-producing chemical plants in Guangdong (Zhuhai and Huizhou) that produce a total of 15.4 million tons of PX annually.

Photo credit: Straits Times


Violent protests erupt in Maoming, four allegedly killed as police seal the city (UPDATED)

Posted: 03/31/2014 10:05 am

Photo from @你型我造少斌, a weibo user based in Maoming, Guangdong

Updated at 2:19 pm

Four teenagers, two males and two females, were allegedly killed during clashes between protesters and police on Sunday as hundreds of residents in Maoming, Guangdong rallied to protest a PX (paraxylene) project, according to a post uploaded by a Sina Weibo user based in Maoming.

During the night, the protest seemed to have escalated into clashes between protesters and the local police force. Several residents were hurt and the police and paramilitary forces seem to have sealed the city, according to one Weibo user who is on the scene.

Photos uploaded to Weibo by several netizens show several cars overturned and set on fire. Protesters say the PX project site should be moved out of the city’s downtown core and located beyond the city center’s 100 kilometre radius.

Here are some images: 

Here is the weibo post from 强拆 on 01:40 am March 31:

The latest update from Maoming protest: the paramilitary police have sealed highways. All the media vans were blocked from entering the city. The city is tightly sealed. We Maoming people now have no one to reply upon but ourselves. All thats left now is a road to death. For our offspring, it is all worth it. The people of Maoming will outnumber the police. We have to save ourselves and kick the PX project out of Maoming.

The government has issued a statement and declared the protest to be illegal. Here is a partial translation of the statement (the full statement can be read here):

….the protest did not file any permission from relevant departments. The protest against the PX project is a serious violation against the law and have severally impacted social orders. The municipal government strongly opposes such illegal act…




150 tons of unqualified pork consumed in Shenzhen

Posted: 08/31/2013 7:00 am

At least 150 tons of unqualified pork from Maoming has been consumed in Shenzhen since April 2012, Yangcheng Evening News reports.

Shenzhen Public Security Bureau announced August 29 that it had busted a gang that had been transporting pig carcasses from Maoming’s Dianbai Village and Maogang Village. Most of the pigs had died of diseases and sold illegally to slaughterhouses. By the time it reached the consumer the pork had been pumped full of twelve times the legal amount of veterinary drugs such as oxytetracycline.

Consumption of the unqualified pork is particularly dangerous to the liver.

The joint police operation to bust the ring of unlicensed pork dealers began on July 22 when suspicions were raised about pork sold in Haijixing Farmer’s Market in Longgang District.

All those suspected of involvement in the operation have been arrested and a subsequent investigation has shown that at least 150 tons of the illegal pork has already been consumed in Shenzhen.

There are 2000 pig farms in Dianbai Village and Maogang Village alone so that may turn out to be a conservative estimate.


Tropical storms hit Guangdong killing 3, affecting 450,000 people

Posted: 07/16/2013 7:00 am

Three people are dead and two are missing in Guangdong after Typhoon Soulik hit Mainland China on Sunday and was downgraded to a tropical storm, Xinhua reported last night. Much of Guangzhou was waterlogged yesterday and at least 2,072 homes have been toppled across the province. A total of 450,000 people have been affected.

A car park in Guangzhou, courtesy of Sina Weibo

From Sunday (July 14) to yesterday afternoon, at least three observatories in Guangdong measured over 250 mm of rain. Maoming saw the highest with 351.6 mm, but Guangzhou, Shanwei, Yangjiang, Chaozhou, Jiangmen, Chaozhou and Zhanjiang also saw tropical storms.

Three people were killed in Meizhou, which will continue to see heavy rains today and tomorrow.

Waterlogging caused chaos in Guangzhou yesterday with some roads under more than 1 metre of water.

According to Guangdong Meteorological Observatory, the eastern part of the province and the Pearl River Delta will see grade 3 tropical storms today and tomorrow, so be careful and plan accordingly.

A gas station in Gaojiang Village in Guangzhou.

7,254 hectares of farmland has been damaged and over 300 million yuan-worth of damage has been done across the province.

In Shenzhen, the rain will be at its worst today and tomorrow (July 17) before becoming lighter on the 18th. The 19th is expected to be a warm, cloudy day.

Dongguan is also expected to see thunder and lightning over the next three days before the weather becomes more pleasant.


Migrant workers in Maoming trash police station, kidnap two cops after dispute with locals

Posted: 07/10/2013 7:00 am

A mob of more than 40 migrant workers from Henan trashed a police station and beat up and kidnapped two cops in Maoming after a dispute over a traffic accident at the weekend, Xinhua reports.

The harvester that caused the initial incident

The incident came after a local villager was struck by a harvester driven by a Henan native who had been hired for the job in the Shegu Village of Baini. A gathering crowd of locals became angry after the driver and his helpers refused to take the victim to hospital.

A fight broke out between local villagers and the workers, resulting in injuries on both sides and a smashed front window in a truck belonging to one of the workers.

After the migrants were arrested, the Henan natives surrounded Xiangshan Weihe Police Station in Gaozhou’s Shegu Township at 5 p.m Saturday before entering the station and causing chaos.

The two officers were rescued, although badly wounded, and those responsible were hauled in.

The police station afterwards, courtesy of Xinhua

Guangdong, being as central as it is to China’s economic boom, is known to see tension between locals and migrant workers. This sometimes manifests itself in the form of violence.

According to China Media Project, local governments around the country already have their hands full as it is trying to maintain stability.


Locals on high alert as crocodiles on the loose in Maoming after escape from farm

Posted: 06/24/2013 5:52 pm

The owner of the farm explains how heavy rains caused the dam to break.

Hundreds of crocodiles are said to have escaped into the Feima River after the water level in their crocodile farm in Maoming rose 60 centimetres due to heavy rain. Authorities have denied that the number of escaped crocodiles is in triple figures but schools are on high alert and parents are warned to keep their kids away from grassy areas, rivers and lakes, reports.

They don’t look very friendly.

A manhunt has seen four crocodiles recaptured and two others were caught and eaten by villagers, according to the town government office.

The species on the loose include the Nile Crocodile and the Siamese Crocodile. The biggest of them is said to weigh 500 kilos.

The dam at the farm has been fixed and no casualties have been reported yet, but it could take weeks to account for the remaining crocodiles. And if these crocs are treated in any way similar to their buddies in Shenzhen, they’ll be in no hurry to get back to the farm.


Chemical plant suspected of contaminating local water supply in Zhongshan

Posted: 04/12/2013 10:00 am

Stories of polluted Chinese rivers have been appearing in media all over the world. The most famous case this year has been that of pig carcasses in the Huangpu River, but as always, Guangdong Province has no reason to be smug about environmental issues.

Fish poisoned to death in Maoming

In March it was reported that fish in a river in Maoming had been poisoned to death. Now, Zhongshan has become the latest area to be affected by river pollution.

Local villagers have taken to their microblogs to complain about a chemical plant that they accuse of dumping chemicals into the local river and contaminating the water supply, The Nanfang Daily reports.

Residents in Shaxi Village have reported the Pegasus Synthetic Material Co., Ltd. for allegedly dumping illegally into the Shijiao River after a 10 year-old boy who lived nearby suffered nausea and many villagers in Shaxi complained about the vile odor.

A reporter from the paper went there and confirmed that the stench could be felt from 2 kilometers away. A subsequent investigation showed that dozens of residents of neighboring villages have complained about headaches, dizziness and nausea.

The plant responded that it had not been dumping waste systematically, but a worker had accidentally spilled a 200-liter styrene container and did not report it through the correct channels.

The clean-up operation

Local authorities have started a clean-up operation.

There have been calls for the plant to be moved, but local authorities question the practicality of such a procedure.

As we told you in January, NIMBYism is starting to rear its head in China.


Police catch man who got 12 year-old girl pregnant

Posted: 08/23/2012 7:00 am

We told you last month about the 12 year-old Guangdong girl, Xiao Yu, who had been raped and was 8 months pregnant.

Victim Xiao Yu

Now the perpetrator has been arrested, according to local media.

After a lengthy investigation, police identified 46 year-old Zhou Mosen as the perpetrator who had left the city in April. After receiving a tip-off that he had fled to Guangzhou.

Zhou confessed to the crimes and it emerged that he had raped the girl numerous times, on each occasion paying 20 RMB in hush money.

The case is still under investigation.

Police search the barn in which the acts were committed.

Keep in Touch

What's happening this week in Shenzhen, Dongguan and Guangzhou? Sign up to be notified when we launch the This Week @ Nanfang newsletter.

sign up for our newsletter

Nanfang TV