From China Watch:
China’s worsening environmental crisis is catalyzing a growing environmental movement in which the public is resisting special interest groups and opposing the government’s environmentally “unfriendly” behaviors. More significantly, this movement represents a push toward greater democracy in the country, with the public fighting for its civil rights through protecting the environment.
Although citizens, NGOs, and journalists suffering from China’s deteriorating environment did not set out to turn their environmental efforts into a democracy movement, they have found more democratic space in the “green” realm. They are able to write articles, hold open forums, launch grassroots groups, and educate the public, influencing the behaviors of both the government and special interests. Rather than ideology, they have paid more attention to protecting individual environmental rights”breathing fresh air, drinking clean water, protecting the homeland, and conserving nature. Citizens also have more political space in the environmental arena because the government is undertaking parallel efforts to improve the environment. [Full Text]
Jianqiang Liu is a senior investigative journalist with China Southern Weekend and a visiting scholar at Peking University.