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Grassroots Environmental Movement Sprouts in China

<p>Environmental activism is on the rise in China. It's not a fast rise, but its existence is seen by many as a major step.</p>
April 16, 2008, 11am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Charismatic campaigner Wen Bo has lobbied against deforestation, which he says has caused violent dust storms and floods - and a host of other effects."

"He is not like most Chinese politicos, with a stylish haircut and a fleece jacket rather than a Mao suit. But what really sets him apart is the language he uses."

"'We are not passively being governed, being ruled by the government,' he told me. 'We have our rights.'"

"This is electric stuff in the world's biggest one-party state. Some outsiders hope that movements like his will give birth to a civil society - and even democracy - in repressive China."

"They hope that China's reaction to the epic environmental consequences of its growth - with a quarter of drinking water contaminated - will allow people power to break free and put a brake on pollution."

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Published on Sunday, April 13, 2008 in BBC
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