Sunday, August 14, 2011

People's Protest Shuts Down the Dangerous Chemical Plant in Dalian, China

The city's officials have announced the immediate shut down of the plant, an unusually quick response to the protesters that swelled to 12,000 on August 14 over environmental concerns.

It started when the tropical storm caused the seawalls to break, 50 meters from the plant, on August 8. The residents were evacuated for the fear of toxic spills, which didn't happen. But the residents were furious that they didn't know such a dangerous plant was right nearby, and started to demand that the plant be stopped and relocated from the city.

From Wall Street Journal (8/15/2011):

SHANGHAI—The Dalian city government agreed to shutter a chemical plant in an unusual display of responsiveness, bowing to environmental protests that brought thousands of residents onto the streets of the northeastern Chinese port city.

The decision to close the plant was announced just hours after Dalian's Communist Party Secretary Tang Jun, standing atop a police van, tried and failed to disperse a crowd authorities estimated at 12,000 with a pledge to relocate the plant at a future date.

"Time!" "Time!" "Tell us when!" members of the crowd shouted back at Mr. Tang, drowning him out.

...The protests against it weren't a direct challenge to the local government policies, beyond the plant. Rather, there was widespread anxiety among the local community—possibly shared by local officials—that the seaside factory represented a potential environmental calamity.

...Security was heavy on Dalian streets on Sunday. State media reported that police in riot gear scuffled with the placard-carrying crowd. However, the demonstrations were largely peaceful and the crowds greeted the concession to close the plant with enthusiasm.

"This is such good news," said one demonstrator, 28-year-old Ken Zhang, who said he began days ago preparing T-shirts and banners. "I can't just let this toxic project harm the health of myself, my family and all my friends."

Environmental concerns are a growing rallying point for China's generation of new homeowners and parents. Centered on China's richest urban areas, the nascent "not-in-my-backyard" movement has featured a number of peaceful walks by young professionals—many of them carrying Chinese flags—that are sometimes tolerated by authorities, themselves eager to support green causes.

...When the deadly tropical storm Muifa missed Shanghai last weekend and bounced up the Chinese coast, Dalian residents feared its arrival would collapse sea walls and swamp the plant. In postings on microblogs, residents discussed parallels with Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which was hobbled by a tsunami and unaided by sea walls after the country's earthquake in March.

(Full article at the link above.)

I hope they will very soon wake up to the danger of nuclear power plants that their Communist government is pushing very hard, despite the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident. I suspect the Chinese pride themselves in outdoing the Japanese, but there will be no glory in outdoing the Japanese in a nuclear disaster.


Anonymous said...

How come people in China risk their lives to protest when it is outlawed, yet in Japan where protesting is legal there are none?

Anonymous said...

Ah...if only the west had the freedoms and legal processes that the Chinese enjoy. THEN there would be protests in the west like the one that just occurred in China. Hey....wait a minute....

Anonymous said...

There are signs the CCP is improving, judging from the events in last few weeks. The high speed rail is ordered to cut operating speed, rail cars with suspected quality defects were recalled, new lines projects are halted and thorough independent investigation in rail quality and safety, on top of corruption amongst rail officials are in progress. It would be interesting to see if any good come out of the actions.

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