Massive Protest Near Shanghai Scuttles Wastewater Pipeline

Protests against a planned pipeline to channel wastewater into the ocean for a Japanese paper manufacturer near a major fishery on China’s east coast (just north of Shanghai) has turned ugly.  Thousands of angry protesters in Qidong in China’s Jiangsu Province (江苏省南通市启东) have overturned police cars and threatened to overwhelm a massed police formation.   

One netizen posted a dramatic image of an ocean of police confronting protesters, commenting: “Helmet-clad police tried to use the ‘human ocean’ tactic [to contain protesters], but they were in turn surrounded by the ocean of people from Qidong.” 

Another netizen tweets, “Police cars inside the city government building have been overturned. Many police are now resting in the shade behind the government building.  The mayor is running for his life…”

The Nantong City government, which oversees Qidong, has announced in response to the protest that the waste project has been cancelled “forever” and is telling citizens to go home.  However, a spokesman for the Japanese paper manufacturer, Oji Paper Co., said only that the project would be temporarily suspended pending further study.  

The thick blue tide

One netizen from Suzhou reports that a ‘white terror’ had descended on Qidong:

“Shocking!! Qidong has entered a period of complete white terror.  People from all walks of life have been banned from taking part in the anti-pollution movement. Teachers and students are being suppressed by the education bureau. Entrepreneurs and companies are being suppressed by the bureau of commerce. Ordinary civilians by police, local citizens’ committees. The media doesn’t dare to report this; it’s actually the Japanese media that’s reporting this. Translations of the Japanese reports on large media platforms like Sina, Sohu, Tencent have been removed within just a few hours.” {{chinese}}[[chinese]]震惊!!启东已经全面进入了白色恐怖时期,各行各业的人都被禁止参与抗污行动~老师、学生由教育局镇压;个体户、企业由工商镇压;普通老百姓得到民警、居委会各种百年不遇的特别大的媒体也都不敢报道,竟然是来自日本的媒体予以了报道,而新浪、搜狐、腾讯等各大媒体转载日媒报道之后短短数小时内被封[[chinese]]

SMS and Letters seeking to nip the protest in the bud

The series of pictures displayed at the right side show a series of text messages that were reported to have been received by students’ parents in Qidong.  The first message reads, in two parts:

“Dear parents, after receiving instructions from superiors, we ask that, in order to maintain a harmonious and stable environment in Qidong, you do not organize, participate in, support or stand around to watch the group protests that have no permission from the government. We ask this so that you do not suffer any unnecessary harm!  We ask that you cooperate!  After you receive this please respond promptly with ‘Child’s name+Name of guardian+Acknowledgement+Guarantee to not organize, participate in, support or stand around to watch.’ We thank you for your understanding of our work.”  

The second image shows a text message that appears to have been sent by a local school to its students.

“All Students: We hope that during the summer you will respect and follow the law, obey traffic regulations, watch out for your personal safety, finish your summer schoolwork; with regard to that certain movement organized by society persons, strictly adopt the stance of not being curious, not participating, not supporting, not standing around to watch. Have a cultured, safe and meaningful summer vacation. Zhegui School Administration.”  A quick search shows that Zhegui is the name of a middle school in Qidong.

The third image shows a reported guarantee that students were asked to sign.  The guarantee states:

“In accordance with the National Protest Law, the planned protest on July 28, 29 and 30 to take place at Qidong’s Yongan Square against the Nantong Large Scale Wastewater Sea Pipeline is an illegal protest. Any participation will be punished by the relevant public security law, and will impact university entrance and an individual’s future.  I solemnly promise: with regards to the July 28, 29, 30 illegal protest against the Nantong Large Scale Wastewater Sea Pipeline, I will strictly adopt a stance of not organizing, not participating, not supporting and not watching.”

However, as the pictures below demonstrate, plenty of people still turned up to organize, participate, support or just watch the spectacle of a grassroots citizens’ movement like Shifang that has, once again, stopped government-endorsed development dead in its tracks.


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