Southeast China city suspends chemical plant after uproar

Chinese citizens alarmed about pollution celebrated on Wednesday when the southeastern city of Xiamen froze a billion-dollar petrochemical project following a text message campaign by angry residents.
The port city of about 1.5 million people announced it was halting construction of a plant to make paraxylene (PX), a petrochemical that goes into polyester and fabrics, Xinhua news agency reported.

Citizens compared it to an "atomic bomb" and sent nearly 1 million text messages via mobile phones to pressure the government to renounce the project, the report said. The message urged residents to join a street protest, Chinese media reported.

A prominent Xiamen scientist who has led opposition to the plant, Zhao Yufen, complained in newspapers that she was not shown an environmental impact study city officials claimed had cleared the project, which was slated to be built 7 kilometres from the city. She argued the plant should be moved to a less populous place.