Edited by Ray Yep, June Wang and Thomas Johnson
Chapter 20: Environmental protest in urban China
This chapter examines the phenomenon of urban Chinese opposition to so-called ‘locally-unwanted-land-uses’ including chemical plants and waste incinerators. It argues that mounting contention is rooted in shortcomings in the planning, decision-making and regulatory processes, which are manifested in low trust in the state. These environmental disputes are narrow and localized, but raise questions about citizen participation, accountability and transparency that transcend the immediate local environment. However, the prospects for a ‘scaling-up’ of protest into a bigger movement appear bleak. Protests that potentially go beyond a narrow local focus, such as anti-smog contention, are liable to trigger state suppression.
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