A market in Foshan, south China's Guangdong Province, that
imported illegal electronic waste products for nine years, was
smashed by the local government on Tuesday.
More than 100 law enforcement officials in Dali Town, where the
Huafa Electrical Appliance Market is located, sealed off the market
about 3 pm and seized several tons of illegal electronic products,
including printers, duplicating machines and electrographs, from
The raid was conducted after the market's exposure in the
"The government holds a firm attitude in getting rid of illegal
goods in markets, and leaves no room for its resurgence," said Kong
Xihong, the commander of the raid.
All shops in the market are now forbidden to operate and face
water and power cuts if they do, Kong said.
According to a report by China's Central Television Station
(CCTV), about 20 containers of imported electronic waste, each
weighing 25 tons, were sent to the market daily before the
The waste products were mainly sourced from developed countries
such as Japan and the United States.
While most of the waste products were sent to illegal treatment
factories for extracting raw materials, some were cleaned and
reassembled at Huafa and supplied to other markets in China,
according to CCTV.
A reassembled printer could be sold for as low as 200 yuan
(US$26.30) at the Huafa market. The buyer could then sell it at
four times the price at other markets.
The Huafa market developed into a one-stop service for the
importation of illegal electronic waste, reassembly, wholesale and
The closure of the market will not stem the importation of
illegal electronic waste, according to market observers.
It is estimated that more than 500 million tons of electronic
waste are generated each year in developed countries. About 70
percent of it is dumped in China, making it the world's largest
destination for electronic waste.
Extracting useful raw materials from waste is harmful and a
heavy pollutant, experts said.
In Longtang Town, Qingyuan, located in the northern mountainous
region of Guangdong, the handling of imported electronic waste has
developed into a major industry.
"Burning electronic waste generates poisonous materials such as
lead and mercury. Once land or water is polluted, it cannot be
rectified in a century," said He Pinjing, a professor at Tongji
"If the situation cannot be rectified in the short term, it will
be a disaster not only for Qingyuan, but for the whole province,"
(China Daily June 14, 2007)