Monday, July 30, 2012

Chinese environmental protests

Looks like courage is a common human quality though it never fails to inspire. This man facing a phalanx of riot cops in Qidong, Jiangsu Province, eastern China is one of thousands of protestors who took to the streets Saturday against a proposed waste water discharge project linked to a Japanese paper factory being built upstream in the city of Nantong. The project was scrapped after the protests despite this excessive show of military force. It wasn’t announced if plans for the factory are also scrapped but the Japanese owners say the waste water will only be discharged after treatment that meets national standards. We’ve heard that before! Regrettably, so have Chinese environmentalists & citizens who well know implementation of environmental laws in China is weak in legal oversight & bends over backwards to accommodate the predations of multinational corporations. If they don’t concern themselves with child labor, why the hell would they concern themselves with manufacturing processes that contaminate river ways!? Over the past several years, China has cited dozens of multinational corporations (including American Standard, Panasonic, Pepsi, Nestle, & 3M) mainly for discharges of substandard waste water. The government’s reckless disregard for environmental concerns has provoked confrontations with thousands of Chinese who do not like seeing their cities, fields, & rivers laid waste & stinking like cesspools. Reportedly, the Qidong protest is only the latest of thousands of environmental protests in China. A few weeks ago, the city of Shifang in the SW province of Sichuan scrapped plans for a copper plant after a protest by thousands, including high school students. Looks like a thunderous awakening is on the horizon in China. (Photo by Eugene Hoshiko/AP)

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