A Productive Protest in China Stops Chemical Plant Expansion

What comes with a growing middle class?


What comes with a growing middle class? Growing middle class concerns and the occasional social-media-boosted protest. That's the lesson China is learning as a noisy protest against the expansion of a chemical plant in Ningbo got what it wanted: The government agreed to stop the expansion.

"In yesterday's protest, the ordinary people let their voices be heard," a 40-year-old businessman who would give only his surname, Bao, said on the protest line Monday. Government officials, he said, "should say they are completely cancelling the project. They should state clearly that they will stop doing these projects in Ningbo and the rest of China."

How long that success lasts past the upcoming transfer of power remains to be seen, but The Wall Street Journal reports that "The fear now for Beijing and local governments across China is potential for similar disturbances as part of China's burgeoning 'not in my backyard' movement."