Middle class not suffering silently in China – Evan Osnos
From the Chicago Tribune, via centredaily.com:
The residents of Golden Lands, Life Gallery Townhouse and New Health Gardens left the heart of Beijing in search of just what their high-priced new addresses suggested: space, class and clean living.
But it wasn’t long before people began noticing a sharp metallic odor in the wind, which scratched their throats and stirred complaints at the tennis courts and private schools where they chatted. The people settled on a common culprit – a cluster of factories on the edge of their gated communities – and they began to protest.
It was the birth of an improbable movement led by white-collar protesters, unlike the peasants and factory workers who routinely rise up against the side effects of China’s economic growth. In raising their voices, these middle-class campaigners in the Beijing neighborhood of Yizhuang and others like them are seeking to shape the very economic development that created the new middle class, and they are broadening the base of China’s simmering civil society.