Advertisement

The Role of Social Protests in Environmental Governance in Hangzhou

  • Mattias Burell
  • Oscar Almén
Chapter
Part of the ARI - Springer Asia Series book series (ARI, volume 7)

Abstract

This chapter examines the consequences of social protests for environmental governance in China. Environmental protection is a policy area where the party state has allowed civil society to play an increasingly important role. Chinese citizens can take part in state-sanctioned forms of political participation, but one of the most important ways they can influence policy is by protesting. If we are to understand environmental governance in China, we must study the impact of such protests. Students of social movements in China have made great efforts to understand what explains protest success in that country. The authors contend that, in order to understand environmental governance, we must look at all the different outcomes of a social protest. In most cases a protest elicits at least some concessions from the authorities, even when the protesters themselves perceive it as a failure. This study examines urban environmental governance by looking at the varying outcomes of three different waves of environmental protest in Hangzhou. Protests may lead to the development of new institutional tools such as dialogue platforms, or involve external actors like courts or NGOs. Through these mechanisms, citizen protests form a new and important element in China’s fragmented governance system.

Keywords

Environmental protests Social movements Waste incineration Environmental governance Hangzhou NGOs 

References

  1. Almén, O. (2017). Participatory innovations under authoritarianism: Accountability and responsiveness in Hangzhou’s social assessment of government performance. Journal of Contemporary China, online version,  https://doi.org/10.1080/10670564.2018.1389003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Almén, O., & Burell, M. (forthcoming). Social accountability as social movement outcome: Protests in a Chinese city. Social Movement Studies.Google Scholar
  3. Bellamy, R., & Palumbo, A. (Eds.). (2010). From Government to Governance. Burlington: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  4. Cai, Y. (2005). China’s moderate middle class: The case of homeowners’ resistance. Asian Survey, 45(5), 777–799.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cai, Y. (2008a). Social conflicts and modes of action in China. The China Journal, 59(January), 89–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cai, Y. (2008b). Local governments and the suppression of popular resistance in China. The China Quarterly, 193(March), 24–42.Google Scholar
  7. Cai, Y. (2010). Collective resistance in China: Why popular protests succeed or fail. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Cai, Y. (2015). State and agents in China: Disciplining government officials. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Can, N. (2014). 美丽山水是忧伤 (Sad Beautiful Landscape), Book manuscript, on file with the authors.Google Scholar
  10. Chen, X. (2009). The power of ‘Troublemaking’: Protest tactics and their efficacy in China. Comparative Politics, 41(4), 451–471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chen, F,. & Kang, Y. (2016). Disorganized popular contention and local institutional building in China: A case study in Guangdong, Journal of Contemporary China (online publication).Google Scholar
  12. Dai, J., & Spires, A. (2017). Advocacy in an Authoritarian State: How Grassroots Environmental NGOs Influence Local Governments in China. The China Journal 79. Online version.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Deng, Y., & O’Brien, K. (2014). Societies of senior citizens and popular protest in rural Zhejiang. The China Journal, 71(January), 172–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Diamant, N., Lubman, S., & O’Brien, K. (Eds.). (2005). Engaging the Law in China: State, society, and possibilities for justice. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Edin, M. (2003). State capacity and local agent control in China: CCP cadre management from a township perspective. The China Quarterly, 173, 35–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fu, H., & Cullen, R. (2008). Weiquan (Rights Protection) lawyering in an authoritarian state: Building a culture of public-interest lawyering. The China Journal, 59(January), 111–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gao, J (2015) Pernicious manipulation of performance measures in China’s cadre evaluation system. The China Quarterly, Available on CJO 2015 doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0305741015000806 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Harding H (1987) China’s Second Revolution: Reform after Mao. Brookings, Washington.Google Scholar
  19. He, B, Thøgersen S (2010) Giving the People a Voice? Experiments with Consultative Authoritarian Institutions in China, Journal of Contemporary China 19 (66), pp. 693–717.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Heberer, T., & Trappel, R. (2013). Evaluation processes, local Cadres’ behaviour and local development processes. Journal of Contemporary China, 22(84), 1048–1066.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Johnson T (2010) Environmentalism and NIMBYism in China: Promoting a rules-based approach to public participation, Environmental Politics, 19(3), 430–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Koopmans, R. (2007). Protest in time and space: The evolution of wages of contention. In D. Snow, S. Soule, & H. Kriesi (Eds.), The Blackwell companion to social movements (pp. 19–46). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kostka, G., & Mol, A. (2013). Implementation and participation in China’s local environmental politics: Challenges and innovations. Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, 15(1), 3–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lee, C. K. & Zhang, Y. (2013). The power of instability: Unraveling the microfoundations of bargained authoritarianism in China. American Journal of Sociology 118(6), 1475–1508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lieberthal, K. & Oksenberg, M. (1988). Policy Making in China. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Lin, S. (2012). Fuhe minzhu:renmin minzhu zujin minsheng jianshe de hangzhou shijian [Composite democracy:the practice of promoting people’s livelihood by people’s democracy in Hangzhou]. Beijing: Central Compilation and Translation Press.Google Scholar
  27. Mertha, A. (2008). China’s Water Warriors. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Mertha, A. (2009). “Fragmented authoritarianism 2.0”: Political pluralization in the Chinese policy process. The China Quarterly, 200, 995–1012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. O’Brien, K., & Li, L. (2005). Popular contention and its impact in rural China. Comparative Political Studies, 38, 235–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. O’Brien, K., & Li, L. (2006). Rightful resistance in Rural China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Peruzzotti, E., & Smulowitz, C. (Eds.). (2006). Enforcing the Rule of Law: Social accountability in the new Latin American democracies. Pittsburg: University of Pittsburg Press.Google Scholar
  32. Pierre, J., & Peters, G. (2000). Governance, politics and the state. Basingstoke: Macmillan Press.Google Scholar
  33. Ran, R. (2013). Perverse incentive structure and policy implementation gap in China’s local environmental politics. Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, 15(1), 17–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ru, J., & Ortolano, L. (2009). Development of citizen-organized environmental NGOs in China. Voluntas, 20(2), 141–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Shie, S., & Brown-Inz, A. (2013). A special report mapping China’s public interest NGOs. In: Chinese NGO directory: A Civil Society in the Making, China Development Brief Publication. http://chinadevelopmentbrief.cn/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Special-Report-Mapping-NGOs.pdf
  36. Teets, J. (2013). Let many civil societies bloom: The rise of consultative authoritarianism in China. The China Quarterly, 213(March), 19–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tomba, L. (2004). Creating an Urban Middle Class: Social Engineering in Beijing. The China Journal, 51(January), 1–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Tomba, L. (2005). Residential space and collective interest formation in Beijing’s housing disputes. The China Quarterly, 184(December), 934–951.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tong, Y., & Lei, S. (2010). Large-scale mass incidents and government responses in China. International Journal of China Studies, 1(2), 487–508.Google Scholar
  40. Tong, Y., & Lei, S. (2013). War of position and microblogging in China. Journal of Contemporary China, 22(80), 292–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Tsang, S. (2009). Consultative leninism: China’s new political framework. Journal of Contemporary China, 18(62), 865–880.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Whiting, S. (2001). Power and wealth in rural China: The political economy of institutional change. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Wu, F. (2013). Environmental activism in provincial China. Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, 15(1), 89–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wu, F., & Chan, K. (2012). graduated control and beyond: The evolving government-NGO relations. China Perspectives, 3, 9–17.Google Scholar

Field Interviews

  1. HZ-001, Interview in Hangzhou (June 2013) with environmental NGO*Google Scholar
  2. HZ-002, Interview in Hangzhou (June 2013) with environmental NGO**Google Scholar
  3. HZ-003, Interview in Hangzhou (June 2013) with newspaper journalist**Google Scholar
  4. HZ-004, Telephone interview (Oct 2013) with Lawyer He Rongming*Google Scholar
  5. HZ-005, Interview in Beijing (Oct 2013) with environmental NGO*Google Scholar
  6. HZ-006, Interview in Hangzhou (Nov 2013) with Gongshu district EPB*Google Scholar
  7. HZ-007, Interview in Hangzhou (Nov 2013) with Hangzhou city evaluation office*Google Scholar
  8. HZ-008, Interview in Hangzhou (Nov 2013) with environmental NGO**Google Scholar
  9. HZ-009, Interview in Hangzhou (Nov 2013) with environmental NGO**Google Scholar
  10. HZ-010, Interview in Hangzhou (Nov 2013) with social science researcher**Google Scholar
  11. HZ-011, Interview in Sweden (Dec 2013) with Hangzhou-based environmental NGO**Google Scholar
  12. HZ-012, Interview in Hangzhou (March 2014) with Hangzhou and Gongshu EPB officials**Google Scholar
  13. HZ-013, Interview in Hangzhou (March 2014) with Gongshu, Dabeiqiao neighbourhood committee**Google Scholar
  14. HZ-014, Interview in Hangzhou (March 2014) with Gongshu, Dabeiqiao homeowner association**Google Scholar
  15. HZ-015, Interview in Hangzhou (March 2014) with Gongshu, Dabeiqiao Miles Industrial Corp.**Google Scholar
  16. HZ-016, Interview in Hangzhou (Nov 2014) with university academic at ZU*Google Scholar
  17. HZ-017, Interview in Hangzhou (Nov 2014) with environmental NGO*Google Scholar
  18. HZ-018, Interview in Beijing (Nov 2014) with environmental NGO**Google Scholar
  19. HZ-019, Interview in Hangzhou (March 2015) with environmental NGO**Google Scholar
  20. HZ-020, Interview in Hangzhou (April 2009) with a Zhejiang provincial people’s congress official*Google Scholar
  21. HZ-021, Interview in Hangzhou (June 2009; Nov 2013) with the head of Hangzhou city evaluation office*Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mattias Burell
    • 1
  • Oscar Almén
    • 2
  1. 1.Hankuk University of Foreign StudiesSeoul, SouthKorea (Republic of)
  2. 2.Uppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

Personalised recommendations