NINGBO, China Oct 27 Police dispersed more than
a thousand protesters in the eastern Chinese city of Ningbo on
Saturday who were demonstrating against plans to expand a
The protests, which had turned violent on Friday,
illustrate a major challenge for the leadership as it readies
for its once-in-a-decade power transition, and tries to maintain
social stability but also show it is listening to the complaints
of ordinary people.
Protesters had gathered early on Saturday in a central
shopping street in Ningbo. By the afternoon they had mostly been
dispersed by several hundred police.
Witnesses said there were a few scuffles and some arrests.
"I think the chemical and industrial project is not very
good for the eco-system. I don't think they should exchange our
living environment for development," said 31-year old protester
The protesters wore masks and gave out pamphlets denouncing
the expansion of the plant by a subsidiary of China Petroleum
and Chemical Corporation in the district
The protests, which have been going on for a week , come just
two weeks before the Communist Party holds a congress which
opens on Nov. 8 and will unveil a new central leadership.
The city's public security bureau said protesters overturned
cars and attacked police on Friday night while reports on Weibo,
China's version of Twitter, reported that police fired tear gas
at the protesters.
The past few years has seen a rise in protests over
environmental issues. In July, Chinese officials cancelled an
industrial waste pipeline project after anti-pollution
demonstrators occupied a government office in eastern China.
"I feel very upset and disappointed at the government and
media in China," said Winni Xu, a Zhenhai native who recently
completed her graduate studies in the United States.
"I'm angry at the government because they tried to hide a
lot of critical information about this project from the
residents," said New York-based Xu, her voice filled with
emotion. "I spent 20 years in Zhenhai, from kindergarten all the
way up...I have friends and family there".
Discussion of the protests was not blocked on Weibo but some
users in Ningbo reported difficulty in uploading photographs.