China’s Green Civil Society
After three days of demonstrations, protestors in the Chinese coastal city of Ningbo successfully pressured the local government to halt the expansion of a petrochemical plant that produces the highly controversial paraxylene.
These protests show China’s increasing willingness to stand up to their local governments, and an increasing willingness on the part of the local governments to listen.
“Ma Jun, an environmental activist in Beijing, applauded the government’s sudden about-face but said he hoped the weekend of unrest would convince Chinese leaders that soliciting public opinion on industrial development is in their best interest, especially given how much money is wasted when such projects are canceled midway.
'We’ve seen the same pattern over and over again,' said Mr. Ma, the director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs. 'Ignoring public concerns leads to confrontation. We can’t resolve all our environmental issues through street action. The cost is just too high.'”
China clearly has quite a ways to go in pursuit of a robust environmental civil society, but after this weekend, the future looks just a little greener.
From NY Times