The lead story in today’s Washington Post, "For Chinese, Peasant Revolt Is Rare Victory," tells the story of rural peasants holding off a massive police raid to shut down their protest. And what were they protesting?
Pollution. (The New York Times reported on this a few months ago as well.) Seems the peasant farmers were tired of being the dumping ground for soaring air pollution, which is reached the point of severe and obvious crop damage, anong other effects.
Recalling that the Chernobyl nuclear accident was among the many factors contributing to the demise of the Soviet Union, perhaps a backlash to China’s environmental degradation will contribute willy-nilly to political reform.