Beijing Nixes Plant Expansion Amid Protests

China's new leadership is to be announced early next month, and the increase in protests is not welcome


A little over a week before a new Chinese leadership takes power, Beijing hasretreated from the expansion of a petrochemical plant in the face of public protests in the city of Ningbo, in Zhejiang province, and what experts say is a potential crisis of legitimacy.

The decision on Oct. 28 to stop the plant expansion in Zhejiang province marks the government's latest concession against rising public discontent with living standards, corruption and inequality. The number of such protests in China has risen 29% a year since the late 1990s, reports the official China Daily, quoting an Oct. 26 lecture by an unidentified expert before the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. Large percentages of Chinese believe that water and air pollution are very big problems in the country, according to a survey released Oct. 16 by the Pew Research Center. Pew said that 33% cited water pollution as a very big problem and 36% said the same about air pollution.