Firms punished for impeding inspection teams

China | 19 Apr 2017

China has punished firms in Shandong and Hebei provinces -- suspending operations and detaining employees -- after pollution inspection teams were impeded and apprehended while carrying out their duties, the environment ministry said yesterday.

The mainland has identified law enforcement as one of the biggest priorities in its three-year long "war on pollution," but local governments still struggle to crack down on firms flouting standards and regulations.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection said inspectors in the Shandong capital of Jinan were detained for an hour by employees of the Shandong Lujie Environmental Protection Co. The firm manufacturers energy- efficient boilers and kilns, but was accused of using obsolete equipment and exceeding emissions standards.

The company was forced to suspend production and undergo "rectification," the ministry said, and four people are being investigated for impeding inspections.

A sales manager with the firm confirmed it had already suspended operations, but denied the charge that they had deliberately prevented inspectors from doing their job.

"It was just that they came on a Sunday, and they weren't wearing environmental protection department uniforms, or driving special law enforcement vehicles," he said. "Our chairman thought they weren't genuine, and had come to swindle us."


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