In recent years, China has been engrossed in the mass protests in Shifang, Sichuan province, where on the morning of July 2, locals and police clashed during demonstrations against a planned molybdenum and copper refinery. The next day, the government announced a halt to the project, restoring calm.
More recently, however, concerns over chemical plants in the coastal cities of Xiamen and Dalian and – this month – in Shifang, have sparked mass protests involving 10,000 or more people. This is a marked change. Such protests involve ordinary, local people, have arisen and been resolved in very similar ways and are becoming more frequent and intense.
Although, in each case, these protests have been quickly resolved, the root problems remain in ore beneficiation. The projects that triggered them have the legally required environmental clearances, so why the political and social turmoil? Why do local governments exclude local people from the decision-making process? And why do residents resort to street protests and borderline violent methods to make their point? Why do these cases keep happening? Will these protests bring about positive reforms, or the opposite? To put it simply: what do environmental street protests mean for China?
The Shifang case reflects a crisis of local governance common in China today. In many cities, it’s the local government that wants economic development – not the locals themselves. The benefits to the community of more polluting factories are limited and unclear, while the environmental harms are very real. The so-called environmental impact assessment process is, increasingly, a mere formality, with expert assessments replacing negotiations between groups with differing interests. With interested parties excluded, local governments use the assessments to provide scientific backing for projects.
But science cannot replace democracy. Without the participation of interested parties, no conclusion – no matter how scientific or authoritative – will be convincing. Ordinary people have extremely limited opportunities to work within the system, and so the use of unconventional methods such as street protests is inevitable. The system’s inability to balance interests and allow participation generates direct confrontation. cement rotating dryer:http://www.crusher-machine.com/24.html
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Environmental street protests have a wider significance: they are becoming part of China’s overall social movement. In some parts of the country, there is a comprehensive crisis of local governance, expressed in the varying degrees of failure to provide justice in environmental and law-enforcement spheres. Chinese citizens have attempted to do something about this, but there are very limited channels for them to participate in politics and make their voices heard, bar social campaigning.
Environmental activism has already developed into one part of China’s expanding social movement. If the Shifang protestors had been pursuing social justice as well as environmental justice, the number of participants would have been even higher. Many of the protestors were only indirectly affected by the project, or imagined they would be affected, and there was a strong turnout by young protestors.
With major problems in the structures and processes of local governance, there are no clear and mutually accepted rules of discussion. This was true in the cases in Xiamen, Dalian and Shifang, at all stages of the process – the initial decision-making, the growth of opposition, interaction between the public and officials, worsening conflict and the ultimate resolution.Henan Hongxing a prominent mining machinery manufacturer in China,such as classifiers, we provide you with quality mineral processing plant and machinery at an excellent price.
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