- Global Voices - https://globalvoices.org -

China: Guangdong Uprising, Now in Haimen

Categories: East Asia, China, Development, Environment, Governance, Protest

Over the past few month, a number of mass incidents have taken place in Guangdong province. While the uprising in Wukan village [1] is about to be resolved as the Shanwei government has agreed to suspend the development plans and return the land back to the farmers, another town, Haimen, near Shantou [2] city has launched its own mass mobilization against construction of the town's second power plant. Thousands of citizens have besieged the town government and blocked the freeway between Shenzhen and Shantou, demanding that the Haimen town government call off the construction project.

With a separate protest in Shantou on December 18 [3], 2011, also over illegal land acquisition, the series of incidents reflects the failure of the current “weiwen” [4] stability maintenance system of control in resolving day-to-day grassroot conflicts.

Sina Weibo user fycanly blogs about the background of Haimen Uprising:

fycanly [5]:海门渔港是国家一级良港和国家中心渔港:坐落在汕头市潮阳区海门镇的莲花峰是国家“AAA”级旅游景区。世代在此生活的海门人以海为生,耕三渔七,代代繁衍。然而,2006年6月开始,海门的生态灾难降临了!

Haimen fishing harbor is a national “grade A” fishing harbor and a fishing center. Lianhua hill of Haimen town, located in Shantou's Qiaoyang district, is classified as an “AAA” grade tourist site. Haimen people's livelihoods depend on fishing, however Haimen has suffered from ecological disaster since June 2006.

fycanly [6]:海门人都知道,华能电厂为冷却设备而从海上抽水,每次能带上两东风汽车的鱼虾,而这些受到污染的鱼虾都被都不法之徒卖往市场。华能电厂号称绿色发电,但2011年,却因为废水偷排而被广东省环保厅处于罚款2000万元。

Haimen people all know that the Huaneng power plant depends on sea water for cooling. Whenever they extract water from the sea, huge numbers of shrimp and fish are sucked into their cooling system and contaminated. Some sell these contaminated sea creatures in the market. Huaneng claims they are eco-friendly, but in 2011 the company was fined RMB 20 million by the Guangdong environmental bureau for dumping polluted water directly into the sea.

fycanly [7]:这些年,有条件的海门人纷纷迁离家乡,而没有条件移民的海门人,只能苦守这片曾经美丽、而今满目疮痍的故土。谁来对十几万海门人民的生计负责?谁来对海门的子子孙孙的未来负责?谁来对海门港这片遭践踏的海洋负责?海门港区水域面积万190万平方米,全港拥有渔船1000多艘,年鱼货卸港量18万吨之多。

In recent years, better-off Haimen people have moved out of the area, leaving behind the poor to see this piece of beautiful land deteriorating. Who is there to take responsibility of Haimen's people's livelihoods and their offsprings’ futures? Who is there to take responsibility for the polluted sea? The size of Haimen harbor is around 1.9 million square meters and we have more than a thousand fishing boats. Our annual harvest is more than 180,000 tons.

fycanly [8]:广东省汕头市潮阳区的海门镇,一个镇两个发电厂,一个以渔业为主的大镇,由于电厂偷排,海洋无鱼可捕。国家已明令控制采用,各级政府文件也明确规定,对于投资项目要严格控制“高耗能,高污染”企业进入,蛤为何顺利通过,电厂对海门造成的生态危机,近年来海门镇人口非正常成亡率高居广东省首位。

Now we are going to have a second power plant in this town, where people depend on fishing for their living. Because of the emission of polluted water, there are less and less fish. The central and provincial governments have issued official documents to restrict the development of polluting industry, so why did the town government still approve the plan? In recent years, the unnatural death rate is the highest in Guangdong province, this is the price for the eco disaster.

A number of Weibo users echo with fycanly's comment:

Fuson- [9]:当年建电厂时,平台坍塌致6死2重伤,然后事到如今,环境污染不断上升,癌症人数不断攀升,先父也是因为这样的病魔在今年去世,现在政府还想建多多一个电厂,那是不可能的,曾经家乡美好的环境,如今乌烟瘴气,环境恶劣,十多万#海门#同胞,我们需要站出来,但是今天的我们不是骚乱,而是我们该愤怒了。

Fuson: During the construction of the first power plant, a platform collapsed, killing 6 workers and seriously injured 2 others. Now the number of cancer patients keep on rising. My father also died because of cancer earlier this year. Now the government wants to build another one, this can not happen. Our homeland was once so beautiful and now it's so polluted. To my 100,000 fellow Haimenese, let's stand up. This is not a riot, but we need to be angry.
Thousands of people blocked the entrance of an express road. Photos widely circulated in Weibo.

Thousands of people blocked the entrance of an express road. Photos widely circulated in Weibo.

Indeed, Haimen people are really angry. Despite the fact that schools closed their gates and forced students to stay on the school campus and away from today's protest, thousands of Haimen people have taken to the street. Below are Weibo users’ account of the situation in Haimen today:

蕴婷这个娃 [10]:今天对海门人来说是不平凡的一天。我没有去现场,但是通过图片,通过微博影响力,也能感受得到人们的团结。再不是敢怒不敢言的社会了,对环境有毁灭性影响的工程,再也啃不下了。买了那么多方便面去学校阻止学生放学,这个最可笑。尊敬民意而不是打压民意的社会什么时候才会到来?海门人好样的!

Today is an extraordinary day for Haimen people. Just by looking at the photos uploaded to Weibo, you can feel the solidarity among Haimen people. People can no longer be silent about the highly polluting project. [Authorities] believed that they can stop students by giving them cup-o-noodles, this is so ridiculous. They should know to respect people's view rather than repress them. Haimen people, please set a good example for us.

yaochunjing [11]:#中央电视台#广东省汕头市潮阳区海门镇要建第二座煤发电厂,一座发电厂已经威协到海门了,还要建第二座,十几万海门的民众去围堵镇政府,镇政府不理,教育部通知各校不让学生放学回家,软禁学生。实在是无助啊!!

Haimen town in Qiaoyang district, Shantou city, Guangdong province, is about to build a second coal-fired power plant. One power plant has already ruined Haimen, now they want a second one. Tens of thousands of Haimen people have now surrounded the town government, and government officials have yet to give any response. The education department has instructed all the schools to detain their students after school. We are so helpless here.

lin泽平 [12]:海门的商家于上午11时罢市,现在满载的矿泉水和食物正纷纷赶往高速现场,免费发放。据目击者说,群众最少有三万人。许多人正在赶往现场。这才是真正的海门人,这就是团结

All the shops in Haimen have been shut since 11am. People have packed bottled water and food to the entrance of the freeway and are distributing them freely to the petitioners. Witnesses say there were at least 30,000 people at the scene. Many are on their way. This is solidarity.