Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Xiamen in the news

I ran across this article about environmental protests in Xiamen on June 1:

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."


Anonymous said...

All power to those who protected
at great risk! The Chinese people
are being posioned from all the
manufacturing taking plcae there.
Their water sources are polluted.
Many children are born with defects. We need to support and
buy only from companies that enforce dumping policies that don't
pollute there and here in the USA.

Anonymous said...

Our adoption trip to China fell on the 10th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests. We visited the square and the memories were nearly overwhelming. My husband commented that the Chinese people seemed oblivious to the occasion, but many had probably seen or heard NO coverage of the events. Most simply wanted pictures taken with my husband, who is 6'3" tall and many thought must be a professional basketball player.
Vonna in Kansas