China abandons plans for waste water project after angry street protests
China dropped plans for a waste water discharge project this weekend after thousands of protesters angry about pollution took to the streets – the latest of many such confrontations in a country where three decades of rapid economic expansion have come at an environmental price.
Some of the protesters in Qidong in Jiangsu province clashed with police and turned a patrol car on its side. After the protest on Saturday, the Qidong government announced on its website that plans to build the water discharge project had been scrapped.
The water discharge project was to be part of a paper- making factory proposed by the Japanese company Oji Paper Group in Nantong city. The government did not say if the plans for the factory have also been permanently dropped.
Chinese have become more outspoken about environmentally risky projects in their backyards, with pollution a leading cause of unrest.
The grass-roots protests reflect the balancing act Chinese leaders are performing between maintaining public stability and pushing economic growth, and between local officials who want to attract industry and a public who do not want it in their neighbourhoods.
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