Protest halts chemical plant


Concerned about the health effects of a chemical plant proposed to be built in the coastal city of Xiamen by a Taiwanese capitalist, up to 2000 protesters took to the city's streets on June 1 and 2 seeking to have the project scrapped.

The protest went ahead despite vice-mayor Ding Guoyan announcing the project's suspension on May 30. "We don't want poisonous gas, we want our Xiamen back", was the key slogan of the action, which was confronted by 1000 riot police. According to an eyewitness quoted in a June 3 BBC report, clashes between protesters and police resulted in at least five people being injured.

The protest's organisers made intensive use of SMS messages. Media reports claim that at around a million text messages were sent in the lead-up to the protest. Xiamen has a population of 1.5 million.

Pro-Beijing newspapers in Hong Kong reported that Xiamen's mayoral office responded by texting the city's citizens en masse, urging them to use "the proper channels" to air their views instead of demonstrating.