Not In My 后院

China’s so-called “NIMBY” environmental protest movement appears to be gaining steam:

On Saturday, protestors held public demonstrations against the planned construction of a waste CHINA-ENVIRONMENT-POLITICS-PROTESTincineration plant near the city of Hangzhou in Zhejiang province. The Financial Times reported that the planned waste incineration plant would be the largest such plant in Asia, expected to process 3,000 tons of waste each day in its first phase. Protestors reportedly numbering in the thousands joined the march against the incinerator plant, citing environmental and health concerns. Smaller protests had been occurring for weeks before Saturday’s major demonstration, which led to the protestors blocking a major highway. …

Environmental protests such as the one in Hangzhou are not uncommon in China. Earlier this year, protests against a paraxylene (PX) plant in Maoming, Guangzhou also turned violent, with protestors reportedly throwing rocks and even setting police cars on fire. As with the protests near Hangzhou, photos of the protests (including images of bloody protestors clashing with police) were quickly circulated on China’s social media sites. In both Maoming and Hangzhou, local authorities announced that they would not continue the controversial construction projects without public support.

Alexa Olesen has more on the movement:

The Chinese word for NIMBY is “linbi,” a pairing of the characters for “neighbor” and “avoid” that is meant to allude to the original English phrase in both sound and meaning. The word doesn’t show up in most Chinese dictionaries, a sign of just how young the phenomenon is there (though the definition can be found online). Most trace the beginning of the movement to the peaceful strolling protests and banner-waving that happened in the summer of 2007 in the coastal city of Xiamen that brought to a halt plans for a chemical plant in that city. The tenor of those demonstrations, which were largely organized via SMS, was cooperative and upbeat, not antagonistic.

Not all Chinese NIMBY actions have been so tranquil in the years since. It’s not clear whether this reflects a more aggressive response from police in cities where the protests are happening, or if the protestors are instigating the violence, or some combination of both.

(Photo: A damaged police vehicle lies on a road after residents clashed with police during a protest in Hangzhou, east China’s Zhejiang province, on Sunday. At least 39 people were injured on May 10 during a protest against plans to build a waste incinerator in eastern China, state media reported. By STR/AFP/Getty Images.)