Chinese Riot Over Industrial Pollution

Frustration with ongoing industrial contamination of water supplies and the failure of corrupt officials to deal with the problem is leading to protests across China.
July 21, 2005, 6am PDT | Michael Dudley
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"The riots in Xinchang are a part of a rising tide of discontent in China, with the number of mass protests like these skyrocketing to 74,000 incidents last year from about 10,000 a decade earlier, according to government figures. The details have varied from incident to incident, but the recent protests all share a common foundation of accumulated anger over the failure of China's political system to respond to legitimate grievances and defiance of the local authorities, who are often seen as corrupt...In Xinchang, as with many of the recent protests, the initial spark involved claims of serious environmental degradation. An explosion at the Jingxin Pharmaceutical Company this month in a vessel containing deadly chemicals reportedly killed one worker, and previous leakages contaminated the water supply for miles downstream, said villagers and one chemical plant worker who was injured in the accident."

Thanks to Michael Dudley

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Published on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 in The New York Times
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