You know protest is a feature of day-to-day life when a government official sends you a text message asking you to skip the demonstration.
I don’t know what the texts messages said exactly, if the official sounded like a good cop or a bad cop, but I imagine many residents and shopkeepers of Qidong, China, who received the texts were not in the mood to listen.
Qidong has been enticing pharmaceutical companies, chemical fertilizer plants and computer parts factories with tax breaks for some time. The city’s location on the mouth of the Yangtze River makes it part of the Yangtze Delta region, a key force in China’s reign on the manufacturing front.
Last Saturday, Reuters reported that about 1,000 protesters marched through the city to protest a waste discharge plant in danger of polluting the water supply. Some protesters entered a government office and destroyed computers and furniture and two police officers were badly beaten.
“The protesters are angry because the pipeline project will affect our water supplies,” an employee of an upscale computer store told The New York Times. “I’m against the project, too.”
“Everybody from the old to the young are against this project,” said the owner of a drugstore. “Qidong people are hard-working people. Why should they have the project here?”
The fish, processed lobster, and shrimp export is one of the most profitable industries in Qidong.
“Some of the protesters argued that the wastewater plant would discharge effluent into the sea and harm the fishing industry. But most seemed to be concerned about drinking water,” wrote Jane Perlez of The New York Times.
The protestors against the discharge plant in Qidong achieved their immediate gaols - the local government announced plans would be abandons. But the regularity of protests across China means continued injuries and loss of life on both the side of protestors and, less so, authorities.
Just this month, protesters in Shifang, Sichuan Province, fought tear gas to successfully force the local government to abandon plans to build a copper refinery.
[via: The New York Times]