Huanqiu issued a commentary on the recent social unrest in Shifang City, Sichuan Province. The commentary said that, when defying a police order, high school students led a massive protest in tens of thousands against the opening of a molybdenum copper smelter. It further stated that students achieved the money driven goal of adults without serious casualties and that such student actions should not be encouraged, particularly regarding social unrest and political conflict.
Huanqiu pointed out that similar clashes between residents and the government on environmental issues are common in democratic countries. “It is certainly not a revolution.” Huanqiu criticized the interpretation of the government’s decision to shut-down the smelter as a victory for the common people. “Such a stretched interpretation is merely the wishful thinking of some people and not a reality in Shifang.” The Huanqiu commentary warned local and higher governments that they should not be fooled by such political fantasies and should not divert their focus from a proper aftermath of reflection and remedial action to vigilance for this “revolutionary” trend.
[Ed. According to the New York Times, security officers roughed up the crowd and "there were arrests, tear gas, stun grenades, riot police, guns, batons, blood." Some hyperlinks in the Times article showed bloodied victims and a woman in front of a riot squad, "evoking comparisons to Tank Man." A microblogger was quoted as saying, "America achieved independence and 236 years later, the Shifang people are fighting for their own rights and confronting the government.”]
Huanqiu, July 6, 2012
New York Times, July 4, 2012