Thursday, January 24, 2008


It wasn't the first time they've protested and it won't be the last. I'm talking about hundreds of Chinese citizens who are not thrilled with a power plant being built for the Olympics which happens to be in their neighborhood.

Like many Americans these Chinese worry about the affects of high voltage power lines near their homes. Protesters mentioned leukemia. Back in 2005 a study produced by the Childhood Research Group at Oxford University estimated that youngsters living within 200 meters (yards) of such lines were about 70 percent more likely to develop leukemia compared to those who lived beyond 600 meters.

At a similar protest more than a year ago Sun Jintang, one of the protesters said, "We are protesting against the power plant because it is too close to our residential area.

"We are afraid that the power plant will be harmful to the health of the residents."

The closest residential building to the plant is only 10 meters away, he said.

More than 3,000 residents, many of them retirees from the prestigious China Academy of Sciences, have signed a petition to protest the construction plan.

The power substation is one of four being built for the Olympic Games. But the other three stations are all being built on the "Olympic Green," a large park that will house several sports venues and the Olympic Village.

The following is from AFP.

Protesters block road in Beijing: report

Chinese police detained more than 20 people after "scores" of protesters blocked a major Beijing road in a rally against a power station being built for the Olympic Games, state press said Thursday.

The protest took place late Wednesday on the city's fourth ring road, near the site of the August 2008 Games, the Beijing News said.

Law enforcement officials were immediately dispatched to the scene, with 24 police vehicles surrounding the protesters and police detaining more than 20 demonstrators, who were placed under investigation, the paper said.

Traffic along the road was blocked for only about 10 minutes, it added.

Residents who live next to the Olympic Village have for years opposed the construction of a high-voltage power plant next to their housing complex, the paper said.

Their most recent rally was on December 30, 2007, it said.

In recent protests, the demonstrators have said they are worried that the high-voltage power lines leading in and out of the power station could lead to diseases such as leukaemia for over 900 residents living nearby.

The powerlines and towers also clutter up the view and open spaces around their apartment blocks, they said.

Beijing is investing about 40 billion dollars to upgrade its infrastructure for the Games.

Public unrest over such issues is increasingly common throughout China but relatively rare in Beijing, the capital and seat of government authority.

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