Several hundred people staged a peaceful demonstration Friday against a
planned chemical plant in southern China on which work was suspended after
protests circulated by mobile phone over possible health dangers.
Protesters gathered for several hours near city hall in Xiamen, where
the facility was to be built, witnesses said. Police were present but there were
no reports of violence or arrests.
What a lovely counterpoint to the tragedy in Tiananmen Square -- June 4 marked the 18th anniversary of that protest, which led to much violence (including deaths) at the hands of army and police and many arrests.
It's tempting to see this as evidence of how far China has opened up in the past 18 years. But of course a small protest in Xiamen is very different from a large one in the midst of central government power. And China's government has embraced environmental protection as a goal, unlike the government's position on democratization in 1989.
Still, given the response to some recent protests in China, it makes me hopeful to read, "Police were present but there were no reports of violence or arrests."