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Thousands in China's Guangzhou Rally Against Trash Incinerator Plan

This post is part of our special coverage China's Pollution Problem.

Thousands of residents in a town in China’s southern Guangzhou province took to the streets on July 15, 2013 to protest against plans to build a trash incinerator in the town center.

Residents marched along the main road in Shiling town with flags and banners criticizing the incinerator plan. More people joined as protesters move towards the local government office. The protest lasted about four hours.

Last week, local officials announced a timetable for the incinerator, with plans to start the construction in June, 2014.

Protesters say they worry about the pollution from the incinerator and the impact on their health as well as the lack of transparency with which the incineration plan is being rolled out. One protester named Xie told Takungpao News [zh] that residents tried different ways to contact the Guangzhou government, but never got any reply.

To appease protesters, local officials promised to give residents a reply in three days.

Image from Sina Weibo

Image from Sina Weibo

In June, 2012, residents in Guangzhou’s neighboring city Qingyuan took to the streets to protest against a plan to build a garbage incinerator in an nearby area.

On China’s most popular microblogging site Sina Weibo, most of the information about the protests was quickly censored as usual, but a few posts were able to get around the censor.One netizen “Yuban 10249” wrote [zh]:

游行被各大媒体封杀了,打电话电视台要求报到,电视台居然还说等待上级的通知才可以报道!清远人民反对的时候,媒体也一概不受理,政府还说我们对建焚烧厂的方案很满意。万能的微博求帮转,为了我们的健康。让政府听到我们人民的声音。

The protest was censored by major media, we tried to call the TV station to ask for the report, the TV station said they need to wait until after they get the permission from their superiors! When Qingyuan residents protested against it, the media didn’t report about it, the government said that we were happy with the incineration plan. Please republish this post for the sake of our health. Let the government hear the voice of the people.

Another netizen “Wei” wrote [zh]:

所有反对信息都被屏蔽了,各大媒体没一敢播出。高层都是外地人不住在这里当然说没污染。狮岭几十万人口健康不是儿戏,是全国皮具重镇,人口密度极高。去你的高层拿了钱财,让我们来受罪坚决反对到底!!

All the information is blocked, no major media dare to report about it. High level officials don’t live here, of course they would say there’s no pollution. The health of tens of thousands of residents in Shiling is no joke. Shiling is an important town for leather manufacturing, the population density is very high.[ The officials] went to your senior to take the money and leave us to suffer! We strongly oppose to it till the end!

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