Protests Against Transformer Station Erupt in Guangdong Residential Area
Construction of the Royal Ascot Transformer Station in Tianhe District, Guangzhou City, was restarted at about 8:00 a.m. on December 30. The authorities sent about 1,000 armed police officers to guard the site and to deal with any protesters. Police were seen beating some of the protesters. Eight people were arrested and detained at the Tianhe District Police Station detention center.
A witness, Mr. Long, said, "Today, about 1,000 anti-riot police and construction workers come to Royal Ascot. Many residents gathered to see what would happen at 8:30 a.m. Some people became agitated, as the construction was being done without the consent of the residents. As a result, the police arrested 8 people, but later released one elderly person.”
It is known that Royal Ascot Garden in Tianhe District, Guangzhou City is the largest garden-style community, and about 40,000 call it home. The local government decided to build a 1.1 million-volt high-voltage transformer station in the community in 2006. The residents did not welcome the idea.
According to the residents, the station is only 16 feet south of the Manhattan apartment building, less than 100 feet west of the Royal Ascot Middle School, 65 feet north of residential buildings, and 164 feet from the Royal Ascot Primary School. There are dozens of residential buildings, a middle school, a primary school, and three kindergartens within 0.3 mile of the station, and tens of thousands of people reside there.
To protect their health, the property owners banded together to protect their rights, and to boycot construction of the station. The group has appealed to different levels of government and hung banners, protesting the construction, throughout the community.
Without consulting with the residents, the China Southern Power Grid started construction in the middle of the night on December 7, which angered the residents, who then drove away the construction vehicles.
On December 23, 2008, without an arrest warrant, the police of Tianhe District Public Safety Bureau arrested one property owner, Mr. Liang.
The reporter called the Tianhe District detention center to inquire about Mr. Liang’s condition. A policewoman said she did not know about the case.
On December 29, the authorities sent fire engines to enforce building of the station. Many property owners showed up. After a long standoff, the fire engines and police cars left.
“It is a residential area. Everyone is opposed to building the station. The electromagnetic radiation will cause cancer and lead to memory loss. It damages health. The most unscrupulous thing is that the station will be built less than 30 feet from residential buildings,” Long said, “They did not hold any hearings or meetings with us residents. No one knew about it. They simply decided to start construction. They even threatened to arrest us if we protested.”