A massive surge of online protesting is having an impact on the way the citizens of China form protest rallies.
The Chinese government controls main stream media causing misinformation regarding the environment. Many bloggers in China now share information regarding the environmental issues facing the country. Recently we saw residents of Shifang, Sichuan, who were concerned about a proposed metal smelting plant hit the streets and spread the message online.
Many leaders are crediting the Internet as an effective means to bring about the massive changes needed to halt the pollution crisis in China.
By spreading the real information on current issues facing the environment in China… People are gaining awareness in order to voice their opinions more effectively.
When residents of Shifang, Sichuan, started worrying about the environmental impact of a planned molybdenum copper plant, they knew what to do. As thousands of protesters, including students, took to the streets on July 1, they were already fanning concerns and building opposition on the Internet. “Without doubt, Shifang will become the biggest cancer town in years,” said a post on Sina Weibo, one of China’s two Twitter-like micro-blogging sites. “Overdose of molybdenum may cause gout, arthritis, malformation and kidney problems,” warned another, reported the China Elections & Governance website.
After several days of protests drew national attention and concern, largely through the wildfire-like spread online of news, images, and video of the event, including local police using tear gas on demonstrators, officials agreed to halt the plant’s opening. “The information and pictures shared through Weibo aroused national attention,” says Ma Jun, the Beijing-based environmentalist and founder of the Institute for Public & Environmental Affairs. “Many people followed Shifang very closely, and the general view is that it was a positive decision to stop the construction.”…
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As the world becomes more Internet savvy, we share information that previously was withheld from us. The biggest online protest in history was the anti Internet filter (S.O.P.A.) which saw government officials take heed of the demands of the citizens for freedom of information.