A Chinese farmer, who took a state-owned chemical company to court after spending 16 years studying law by himself has scored a victory in the first round of the case. The farmer, named Wang Enlin, filed a case against Qihua Group for allegedly polluting his land.
Now in his 60s, the man from the Heilongjiang provincial village of Yushutun had just three years of education but started studying law on his own, according to People’s Daily Online (via Daily Mail).
Wang claims that back in 2001, toxic waste discharged by a Qihua Group factory flooded his home and part of the village farmland.
A government document even confirmed that the toxic flooding had caused farmland to be unusual “for a long time” due to the contamination.
It was also suggested in the report that Qihua continued the practice of dumping hazardous waste into the agricultural village from 2001-2016.
The report further alleged that the plant, which produced polyvinyl chloride, releases 15,000 to 20,000 tons of toxic waste per year.
The unabashed practice had eventually created “a 71-acre wasteland with calcium carbide residue and a 478-acre pond with its liquid waste.”
Wang and his neighbors first filed a petition back in 2007 after a Chinese law firm provided free legal advice and agreed to help the villagers in filing a petition to the court.
Wang, who had been gathering evidence for the last 16 years, has contributed greatly to the case’s first victory.
The ruling of the Angangxi District Court of Qiqihar favored the families in Yushutun village to receive financial compensation from Qihua Group to the amount of 820,000 yuan (almost $120, 000).
Meanwhile, Qihua, a firm with assets exceeding two billion yuan ($145 million), has filed an appeal to counter the decision.
“We will certainly win. Even if we lose, we will continue to battle,” an undeterred Wang was quoted as saying.