In the past, Dalian was very beautiful. It had a reputation as one of the most comfortable cities to live in [in the region]. But in recent years, Dalian has become dirtier and dirtier. Traffic jams have become a serious problem. Citizens are angry. The PX plant was just the last drop. All the emotions bottled up for years burst out.
We want Dalian to return to the beautiful, clean city it once was. But the local government just continues to develop real estate to serve their own interest, ignoring the people’s wishes. In order to increase GDP, the government has allowed dangerous and toxic chemical plants to be built in Dalian.
People in Dalian are usually very calm. We never expected to have to resist out in the streets like this. I’ve never seen the people of Dalian so united. People from all classes joined this protest. Most of them were from the younger generation, born after 1980. They responded to the calls for protest circulating online. Other traditional media have blocked this story. [Many demonstrators posted video and photos of the protest on social media sites, but searches for “Dalian,” “PX” or “stroll” – group strolls are a Chinese alternative to protests – were quickly censored by the authorities
At first, I didn’t think protesting was a good idea, but we had no other way. We love our hometown, and yet we are ignored. Sunday’s protesters were civilised and peaceful. I think the protest was partly successful: the secretary of the Communist Party Committee told us the PX plant would be relocated. But protesters want to know when the plant will be moved, and the government has not given a timetable."
Protesters called the chemical plant "a ticking time bomb." Photo posted to social media site Weibo.