採訪/李倩倩 編輯/許旻 後製/黎安安
Official Repression Starts Over Qidong Mass Protest
Mass protests against a polluting sewage discharge project
were alleviated in Qidong under Nantong, Jiangsu Province.
This was after local authorities
announced a permanent suspension.
However, martial law still continues around
the city hall, according to local residents.
On July 28, a 20,000 strong police force entered
Qidong from Wuxi, Suzhou, and Changzhou cities.
Sources said that over 100 protesters were
arrested, with the majority being students.
Officials intentionally circulated
descriptions of “mobs” over the internet.
This were refuted as slander of the “civil rights movement,"
according to the comments.
Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported production
at a Japanese-owned paper mill in Qidong was suspended.
This occurred on July 28, due to outbreak
of local mass protests against pollution.
Production would be resumed
on July 29, said Kyodo news.
News posted on Chinese micro-blogs revealed
that over 20,000 armed and ranger police are stationed in the Qidong Middle School.
They were dispatched from Wuxi, Suzhou and Changzhou.
At least 100 people were arrested,
with most of them being young students.
According to sources, three were killed, including
one female and one male university student.
On July 29, mass protests staged the day before
were declared illegal by Qidong police authorities.
This instruction was “according
to the higher-level instructions”.
The announcement proclaimed participants involved
in the demonstrations would be severely punishments.
All related online messages have been removed.
The keyword “Qidong” was banned
from being searched on the microblogs.
All Chinese media coverage was required to stay
in line with the script issued by Xinhua News Agency.
Qidong student: “My parents workplace
prohibited their participation.
They also didn’t allow me to attend,
but I actually really want to go.
It was said that people who attend the protest
today would be subject to arrest.”
The focus of the strong public opposition in Qidong
is a plant parented by Japan’s Oji Paper Company.
The factory’s construction was started in 2007, and
its daily discharge will reach 150,000 tones of sewage when fully operational, according to the media reports.
Repeated mass petitions to local
authorities were unsuccessful.
The demonstration, involving tens of thousands
of local residents eventually erupted in the occupation of a government office building.
Chen Yongmiao, a Beijing-based constitutional scholar,
noted there have been changes in Qidong’s mass protest.
This included stripping the clothes off the Party chief;
And the mayor were put on a T-shirt with printed
words “Strong Boycotting Oji Pollution”;
It publicly exposed the condoms, brand-named tobaccos
and liquors that were found in the office building.
Chen Yongmiao: “This protest embodies
the true wisdom of the Chinese people.
In the past, civilians would appeal
for a dialogue with the authorities.
Today, the protesters dared
to confront the officials politically.
I term it a new change in the rights defense movement.
It meant 『I don』t fear you (the CCP)’.
It implies a mentality change in Chinese citizens, I feel.
They have had the initiative.”
Students born in 1980s and 1990s
became the main force of the Qidong protests.
They played the same role as their peers in Shifang’s
mass protest, staged in early July in Sichuan Province.
Nearly 10,000 Qidong high school students initiated
the demonstration through QQ and on social networking sites, gaining extensive responses.
Chen Yongmiao: “These high-school students had
experienced huge social pressures.
These pressures were usually confronted
by university students in the past.
These included such things as corruption,
social injustice, or the burden of paying for education,
medical services, and housing, which have
all penetrated into the reality of their campus life."
Even local police privately supported
the anti-pollution protest.
A local resident confirmed this in his micro-blog.
“The authorities’ crack-down sought police forces from other places.”
Under strong public opposition on July 28, Qidong police
announced in its official micro-blog that Nantong authorities decided to cancel the project permanently.
The victory for Qidong citizens has aroused widespread public concern.
They were also labeled as “the mob” by voices online.
Chen Yongmiao refuted this talk saying that
all these “civil rights movements” were the Chinese people
defending their own human rights, which should not be verbally attacked and demonized.