As a testament to the increasingly daring nature of Chinese citizens, people have come out in mass to voice their vehement dislike of a recent government policy. Considering China’s harsh treatment of large scale public protests and the potential ramifications participating could have on individuals, we figure only the most egregious of political moves could bring together so many people in harmonious dissent. So what happened?
Guangzhou’s government announced yesterday that the city was besieged by garbage: every day, the city generates over 12,000 tons of waste, only 7,000 of which can be handled within the municipality. Plus, the Xingfeng dump is going to be full in only two short years, leaving a short span of time to figure out what to do with all that garbage.
As far as we can tell, the reasoning from here goes like this: politicians had heard a lot about going green; someone might have mentioned the word “recycling;” a logical link was ignored; everyone decided to kill two birds with one stone and recycle the garbage by burning it for energy.
As part of the “Eleventh Five Year Plan” for Pearl River Delta development, the government stipulated that no less that 35% of energy be created by burning trash. Apparently the public didn’t know about the garbage burning part: with all the vague talk about economic and scientific development in the vein of Jiang Zemin’s “three represents,” it seems that the average person missed the details on how exactly that change would come about. Or nobody thought it involved burning garbage, at least.
Needless to say, people aren’t happy: a massive, angered crowd has formed and is marching towards the municipal government building. Protesters are chanting things like “step down, Lu Zhiyi!” and demanding to speak with high officials. The government has responded, of course, by lining up armed policemen and arresting the head of the village, who we assume organized this protest. So far, our favorite image is the iconic protester wearing a gas mask and holding a sign that says “Oppose garbage burning, protect the environment instead.” Click the jump for an incredible live stream of the protest.