Word of such events doesn't often make it into Western news cycles, so few Americans realize that China is home to some of the most robust grassroots environmental protests in the world. Mass demonstrations routinely break out in protest against the nation's authoritarian industrial policies--and yesterday serves as a mighty example of such spirited unrest.
Perhaps borrowing a meme from the now-global 'Occupy' movement, an estimated 30,000 angry citizens occupied a public highway to protest an incoming coal plant, as well as an exceptionally dirty one that has been fouling their environment for years. After holding the the highway for some time, the protesters were forcibly removed by tear gas-wielding police forces. Two people were reportedly killed in the clash.
Here's CNN's coverage of the story, via Climate Progress:
This is amazing stuff. The stakes for such protests are so much higher in China, where civil liberties are a joke, and demonstrators are routinely thrown in jail and held as political prisoners. And yet, more and more people are turning out to fight back against industrial projects that sully their land, endanger their health, and choke their air with pollution.
And sometimes, it works: Chinese authorities announced they are scrapping the plans for the coal plant.