Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Violent Protest against pollution in China

You heard about the recent Chinese protests against Japan, protests that got a bit out of control. And this news is common. China is coming apart at the seams, a little here and a little there, but chronically. The rich cities versus the poor countryside is a persistent theme in China's history, and this tension is again reaching an extreme point.

The protest against Japan is nothing compared to the desperate protests out in the provinces. Consider this:

"Violent demonstrations are becoming increasingly hard to suppress in a country where economic growth has exacerbated frustration at corruption, environmental destruction and the growing gap between rich and poor.

Government statistics say the number of protests grew by 15% last year to 58,000, with more than 3 million people taking part. In many provincial capitals, roadblocks occur more than once a week . . . ."

The link brings you to a dramatic story about a 2-week protest of some 200 elderly women against 13 chemical factories. They held signs saying, "Give me back my land. Save my children and grandchildren." The police were finally sent in to disperse them. In the resulting chaos, villagers claim that two old women were run over by police cars. So thousands of villagers went on a rampage, smashing police cars and the windows of 50 buses carrying some of the 3,000 riot police who were outnumbered and afraid. As you might guess, some people were injured.

The transition to capitalism with Chinese characteristics is not going that smoothly.
Chinese village protest turns into riot of thousands


At 4:15 PM, Anonymous E. Heroux said...

Update, though news still censored as the story tells you:

"Rural Chinese Riot as Police Try to Halt Pollution Protest"
Police officers had tried to stop elderly villagers from
protesting against pollution from nearby factories.



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