Rare Beijing protest takes aim at high speed rail project

BEIJING Sun Dec 9, 2012 3:00pm IST

Related Topics

BEIJING (Reuters) - Authorities in Beijing allowed a rare protest to take place on Sunday against a new high speed rail line, with about 300 demonstrators shouting slogans disrupting traffic in a busy eastern suburb.

Residents told Reuters they were concerned the new line from Beijing to the northeastern city of Shenyang would run too close to their apartments and local schools, causing excess noise and electromagnetic radiation.

They also complained the government had refused to listen to their concerns and accused them of faking an environmental impact assessment.

"I only knew this line was planned two weeks ago when I got a letter from the government thanking me for my support," said a protester who gave her family name as Zhang. "But neither me nor any of the other residents support this. They are inventing things."

Reuters was unable to reach government officials to seek comment.

Police allowed the largely middle-class protesters to march down a main road, where they briefly blocked an intersection shouting "down with the high speed line" and "change the route".

They peacefully dispersed later in the afternoon.

The stability-obsessed ruling Communist Party is wary of any protests, especially in the sensitive capital of Beijing, and often detain demonstrators or break up protests before they reach critical mass.

The party worries that the tens of thousands of sporadic protests over land grabs, corruption, environmental problems and economic grievances that break out every year could coalesce into a national movement and threaten its control.

In 2008, hundreds of people in China's financial hub Shanghai marched against the extension of the city's magnetic levitation train, or "maglev", worried it would emit radiation and sicken them. Police detained dozens.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Canada Shooting

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Modi's Reforms

Modi's Reforms

Modi takes first bite at coal to end India's power mess  Full Article 

Kosovo Recognition

Kosovo Recognition

Kosovo granted provisional Olympic recognition by IOC  Full Article 

West Indies Trouble

West Indies Trouble

ICC 'concerned' by India-West Indies dispute  Full Article 

New Google Mail

New Google Mail

Google launches new email service dubbed "Inbox"  Full Article 

Fighting IS

Fighting IS

Iraqi Kurds approve sending fighters to aid Syrian town  Full Article 

Afghan President Trip

Afghan President Trip

Afghan president's first trip abroad will be to China  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage