Hu­nan fire­work man­u­fac­tur­ers sue govt over shut­ting down their fac­to­ries

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By HOULIQIANG in Bei­jing andWENXINZHENG in Chang­sha Con­tact the writers at houliqiang@chi­nadaily.com.cn

A court in Cen­tral China’s Hu­nan prov­ince has ac­cepted a case filed by 27 fire­work man­u­fac­tur­ers against the pro­vin­cial govern­ment for re­fus­ing their ad­min­is­tra­tive re­view re­quest over a govern­ment de­ci­sion to shut down their fac­to­ries.

The in­ter­me­di­ate peo­ple’s court in the pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal, Chang­sha, said the de­ci­sion com­plies with the law, adding that the two sides could visit the court’s web­site for up­dates on the case, ac­cord­ing to a writ­ten no­ti­fi­ca­tion the com­pa­nies dis­closed on Sun­day.

All 46 fire­work man­u­fac­tur­ers in Qi­dong county were shut down in De­cem­ber last year after the Hengyang city govern­ment, which has ju­ris­dic­tion over Qi­dong, is­sued a no­ti­fi­ca­tion in Oc­to­ber 2014 to shut down all fire­work man­u­fac­tur­ers in the city within three years.

How­ever, the Qi­dong govern­ment only agreed to pay 30 per­cent of the value of the man­u­fac­tur­ers’ fa­cil­i­ties, forc­ing 39 com­pa­nies to turn to ad­min­is­tra­tive re­view.

Chen Jun­ming, le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Shenghua Fire­work, said the com­pany’s an­nual pro­duc­tion was es­ti­mated to be worth 60 mil­lion yuan ($8.9 mil­lion) be­fore it was shut down, adding that the govern­ment only promised to pay com­pen­sa­tion of about 4.8 mil­lion yuan, de­spite the man­u­fac­turer’s fa­cil­i­ties be­ing worth about 16 mil­lion yuan.

“The com­pany owes debts of al­most 10 mil­lion yuan, which in­cludes 4.3 mil­lion yuan in loans from banks,” Chen said. “I have been un­der great pres­sure due to the debts, as I may be sued by the cred­i­tors. I hope the govern­ment al­lows us to re­sume pro­duc­tion or fully com­pen­sates us ac­cord­ing to the as­set val­u­a­tion.”

The com­pa­nies made their re­viewre­quest toHu­nan prov­ince’s leg­isla­tive af­fairs of­fice on Feb 4, ask­ing the of­fice to de­liver a ver­dict that the govern­ment’s de­ci­sion to shut down all fire­work man­u­fac­tur­ers was il­le­gal and that the eco­nomic losses of the fac­to­ries should be fully com­pen­sated, while 12 of the com­pa­nies with­drew their re­quest in May be­fore it was re­cently re­fused.

The of­fice said the com­pa­nies should have known that their fac­to­ries would be shut down, as the govern­ment had or­ga­nized talks with them and car­ried out as­set val­u­a­tions be­tween late 2014 and late last year, adding that such com­pa­nies had failed to file an ad­min­is­tra­tive re­view re­quest within 60 days, in ac­cor­dance with law, the Bei­jing Times re­ported.

How­ever, lawyerTu Siyi said that while com­pa­nies could file ad­min­is­tra­tive re­view re­quests within 60 days of be­ing told their rights, they were never told their rights, adding that there is no time limit to re­quest an ad­min­is­tra­tive re­view un­der such cir­cum­stances.

Chen Yongjun, head of Xiangzhang Fire­work, said all fire­work man­u­fac­tur­ers in Qi­dong were built in ac­cor­dance with na­tional stan­dards, and the lo­cal govern­ment did not con­sult them be­fore ask­ing them to shut down.

He said they only knewthey could turn to ad­min­is­tra­tive re­view after seek­ing advice from a lawyer in Jan­uary.

A re­quest for in­ter­view sent toHu­nan prov­ince’s leg­isla­tive af­fairs of­fice went unan­swered.

CAI DAIZHENG / FOR CHINA DAILY

A van-turned an­i­mal clinic for stray an­i­mals is dis­played in Bei­jing in July.

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