Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Effective public protest in China?

Call me skeptical. It will take a lot to convince me that a protest by 1,000 people in one city will change government plans. Something else is going on.

Protest prompts China to cancel Jiangmen uranium plant
China has cancelled plans to build a uranium processing plant the day after hundreds of protesters took to the streets to oppose the project.

The 37bn yuan (£4bn) project, close to the southern city of Jiangmen, would have provided enough fuel for around half of China's atomic energy needs.

It had been part of a national effort to reduce China's reliance on coal and boost the use of clean energy.

The rally was organised online and billed as an "innocent stroll".

But it brought almost 1,000 people onto the streets of Jiangmen, which is just 100km (62 miles) from Hong Kong.

Protesters facing off with helmeted police officers chanted slogans and carried banners ranging from "Anti-nuclear" to "We want children, not atoms."…

Within 24 hours of the street protest, the local government published a one-line statement rejecting the project.

"The people's government of the city of Heshan has decided to respect the public opinion and will not consider CNNC's Longwan industrial park project," it said.

In the end it seems the desire for stability and order trumped other, more economic, reasons, says the BBC's Jon Sudworth in Shanghai…

But some Jiangmen protesters are concerned the uranium plant project may just have been postponed, rather than cancelled altogether…

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