China’s plans to open a new petroleum factory in Maoming could be halted after protests broke out on sunday. The plant would produce paraxylene, a chemical used in the manufacturing of some plastics, and be run by the government oil company Sinopec as well as the local government. However, many residents in Maoming are demanding the plant be located farther outside the city, as they worry the plant could present some environmental hazards. To show their opposition, thousands of protestors took the street sunday and allegedly engaged in violent conflict with riot police. An online blog says that four teenage protestors were killed, although the government won’t confirm this. In response to the protest, the government says that it will not open the plant if a majority of residents do not want it. At this time, the government is educating the public on paraxylene production in the hope of gaining support for the plant. On a grander scale, this could show a shift in government policy toward a more democratic approach to economic development.
Further Reading: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/chinas-choice/2014/apr/01/china-environment-protests-px