Riots broke out in the Jiangsu city of Qidong on Saturday during protests against a pipeline which locals feared would pollute the nearby coastline. From Peter Parks at AFP:
Following the clashes, the local police said in their microblog that the pipeline from the paper mill, which belongs to Japanese company Oji Paper, would be “permanently closed” and called on the demonstrators to go home.
[… A protester named ] Qin said there were 50,000 demonstrators, while a microblogger using the name Qidong Longhuisheng estimated numbers at 100,000.
“There are people everywhere, on walls, cars, rooftops, in streets,” said another microblog user writing under the name Jiaojiaotaotailang, adding that “the air is filled with the smell of alcohol, and there are sounds of breaking glass”.
Searches including “Qidong” were blocked Saturday on Sina Weibo, which has more than 250 million subscribers.
On Twitter, NPR’s Louisa Lim recounted weibo reports that the Qidong mayor and another official had been stripped naked (or at least shirtless) by protestors. Despite this, and in contrast with recent protests in Shifang, police appear so far to have reacted with considerable restraint [See update below]. This has been commended by some netizens, including one quoted by Offbeat China:
“[The mayor] didn’t call for tear gas or tanks to crack down the protesters. It’s an improvement. This mayor deserves some applause. Even better, he immediately announced that the project was permanently canceled.”
A local resident told Global Times on Thursday, however, that efforts to resolve the situation by other means had already proven unsuccessful:
“We have applied for a protest permit but the local government has refused to approve it. We will still walk the streets to express our opinion,” Gu [Bin] said, adding that the government has also refused repeated request to make public the environmental...
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