Electromagnetism Fears Spark Protests

China has seen numerous protests triggered by fears of chemical pollution. Two incidents in the past month have revolved instead around concerns over health threats from electromagnetic radiation, despite the lack of evidence for harmful effects at the exposure levels involved. On Sunday, Reuters reported a rare protest in Beijing against a new high-speed rail line: Residents told Reuters they were concerned the new line from Beijing to the northeastern city of Shenyang would run too close to their apartments and local schools, causing excess noise and electromagnetic radiation. They also complained the government had refused to listen to their concerns and accused them of faking an environmental impact assessment. “I only knew this line was planned two weeks ago when I got a letter from the government thanking me for my support,” said a protester who gave her family name as Zhang. “But neither me nor any of the other residents support this. They are inventing things.” […] In 2008, hundreds of people in China’s financial hub Shanghai marched against the extension of the city’s magnetic levitation train, or “maglev”, worried it would emit radiation and sicken them. Police detained dozens. Global Times’ Chen Xiaoru reported in November that residents had rejected three successive environmental impact assessments for the Beijing-Shenyang line. “Though railway authorities say that they are going to build above-ground tunnels along the track in populated areas to isolate noise and radiation, the railway is still going to influence the residents’ lives as some buildings are only 30 meters from the track,” a resident was quoted by the Beijing Times as saying. […] Chen Yaoxuan, a resident representative from Beijing’s Gome Champion City, a residential compound along the planned route, said that her building is only 70 meters from the track. “The radiation will cast a negative ...
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