China’s Middle Class Derails New Link

Following protests by residents concerned over its environmental impact, Shanghai has canceled plans to extend the maglev train line to Hangzhou. The Australian looks at the impact of the new NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) movement in China:

The magazine said the reason for the suspension was not only manoeuvring by the powerful Ministry of Railways, which began work a fortnight ago on a rival Shanghai-Hangzhou express railway using high-speed but conventional technology.

Unusually for China, whose capacity to build infrastructure rapidly has become a hallmark, Caijing said protests by citizens living alongside the maglev route was also a major factor in its suspension. They demonstrated frequently, voicing their concerns about the likely resulting downward push of property prices, and their fears about electromagnetic radiation.

[...] The thousands of “mass incidents” that China’s authorities have become adept at handling, have in recent years comprised almost entirely farmers and sometimes migrant workers. Security agencies are not used to dealing with large numbers of middle-class demonstrators, most of them home owners.

March 16, 2009 10:02 AM
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