China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Increase in environmental protests causes instability in China

Green Clippings - your weekly digest of environmental & conservation news

Date: Wed 06 September 2006

Environment-related riots, protests and disputes in China increased by 30% last year to more than 50 000, as pollution-related unrest becomes a contagious source of instability in the country.

Riots in Huashui in April 2005 resulted in battles between an estimated 10,000 police officers and desperate villagers, but it also proved a rare case in which citizen outrage prevailed over deeply vested interests.

"Without the riot, nothing would have changed," said Wang Xiaofang, a 43-year-old farmer. "People here finally reached their breaking point."

The Chinese people are taking to the streets to demand an end to the birth defects, polluted water, dead crops and murky air that are robbing them of their livelihoods and lives.

A government study released in mid-July found that 81% of the nation's chemical plants were dangerously near population centres and sources of drinking water.

Beijing recently promised to spend $175 billion on environmental protection over the next five years.

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