Police in Shanxi province are looking into accusations that village officials took money to shield a polluting enterprise and that they bullied local protesters, according to the government of Linfen.
The inquiry follows a China Central Television report on Tuesday about Shanxi Sanwei Group, a State-owned chemical enterprise in the city"s Hongtong county.
According to the report, the company transported solid waste, including fly ash and carbide slag, to Xigou village-some 2 kilometers from its factory-and dumped it in a 30-meter-deep pit without taking measures to prevent its spread in the environment.
The waste has the potential to affect air quality if dispersed by wind, or to contaminate water resources if washed away by rain. Some residents" homes stand less than 100 meters from the pit, the report said.
The company is also alleged to have discharged industrial wastewater into the Fenhe River, a major tributary of the Yellow River.
Some residents told CCTV that the waste had led to "tremendous pollution" in the village, but they were afraid to provide their names or air their grievances in public.
They said village officials had reached a secret agreement with Sanwei Group to dispose of the waste in return for personal gain, and unhappy residents had been intimidated or physically assaulted.
A sales manager surnamed Wang at Sanwei, who asked not to be fully identified, told China Daily that he believed the CCTV report exaggerated affairs to some degree.
"As far as I know, the discharged wastewater met national standards," he said, adding that the company is awaiting the results of the investigation "and will fully cooperate".
A statement released by the Linfen government on Wednesday said that two village officials involved have been placed in 15-day administrative detention, and an investigation of six others is continuing. The investigative team has also collected evidence from two leaders of Sanwei.
The city will launch a campaign against officials or business executives who breach environmental protection rules or who have relationships with organized crime figures, the statement said.
The Ministry of Ecology and Environment also released a statement on Wednesday urging the government of Linfen to "strictly investigate" the wrongdoings. It said it would investigate and determine punishment, along with the China Securities Regulatory Commission.custom rubber band bracelets custom fidget custom made rubber bracelets personalised fabric wristbands black rubber bracelets