The quest for environmental justice in China: citizen participation and the rural–urban network against Panguanying’s waste incinerato
Thomas Johnson, Anna Lora‑Wainwright and Jixia Lu
Corresponding author: Thomas Johnson, email: Thomas.R.Johnson@Sheffield.ac.uk
Sustainability Science, Vol.13, No3, 2018
Abstract: Environmental distribution conflicts (EDCs) related to the construction and operation of waste incinerators have become commonplace in China. This article presents a detailed case study of citizen opposition to an incinerator in the village of Panguanying, Hebei Province. Drawing on in-depth fieldwork, we show how this case was notable, because it transcended the local arena to raise bigger questions about environmental justice, particularly in relation to public participation in siting decisions, after villagers exposed fraudulent public consultation in the environmental impact assessment. An informal network between villagers and urban environmental activists formed, enabling the Panguanying case to exert influence far beyond the village locality. This network was critical in creating wider public debate about uneven power and substandard public participation in siting disputes, a central feature in many Chinese EDCs. By transcending local specificities and exposing broader, systemic inadequacies, this case became instrumental in supporting “strong sustainability”.
Keywords:Environmental justice; Sustainability; Environmental networks; China; Waste incineration; Protest
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-018-0545-6