Qidong NIMBY protesters raid government offices, mob and strip mayor of clothes
July 30, 2012Jing Gao9 Commentsaquatic products, Chen Shui-bian, demonstration, fishermen, Fishing, Lvsi Fishing Port, NIMBY, Oji Paper Group, protesters, Qidong, Qidong Jiangsu, Shifang, yangtze river
A water discharge project in the pipeline was immediately scrapped after thousands of residents in Qidong, a coastal city in East China, staged a protest amid growing concerns over pollution problems on July 28. Despite that it marks the victory for the public opinion and environmentalists, it is also worth noting that the protest finished on a violent note, with government offices raided by the protesters and the city’s party secretary mobbed and stripped of his clothes.
The wastewater discharge project was part of a construction plan of Oji Paper Group, a Japanese-owned paper-making factory based in Nantong, a neighboring city that administers Qidong. The wastewater from the paper mill will be expelled Residents in Qidong fear that if put into use, the wastewater containing contaminants and toxic matters may be dumped into the sea, polluting the area and killing the local fish stock.
In contrast to a similar not-in-my-back-yard protest in Shifang, Sichuan province, earlier this month which featured tear gas and stun grenades, Qidong’s local government and its police force have been lauded by netizens for its swift response to the outcry and decision to show restraint.
The protest started off from an online campaign. A series of posters had been circulating on the Chinese social media for days prior to the actual demonstration.
Strongly protest Nantong Oji Paper (Japan) for discharging wastewater into Qidong’s Lvsi Fishing Port!
On July 1, 2012, you came to know Shifang in Sichuan,
Then you must have heard of Qidong often lately.
If not, let me brief you on Qidong.
If Yangtze River is a dragon, then the tongue sticking out from the dragon’s head is Chongming Island;
The lower jaw is Shanghai, and the upper jaw is Qidong, butting on Yellow Sea, East (China) Sea and the Pacific.
In addition to education, construction and electric tool manufacturing that flourishes here,
Lvsi’s seafood culture is also a selling point well-known to home and abroad.
Lvsi Fishing Port’s annual output of aquatic products is
More than 200000000 kg (200,000 metric tons).
It is the world’s ninth largest and one of China’s four major fishing ports.
Today, the fishing port, hundreds of thousands in the fishing industry, and the million residents in Qidong, are now faced with a huge crisis.
A pipeline, which discharges 150,000 metric tons of wastewater daily,
Is now extending into the proximity of Lvsi Fishing Port.
The other end of the pipeline is Japan’s biggest investment in China, which was previously rejected by Northeast China, South China, Shanghai, Suzhou and Taicang and finally taken over by the inclusive Nantong Municipal Government –
Nantong Oji Paper (Japan) OJI.
The reason why it is singled out for blame is that it is not a chimney sticking out into the sky, but a pipeline reaching into the sea. The most important thing of all is that it will be dumped near Lvsi Fishing Port, and the daily volume is huge. Water cycle is closely related to you and me. What’s more, aquatic products from here in Lvsi have been in great demand home and abroad.
Nantong’s seaside and riverside environment is already in danger. Now it is hanging by a thread.
If this pipeline goes to Nantong, residents in Nantong will be angry with you; going to Yangtze River, people in Shanghai and Suzhou will be angry with you. “Okay, then make it go to Lvsi Fishing Port. It doesn’t matter if you are angry with me. Little Qidong, just suck it up!”
No! The million Qidong people can swallow no insult and suppress no word.
But on July 28, when thousands swarmed to the government building, they overturned five police cars, beat a couple of police officers viciously until they bled, and dragged the city’s party secretary Sun Jianhua out of his office into the street, stripped him of his clothes and tried to make him put on a T-shirt specially designed for this campaign.
Tens of thousands march towards the government office building.
Sun Jianhua, Qidong’s party secretary, has his top stripped off by protesters. (Note: He was mistakenly identified as the city’s mayor by multiple sources.)
Protesters rough up two police officers at the entrance of the government compound.
Protesters occupied the government office building.
Protesters display bottles of luxury Chinese liquor found in the officials’ office to the public.
Raiders throw government documents out onto the street.
After the raid upon the government offices.
One police vehicle overturned by angry protesters.
One protester takes the license plate off a government-owned vehicle.
Protesters stand top government vehicles.
A glass door smashed by protesters. A riot policeman looks from the inside.
Two female protesters smash up everything in one office.
The protesters also had some serendipity. During their rummage at the government building, they found condoms, poker cards, ginseng, cigarettes, red wine and brand-name Chinese liquor in the party secretary’s office. The crowd cheered every time something was thrown out of the window. Raiders waved their findings in front of the crowd to condemn corruption in the local politics.
@高军 ：This (condom) was found during our search of the government office building. Look at how these officials “serve the people” every day!
According to a user named “Wu Tianyi”on Renren, or the Chinese version of Facebook, Xu Feng (Shown below), another deputy mayor of Qidong, tried to intermediate by bull-horning his appeal to protesters, but the crowd heckled him with constant shouts.
As the mayhem proceeded, the local television is airing a televised announcement made by Zhang Jianxin, the deputy mayor of the city, emphasizing that the project has already been suspended and is been scrutinized for its environmental impact, and that it will not resume if residents disapprove of it. The same message was being run on the huge LED display at the city’s central district before the crowd dispersed. Later, the city further announced that the project has been killed once and for all.
Many public intellectuals and media personalities expressed their mixed feelings about the protest and even voiced concern over its violent nature on Sina Weibo.
Han Han, China’s most influential blogger and author, wrote, “The city government has fallen and been occupied. The state apparatus showed restraint. The project has been permanently canceled. The mayor’s top was stripped. But as long as he does not seek revenge later on, he is still more dignified than those well-dressed government officials who ordered a crackdown. I hope people in Qidong can be gratified with the result and stop at it. I will even warn officials elsewhere, stop before it goes too bad.”
Kai-fu Lee, former president of Google China and now a venture capitalist with 15 million followers on Sina Weibo, wrote, “In 2006, when a million Taiwanese dressed in red besieged (then Taiwanese President) Chen Shui-bian’s government, Shih Ming-the, the commander in chief, insisted that no one storm inside and no blood be shed. He believed that an end cannot be used to glorify the means. An otherwise just army will become sinners in the history if it crosses the line. He said, ‘It requires even greater courage and wisdom to maintain the arrow on the bowstring without releasing it, even if it is so poised to fly.’ Hope someone on that street in Jiangsu can read this post of mine.” The message has more than 41,000 shares so far.
Ge Sang, an anchorwoman at Shanghai Media Group, wrote, “Why did you have to charge at the city government while protesting? Can ransacking the mayor’s office help your appeal? The public behave like rogues even before the authorities strike the first blow. Isn’t this going to give others a handle against you?…When activism turns into smashing, beating and ransacking, don’t blame others if you are met with tear gas.”
He Zhenbiao, a communications professor at Zhejiang University, wrote, “I support the public for their expression of opinion on the street. This is the lesson 101 in a modern civilized society. But please allow me to remind them, this may be only a step away from the remnants of the Cultural Revolution…Express opinion with reason. Stroll with peace. Oppose personal attacks. Draw the line between public affairs and private matters.”
According to the posters specially designed for the cause and unveiled on the Internet, the organizers meant the campaign to be a peaceful and loving one. The call for a peaceful stroll is repeated on some of the posters.
Loving fishing, loving casting a net,
Loving jellyfish, loving drunken mud snail,
Loving to become rich, but not to employ deception and trickery,
I love this land that I have been working diligently on for decades,
And I love this beautiful sea that I have relied on.
I love Qidong,
I love Lvsi Fishing Port.
I am only an ordinary fisherman.
With pollution ahead,
Obstruction from tens of thousands is not daunting; our own surrender is.
I , have to shout!
I love the new Qidong with blue sky and clear water. Lvsi Fishing Port full of vitality.
Qidong’s future we would not want to see
Qidong’s future we would not want to see
Stroll (silent demonstration) with Civility; Fight Pollution with Reason
What we have always been promoting is strolling with civility and fighting pollution with reason.
Therefore, let’s judge the case as it stands, and to avoid unintended harm, please, the angry youth, put aside everything that is irrelevant.
We believe that Qidong’s leaders’ wise decision making,
Coupled with Qidong residents’ reason,
Can definitely work things out with perfection.
I, in the same way I love my family,
Have deep affection for this land,
I always do,
But my love had never been as deep as it is at this moment.