Guangdong: direct action gets the goods
Authorities in Qingyuan, in China's Guangdong province, canceled a planned waste incinerator project after days of angry mass protests repeatedly shook the city. Clashes erupted after thousands of residents from the outlying township of Feilaixia joined students and market workers in Qingyuan's downtown area May 7. Riot police fired tear-gas and used batons to try to disperse the crowds, but protesters only re-grouped elsewhere—even after hundreds were arrested. Residents accused authorities of failing to consult with local communities in the project, which was slated for Shili village, adjacent to Feilaixia. On May 10, as protests continued to escalate, the city government announced that it had decided to drop the plan. (EJ Insight, Hong Kong, May 11; RFA, May 8)
Mass protests also halted a planned waste incinerator in the Guangdong city of Luoding in 2015, and there have been similar uprisings against such projects elsewhere in China over the past years. Guangdong has also been the scene of significant labor unrest and peasant protests over land-grabbing. The growing unrest in China has apparently helped spark the current crackdown on human rights defenders.