Waste incineration plant in Yuhang district, Hangzhou, China

Protests are met with violence and repression which led to allegedly three people dead. But Chinese civil society seems to become more and more aware about pollution and reclaim the streets.


On 11 May, 2014, thousands of people in the city of Hangzhou protested against plans by the local government to build a waste incinerator [1]; major concerns are related to health impacts. At least 10 residents and 29 police were injured during violent confrontations that resulted in overturned vehicles, as well as the burning of police cars [2].

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Basic Data
NameWaste incineration plant in Yuhang district, Hangzhou, China
ProvinceZhejiang province
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Waste Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Urban development conflicts
Specific CommoditiesE-waste
Industrial waste
Domestic municipal waste
Project Details and Actors
Project Details1.09 million tons of waste treated (annual capacity). The incinerator will occupy a total area of 13.97 hectares and process 3,000 tonnes of household garbage every day.
Level of Investment (in USD)1,650,000,000
Type of PopulationUrban
Start Date10/05/2014
End Date14/05/2014
Relevant government actorsYuhang district government, Hangzhou city
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingNeighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other Health impacts
OtherAir pollution related health problems
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in violence and crime, Violations of human rights
Potential: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseViolent targeting of activists
Project temporarily suspended
Development of AlternativesXu Wenguang, Communist Party chief of Yuhang district, said construction of the incinerator won’t begin without public support and before going through the legal process, Xinhua said in a separate report today [1]. Xu’s comments reiterate a pledge given by the local government on its website (ibid).
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.A government in eastern China will shelve plans to build a huge waste incinerator if it does not have popular support, in an apparent victory for protesters who had clashed with police saying they feared the plant would damage their health [3].
Sources and Materials

[1] Protest Against Waste Plant in Hangzhou Turns Violent
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[3] China says no waste plant without support after protests
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[4] 60 in Custody After Hangzhou Protests
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[2] 杭州5000人反焚化爐警民流血 (5000 in Hangzhou protest against development of incinerator; bloodshed amongst police and citizens)
[click to view]

[5] Liberty Voice -Environmentalists Clash With Chinese Police
[click to view]

[6] Revolution news - Brutal Crackdown on Hangzhou Waste Incinerator Protest Leaves 3 Dead, Sparks Riot
[click to view]

Media Links

Hangzhou incineration plant protest (Weibo images)
[click to view]

浙江杭州建垃圾焚化炉发生警民冲突伤几十人 (Footage of violent confrontation between police and protesters over incinerator project in Hangzhou, Zhejiang)
[click to view]

Other Documents

Police forces to quell the protests Source: http://revolution-news.com/brutal-crackdown-hangzhou-waste-incinerator-protest-leaves-3-dead-sparks-riot/
[click to view]

Other Commentshttp://www.ecns.cn/2014/09-13/134315.shtml

Waste incinerator project restarts following protest, clash. XinhuaWeb Editor: Wang Fan
Meta Information
ContributorEJOLT team at School of Geography and China Centre, University of Oxford
Last update25/05/2017