Chinese anti-pollution protesters freed as state bows to public outcry Shifang government releases majority of demonstrators and cancels copper plant project after thousands took to streets

Chinese anti-pollution protesters freed as state bows to public outcry

Shifang government releases majority of demonstrators and cancels copper plant project after thousands took to streets

Shifang government releases majority of demonstrators and cancels copper plant project after thousands took to streets

Environmental protest in Shifang

Protests in Shifang highlighted growing concerns over the environmental impact of industrial development. Photograph: Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

A Chinese city has released 21 people who were detained after a clash between police and residents protesting against a metals plant they feared would poison them, city officials said on Wednesday.

Thousands of people in the south-west city of Shifang took to the streets over the past three days to protest against the government’s plans to allow the building of a copper alloy plant, the latest unrest spurred by environmental concerns in the world’s second-largest economy.

The Shifang government said police had “forcibly taken away 27 suspected criminals” on Monday and Tuesday for tearing down the door of the municipal government building, smashing windows and throwing bricks and stones at police and government workers.

That prompted a massive sit-in on Tuesday night outside a government office by locals demanding their release.

Six are still in police custody, the city government said in a statement on its official Sina Weibo microblogging site.

“The remaining 21 people, after receiving criticism and education and repenting for their mistakes, were released at 11pm on 3 July,” the government said on Wednesday.

The government took the uncommon step on Tuesday night of cancelling the metals project planned by Shanghai-listed Sichuan Hongda. The city initially had said it would only suspend the project.

The latest protest underscores how environmental worries have stoked calls for expanded rights for citizens and greater consultation in the tightly controlled one-party state. They follow similar demonstrations against projects in the cities of Dalian in the north-east and Haimen in southern Guangdong province in the past year.

Despite the dual concessions, some Chinese called for the punishment of officials responsible for the violent crackdown. An 18-year-old resident told Reuters by telephone on Tuesday the police had beaten protesters the previous night.

“What are we going to do about the bastards who used violence on innocent people?” said a microblog comment.

Another wrote: “You have beaten up a bunch of innocent people. Don’t these leaders need to be criminally detained too? Release them!”

Photos of Tuesday night’s sit-in protest published on microblogs showed a large crowd sitting down under street lamps, in what one microblogger described as “a sea of people”, demanding the release of those detained.

The protests turned violent on Monday when tens of thousands of residents stormed the city government headquarters, smashing police cars and clashing with anti-riot police, who fired tear gas on protesters.

The outpouring of public anger is emblematic of the rising discontent facing Chinese leaders, who are obsessed with maintaining stability and struggling to balance growth with rising public anger over environmental threats.

The leadership has vowed to clean up China‘s skies and waterways, and increasingly tried to appear responsive to complaints about pollution. But environmental disputes pit citizens against local officials whose aim is to lure fresh investment and revenue into their areas.

“The best of you emigrate, the worst of you are shot,” China’s most famous blogger, Han Han, wrote on his blog, addressing Shifang officials. “But none of you actually live in the pollution. Only ordinary people live there.”

“Shifang” remained the most searched term on China’s Twitter-like microblogs on Wednesday. Chinese authorities, who are usually quick to suppress dissent from spreading, did not block searches related to the protests.

“It is the 4th of July – 236 years ago, America achieved independence and 236 years later, the Shifang people are fighting for their own rights and confronting the government,” a microblogger wrote. “The government has repeatedly squandered the people’s patience. It is time for us to be independent.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/04/shifang-china-releases-antipollution-protesters

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About ottwf

The capitalistic and imperialistic system and its systematic aims: profit and power over others, still dominates our world and not the aims of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as 1948 agreed! After the world-economic-crisis after 1929 and the following World-War the world hat decided with agreeing the Universal Declaration of Human rights, to create a new world order; conflicts should be solved with peaceful means, not nations and their power, but the dignity of human beings around the world should be the aim of the policies and the economy, of every state and the community of states. But soon after the end of the war, when the victims and destruction were forgotten, all continued as before, with all risks, we had seen before. The split in rich an poor is getting bigger and bigger. We also overuse our global environment already, even if the big majority of mankind still lives in poverty! We are not victims, this world is men-made and be changed from men and women! It will be possible, if those, who do not want or serve (because of system-pressure) profits first, but want for themselves and everybody a life in human dignity unite and develop in a global base-democratic movement a common vision for our world, and learn, how to make this vision real. We need for it a big empowerment of many, many common men and women and their activities. Our chances are because of new communication technologies, of common languages, of the level of education and the mixture of people from different backgrounds better then ever. The occupy-movement is a good start for such a global movement. We support it and try to contribute to its success! We choose news and make comments and so try to unite people for an Occupy-Think-Tank: Its tasks: creating a news-network, self-education, working on global-reform programs and learning to organize projects for those, who are suffering. Join us, so that we can build teams for these aims for all subjects and countries as a base for the unification. We have Wan(n)Fried(en) in our name, because it means When peace and it is a modification of the name of the town our base is, in Wanfried, a small town in the middle of Germany, where we can use a former factory for our activities. Our telefon: 0049-5655-924981, mobil: 0171-9132149, email: occupy-think-tank@gmx.de
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