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30,000 Chinese ‘Occupy’ Highway to Protest Polluting Coal Plants

30,000 Chinese ‘Occupy’ Highway to Protest Polluting Coal Plants


Written by Stephen Lacey, Climate Progress

Tens of thousands of residents in China’s southern Guandong Province gathered in the streets last week, occupying a highway to demonstrate against the development of a new coal plant near Shantou city. The residents say existing coal plants in the area are fouling local air and water, and are making people sick.

Each year, protests spring up to counter the construction of dirty coal plants. But this appears to be the biggest yet. Officials now say they will abandon plans to build a new coal plant in the area. Two people were reportedly killed in clashes with police, but the government is denying those reports.

China’s coal use has exploded over the last few decades. Since 1980, coal consumption in China has grown 500%, and now represents three quarters of consumption in Asia. That has coincided with a five-fold increase of lung cancer since 1970, now the leading cause of death in China. (Of course, an increase in smoking is also a huge contributor.)

Watch the protesters gather in the streets throughout Guandong Province protesting coal plants and local land rights:

This post was originally published by Climate Progress, a division on ThinkProgress.


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Photo from Joost J. Bakker via flickr

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9:13PM PDT on Mar 22, 2013

we need to have a movement like that here in the u.s!

5:42AM PST on Feb 3, 2013

Good for them for standing up to the government... If only more people did that.

3:25AM PST on Feb 3, 2013

China has more then coal pollution problems....................

9:02PM PST on Feb 2, 2013

Good that their protests were actually able to get higher govt officials to respond in a more constructive fashion with the power plant temporarily postponed. Sounds like alot of different things going on here. Thanks for the article.

6:20AM PDT on Aug 16, 2012

Grazie per l'articolo.

7:45AM PST on Jan 5, 2012




7:42AM PST on Jan 5, 2012

Brave people.

4:42AM PST on Jan 3, 2012

Thanks for the article.

6:10PM PST on Jan 2, 2012


3:13PM PST on Jan 1, 2012

Human beings are destroying this earth, and it's time that we move into clean solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, and biogas energy, like Germany is doing. We should get rid of nuclear power with it's waste and safety concerns, as well as natural gas with it's fracking problems, and coal, with it's mercury pollution problems. We need a marshall plan to move into clean wind, solar, and geothermal energy to save the planet.

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