Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Pollution and Protest in China: Environmental Mobilization in Context*

  • Yanhua Deng (a1) and Guobin Yang (a2)

Abstract

This article focuses on environmental controversy in a Chinese rural community. It shows that Chinese villagers may protest against anticipated pollution if the environmental threat is effectively framed. In the face of real and serious pollution, villagers may seek to redress environmental grievances by piggybacking on politically favourable issues. However, when the pollution is caused by fellow villagers, environmentally concerned villagers may remain silent owing to the constraints of community relations and economic dependency. These findings suggest that the relationship between pollution and protest is context-dependent.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Email: deng1999@gmail.com (corresponding author).

Footnotes

Hide All
*

The authors thank Anna Lora-Wainwright and Jennifer Holdaway for their helpful comments. Generous financial support was provided to the first author by the China National Social Sciences Foundation (project code 12CSH041) and the American Social Science Research Council's grant for collaborative research on environmnet and health in China.

Footnotes

References

Hide All
Bauer, Joanne (ed.). 2006. Forging Environmentalism: Justice, Livelihood, and Contested Environments. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe.
Benford, Robert D. 1997. “An insider's critique of the social movement framing perspective.” Sociological Inquiry 67 (4), 409430.
Benford, Robert D., and Snow, David A.. 2000. “Framing processes and social movements: an overview and assessment.” Annual Review of Sociology 26 (1), 611639.
Boudet, Hilary Schaffer. 2011. “From NIMBY to NIABY: regional mobilization against liquefied natural gas in the United States.” Environmental Politics 20 (6), 786806.
Briggs, Adam. 2006. “China's pollution victims: still seeking a dependable remedy.” Georgetown International Environmental Law Review 18 (2), 305334.
Cai, Yongshun. 2010. Collective Resistance in China: Why Popular Protests Succeed or Fail. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Chang, Xiaohong. 2007. “‘Yihao wenjian’ zuoban, Chen Xiwen jiedu ‘xin nongcun jianshe yuannian’” (“No. 1 Document” issued yesterday, and Chen Xiwen deciphers “the brand new year of constructing a new countryside”), 30 January, http://china.caixin.com/2007-01-30/100058062.html. Accessed 25 November 2012.
Chen, Qiaodan, and Jiang, Guirong. 2010. “Huashui feisu hangye zhuanxing shengji qiu tupo” (Plastic waste industry in Huashui in search for transformation, upgrading, and a breakthrough). Zhezhong xinbao, 24 February.
Cui, Muyang. 2009. “Hunan Liuyang shuqian ren shangjie kangyi huagong qiye wuran” (Thousands of people in Liuyang city, Hunan, take to the streets to protest against pollution from a chemical factory), 1 August, http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2009-08-01/014016047310s.shtml. Accessed 6 November 2011.
Deng, Yanhua, and O'Brien, Kevin J.. Forthcoming. “Relational repression: using social ties to demobilize protesters.” The China Quarterly.
Diani, Mario. 1996. “Linking mobilization frames and political opportunities: insights from regional populism in Italy.” American Sociological Review 61 (6), 1053–69.
Dou, Wentao. 2009. “Shaanxi Fengxiang xueqian zhongdu shijian: cunmin weiquan zhilu” (The incident of blood lead poisoning in Fengxiang, Shaanxi: villagers' rights protection struggle), 31 August, http://phtv.ifeng.com/program/wtpa/200908/0831_1632_1328143.shtml. Accessed 6 November 2011.
Gould, Kenneth A. 1991. “The sweet smell of money: economic dependency and local environmental political mobilization.” Society & Natural Resources 4 (2), 133150.
Gould, Kenneth A. 1993. “Pollution and perception: social visibility and local environmental mobilization.” Qualitative Sociology 16 (2), 157178.
Hu, Jianwen. 2004. “Luzhai cun baimu shucai liqi kuwei” (Hundreds of mu of vegetables in Luzhai village withered oddly), Dongyang ribao, 24 December.
Huang, Changcheng. 2009. “Nansha shihua xiangmu qianzhi shimo” (The whole story of relocating Nansha petrochemical project), Shidai zhoubao, 6 August.
Huashui Town Government. 2005. “Nongzuowu shou gongye wuran tongji biao” (Statistics on crops polluted by industrial pollution). Internal document.
Jing, Jun. 2000. “Environmental protests in rural China.” In Perry, Elizabeth J. and Selden, Mark (eds.), Chinese Society: Change, Conflict and Resistance. London: Routledge, 143160.
Johnson, Thomas. 2010. “Environmentalism and NIMBYism in China: promoting a rules-based approach to public participation.” Environmental Politics 19 (3), 430448.
Koopmans, Ruud, and Statham, Paul. 1999. “Challenging the liberal nation-state? Postnationalism, multiculturalism, and the collective claims making of migrants and ethnic minorities in Britain and Germany.” American Journal of Sociology 105 (3), 652696.
Lora-Wainwright, Anna. 2010. “An anthropology of ‘cancer villages’: villagers' perspectives and the politics of responsibility.” Journal of Contemporary China 19 (63), 7999.
Markus, Francis. 2005. “China riot village draws tourists,” 15 April, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4448131.stm. Accessed 26 January 2010.
McGinnis, Michael D. 1986. “Issue linkage and the evolution of international cooperation.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 30 (1), 141170.
O'Brien, Kevin J., and Li, Lianjiang. 2005. “Popular contention and its impact in China.” Comparative Political Studies 38 (3), 235259.
O'Brien, Kevin J., and Li, Lianjiang. 2006. Rightful Resistance in Rural China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Perlez, Jane. 2012. “Waste project is abandoned following protests in China,” New York Times, 28 July.
Qi, Shanshan. 2011. “Zhejiang Haining yin huanjing wuran fasheng yiqi qunti xing shijian” (A mass incident took place because of environmental pollution in Haining, Zhejiang), 17 September, http://news.163.com/11/0917/17/7E61BS9200014AEF.html. Accessed 6 November 2011.
Sebenius, James K. 1983. “Negotiation arithmetic: adding and subtracting issues and parties.” International Organization 37 (2), 281316.
Shmueli, Deborah, Elliott, Michael and Kaufman, Sanda. 2006. “Frame changes and the management of intractable conflicts.” Conflict Resolution Quarterly 24 (2), 207218.
Solecki, William D. 1996. “Paternalism, pollution and protest in a company town.” Political Geography 15 (1), 520.
Song, Yuan. 2005Zhejiang Dongyang huanbao jiufen chongtu zhenxiang” (The real story of the environmental conflict in Dongyang, Zhejiang). Fenghuang zhoukan 182, 2024.
Stein, Arthur A. 1980. “The politics of linkage.” World Politics 33 (1), 6281.
Tang, Xiaojun. 2003. “Ducha yinxiang lu” (An impression of the inspection). Zhongguo tudi 2003(11), 911.
Thornton, Bill, and Tizard, Hayley J.. 2010. “‘Not in my back yard’: evidence for arousal moderating vested interest and oppositional behavior to proposed change.” Social Psychology 41 (4), 255262.
Tian, Chunhua. 2004. “Zhejiang sheng qingli zhengdun kaifa qu jishi” (A report on cleaning up and rectifying the developmental zones in Zhejiang), 13 July, http://www.clr.cn/front/read/read.asp?ID=25491. Accessed 3 February 2011.
Tilt, Bryan. 2006. “Perceptions of risk from industrial pollution in China: a comparison of occupational groups.” Human Organization 65 (2), 115127.
Tilt, Bryan. 2010. The Struggle for Sustainability in Rural China: Environmental Values and Civil Society. New York: Columbia University Press.
Ungar, Sheldon. 1992. “The rise and (relative) decline of global warming as a social problem.” The Sociological Quarterly 33 (4), 483501.
van der Horst, Danvan. 2007. “NIMBY or not? Exploring the relevance of location and the politics of voiced opinions in renewable energy siting controversies.” Energy Policy 35 (5), 2705–14.
van Rooij, Benjamin. 2010. “The people vs. pollution: understanding citizen action against pollution in China.” Journal of Contemporary China 19 (63), 5577.
Vaughan, Elaine, and Seifert, Marianne. 1992. “Variability in the framing of risk issues.” Journal of Social Issues 48 (4), 119135.
Wasserstrom, Jeffrey N. 2009. “Middle-class mobilization.” Journal of Democracy 20 (3), 2932.
Watts, Jonathan. 2005. “A bloody revolt in a tiny village challenges the rulers of China,” 15 April, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/apr/15/china.jonathanwatts?INTCMP=SRCH. Accessed 25 November 2012.
Xie, Liangbing. 2007. “Xiamen PX shijian: xin meiti shidai de minyi biaoda” (The Xiamen PX incident: the expression of public opinion in the age of new media), Zhongguo zhoukan, 11 June.
Yu, Jianrong. 2007. “Muqian Zhongguo shangfang zui shoudao zhongshi shi huanbao” (Currently environmental petitioners receive the most attention), 27 November, http://news.qq.com/a/20071127/005065.htm. Accessed 12 September 2012.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The China Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0305-7410
  • EISSN: 1468-2648
  • URL: /core/journals/china-quarterly
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed