Toughts, news and small talk mainly concerning China from a berlin perspective

4/22/2005

Evironmental pollution and social unrest

Uncontrolled waste water from Changlin paper mill, in Dongxiang County, Jiangxi


The recent riots in Huankantou in Zhejiang province have highlighted one of the most urgent problems in China today: Environmental pollution and the powerlessness of the local people when the regional authorities don't see a call for action due to financial interests.

Xinhua had sad pictures of severe pollution in March (via CDT).

According to numbers given by Murray Scott Tanner in a testimony presented to the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, protests increased by no less than 9% per year:

... "The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) reports that the number of "mass incidents" (e.g. various forms of protest) has skyrocketed from about 8,700 in 1993, to 32,000 in 1999, to about 50,000 in 2002, and surpassing 58,000 in 2003 (See table in Appendix). Especially noteworthy has been the steady rate of increase: protest incidents have apparently increased every year since 1993 (although 2001 data are unavailable), and in no year did they increase by less than 9 percent." ...

Although not every protest is about environmental pollution I would suggest, that also the number of protests out of that motivation, will increase.

Meanwhile there are encouraging signals from the State Environmental Protection Administration, as it more and more supports Chinese NGOs who have environmental protection on their agenda.


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