The people of China are pissed. On the long list of injustices they endure, from internet censorship to having their homelands flooded by reservoirs, nothing is inspiring more uprisings than the abuse of their environment.
Retired Communist Party official Chen Jiping said that there were as many as 50,000 riots and protests in the country last year, and that pollution has replaced land disputes as the main cause of unrest. From Bloomberg:
“The major reason for mass incidents is the environment, and everyone cares about it now,” Chen told reporters at a meeting of the Chinese People’s Political and Consultative Conference, where he’s a member. “If you want to build a plant, and if the plant may cause cancer, how can people remain calm?”