Gaoling waste incinerator in Xi’an, Shaanxi, China

Thousands of Gaoling citizens took to the streets for a week in October 2016 to protest against a waste incinerator. Despite promises by local authorities, residents continued the protest risking police repression and arrests.


Xi’an is the hearth of China, geographically but also historically. It is one  ancient capital of China, starting point of the Silk Road and home to the dynasties of Western Zhou, Qin, Western Han, Sui, and Tang. Here is located the world famous archaeological site of the Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Terracotta Army. Today it is a city of 10 million people, and one among the 13 emerging megacities in China.

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Basic Data
NameGaoling waste incinerator in Xi’an, Shaanxi, China
SiteGaoling, Xi'an
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Waste Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Incinerators
Specific CommoditiesDomestic municipal waste
Project Details and Actors
Project Details1500 tons/day.

Private Public Partnership
Project Area (in hectares)1
Level of Investment (in USD)110,000,000
Type of PopulationUrban
Potential Affected Population350,000
Start Date11/10/2016
Company Names or State EnterprisesChina Environmental Protection Group Co., Ltd (cecic) from China - Construction company
Relevant government actorsGaoling district government

Municipality of Xi'an
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersGaoling residents
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingNeighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of MobilizationStreet protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Global warming, Noise pollution, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Militarization and increased police presence
Potential: Violations of human rights
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseRepression
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Citizens protested for a week, until they were repressed. The project was temporarily suspended, but is expected to be built.
Sources and Materials

"Waste incineration must be cautious". CIVIL RIGHTS AND LIVELIHOOD WATCH
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Protests against Gaoling (Xi'an) waste incineration project have been repressed by the police
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"Gaoling District Fan Junli led to Jiangsu Changzhou waste incineration power generation project inspection" Gaoling District Government
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"What is the whereabouts of municipal solid waste incineration? Listen to how experts say"
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Gaoling Life Waste Disposal of PPP Project Consultation Agency Procurement Project Competitive Consultation Announcement
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China: Xian under security alert after thousands protest incinerator plant. Radio Free Asia. 17 October 2016
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Xi’an man arrested for spreading rumors about waste plant protest. By Yang Sheng Source. Global Times Published, 2016/10/19.
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Thousands of Xi'an's residents protested for six consecutive days against waste incineration plant
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"Xi'an Gaoling million people protest waste incineration plant construction of thousands of military police into more than protest against the public arrested". RFA
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"Environment (outdoor) air quality and health" World Health Organization
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"Notice on Bidding for Harmless Treatment Project of Gaoling Domestic Waste". China Mining Network
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Media Links

VIDEO: Xi'an residents protested against the project for a waste incineration plant. Repression by police.

China's environmental pollution. China's human rights situation
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Other Documents

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Meta Information
ContributorFederico Demaria
Last update05/06/2017