Thursday, December 07, 2006

Environmental Protesters Killed

All of those who consider themselves to be "environmental activists" should read this post and contemplate what it really means to protest.

This article paints a rather bleak picture I am afraid.

China Secretly Executes Man after Protest - Lawyer

BEIJING - A court in southwestern China has secretly executed a man who took part in an environmental protest which turned into a riot, a lawyer and a family member said on Wednesday.

Three others were jailed, one of them for life, they said.

The four had been among thousands of people who took to the streets in Sichuan province in 2004 in anger over a hydropower project that would flood 100,000 people out of their homes.

Chen Tao, who was accused of "deliberately killing" a riot policeman during the protest, was executed, Cai Dengming, whose son was Chen's co-defendant, told Reuters.

Two other protesters were sentenced to 12 and 15 years in jail, the lawyer said, citing the verdict.

The Sichuan People's High Court was not immediately available for comment.

China is grappling with an acknowledged rise in social unrest, sparked by anger at a growing rich-poor divide, official corruption, pollution and land grabs without proper compensation in the countryside.

The country in 2004 had 74,000 "mass incidents" -- protests and riots in Communist jargon -- compared with 58,000 in 2003, Public Security Minister Zhou Yongkang said last year.

In one of the most serious incidents in recent years, police and troops fired on protesters in Dongzhou in southern Guangdong province in a violent standoff over construction of a coal-fired power station. The government says three people died...

This brings us back to the issue that for all Gordon Brown's good intentions the UK, acting unilaterally, can only do so much. In relation to the Carbon emissions from the US and China (including future projections) any efforts here are a mere drop in the increasingly acidic ocean.

The FT yesterday did a full page on this issue. See Lose-lose: the penalties of acting alone stall collective effort on climate change
A popular radio comedy series in 1940s Britain featured a sketch in which two excessively polite gentlemen would find themselves unable to pass through a doorway, paralysed by their own good manners. "After you, Claude," one would say. "No, after you, Cecil," came the reply. It could go on for quite a long time.

That is exactly what negotiating international action on climate change feels like, according to David Miliband, the UK's environment minister. "It's an 'After you, Claude' situation," he says of the discussions on the international Kyoto protocol. No country wants to be first in taking action to cut their greenhouse emissions for fear that other governments will fail to follow. So they find ways to stall, while their greenhouse gas output climbs steadily skywards.

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