Wang Englin, an impoverished Chinese farmer in his 60s, has won the first round of a legal battle against a powerful state-owned chemicals corporation, after spending 16 years teaching himself about the law.
Wang had just three years of education and rents a basic home in the countryside for just $7 a month.
Despite his modest station in life, Wang decided to take on one of the most powerful companies in China. He blames the multi-million-dollar Qihua Group for dumping tens of thousands of tons of polyvinyl chloride into the village, ruining farmland, damaging local health, and creating a 71-acre field covered in white calcium carbide slag.
ANGD News reports: It is claimed that Qinghua first dumped hazardous wastewater near Mr Wang’s land in 2001, preventing him from growing his crops. Mr Wang claimed he was playing cards and cooking with neighbours on the eve of the Lunar New Year when water began leaking into his house.
Since 2001, Qinghua has reportedly released 15,000 to 20,000 tonnes of annual chemical waste from a polyvinyl chloride plant near Mr Wang’s home village near the city of Qiqihar in north-east China.
When the court asked to produce the legal evidence Wang said: “I knew I was in the right, but I did not know what law the other party had broken or whether or not there was evidence.”
The case reportedly took another 8 years to get to court, but the Angangxi District Court has finally ruled against the Qinghua Group, awarding ¥820,000 ($120,000) to Mr. Wang and his neighbors.
However, Mr Wang might face a further fight, as PDS noted the corporation is planning an appeal.