Located at the Jianghan Plain in the middle of Hubei province, Xiantao is known as "Hometown of Gymnastics" in Hubei Province, China. It created a miracle of "a small town, two champions, three gold medals, and four medals." at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Like many other cities in China, Xiantao is also facing the waste management crisis. The only landfill site of Xiantao will be saturated within limited years. Therefore, the city government decided to build a waste incineration power plant in 2012. The project started construction in 2014 and has been building for 2 years until 2016.  Waste incineration project have been boycotted in many other cities, while on June 25, 2016, Xiantao citizens also paraded in the streets to boycott this project.
In June 2016, a post entitled “I don’t want to live in a carcinogenic area” spread quickly in Weibo (Chinese Twitter), at the same time, the message that the waste incineration plant was about to pass experts' assessments triggered complaints from residents, who had not received any information previously.  It was half a year left until the project started to commence its trial operation.  People started to parade through the streets from 9:00 am on 25 June holding banners and shouting slogans like “return our clean water and blue sky” and “opposing waste incineration plant”, chanted “Return our beautiful homeland”, “Defending Xiantao”. People went out to demonstrate for fearing that “the incineration plant would be too close to the downtown area and the pollution would be too strong.”
Nearly 20,000 people took part in the demonstrations on June 25. There was a relatively little confrontation with the teams of police following their movements, but some arrests were made. The situation escalated the next day. Two thousand riot police in full gear were deployed to Zhengrenkou from Wuhan, the provincial capital of Hubei, and the tens of thousands of demonstrators blocked a highway entrance. The mayor of Xiantao appeared at the highway at around 10h in the morning of 26 June, and claimed through a loudspeaker that construction of the waste incinerator was suspended. With the conclusion of the mayor’s statement, the riot police moved to clear the road, the crowd threw plastic bottles and eggs at the police, and the scene was very chaotic. 
More than 10 protesters were detained at night on 26 June, people asked for release at the gate of the police station. However, the local government cut off the power and blocked social media platforms. A few video clips shot at the scene were uploaded to the internet before electricity was cut off from the locality. The clips were blocked by the authorities, but preserved on non-Chinese websites. Protesters who managed the WeChat groups were also threatened to disband the groups and stop the protest. 
At noon of 26 June, the municipal government of Xiantao City announced on its website that it decided to stop the "MSW-to-Energy Project", urging residents “to be peaceful and rational, and not to believe rumors, not to organize, join in, or be bystanders at illegal gatherings.” The decision to suspend the incinerator announced by Mayor Zhou Wenxia was uploaded in a video clip at 2 am on Monday, 27 June.  According to Caijing, the crowd was gradually dispersed after the police released some protesters in the morning of 27 June.
The demonstrators still doubted the sincerity of the mayor’s statements, as the government has deliberately concealed the construction of building such a waste incineration plant. It has been more than 2 years since the project’s site selection and the bidding has been completed. Nevertheless, most people didn’t know any details except the official online public announcements. In the process of construction, there was no sign to illustrate its purpose, before the draft project plan was delivered, the government did not hold any public hearings to collect opinions from the local residents according to legal procedures. Meanwhile, the project is less than 3km from the city centre and less than 1km from the nearest residential area, it is also nearby the largest river – Tongshun River – in Xiantao, which is the main water source for local residents’ daily use. People are worried that it will be polluted as a result of the incineration plant and ineffective supervision of the authorities. "Although the government announced it will suspend the project, they did not stop the construction of the plant. If the factory fails to be demolished, they will continue the project," "The plant is just so close to the residential area and schools. There are two elementary schools within 1,000 meters," (residents, cited in ). Local residents reached by the Global Times called for a complete stop to the project instead of a suspension, while according to cnxiantao.com, a website affiliated with the city's publicity department, Wang Zhonglin, vice secretary of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China in Xiantao, said at a news conference on Saturday night that the incinerator will be equipped with advanced technology, while its emissions of dioxin - a compound that is toxic to humans - will conform to the strictest standards set by the European Union. 
The Xiantao Environmental Protection Bureau also responded that the EIA of the project was noticed to the public in May 2012 and they had received the approval reply from the Environmental Protection Department of Hubei Province in April 2013 about the Xiantao MSW to Energy Plant. In August 2013, the project was also approved by the Hubei Provincial Development and Reform Commission.  By the end of June 2016 when the protest happened, 80% of the construction work had been completed.
On Tuesday, 28 June 2016, residents of the Xiantao city accused the local government of not collecting garbage in a move to put "pressure" on their massive protest against a waste incineration plant project. "Garbage is piling up on the roads. The local government is pressuring us," some residents reported . When they woke up on Tuesday morning, they found themselves surrounded by garbage, which was supposed to be collected by the local government on Monday night. However, a local government official claimed that authorities have started collecting the garbage, and "Sanitation workers stopped their work because they were afraid of being beaten up by the protesters,"  adding that protesters had stopped garbage trucks that they thought were sending garbage to the incineration plant, but residents had stopped protesting by Monday morning. 
In December 2016, at a meeting of the 9th People's Congress of Xiantao City, a total of 137 representatives of the Municipal People's Congress of 20 delegations jointly proposed the “Proposal on Accelerating the Construction of MSW-to-Energy Project”. The Municipal People's Congress and its Standing Committee attached great importance to it, solicited opinions on the "Proposal" extensively, organized out-out inspections, and instructed the Municipal People's Congress of Urban and Rural Construction and Environmental Resources Protection Committee to further investigate and study and put forward opinions. In April 2017, it was agreed in the subsequent meeting that "it's time to restart the Xiantao MSW-to-Energy Project" . The Municipal Government shall ensure the smooth restart of the project, and complete the operation as soon as possible. 
According to the latest disclosure of the environmental assessment report for the completion and acceptance of the Xiantao MSW-to-Energy Project (Phase I) posted on the Xiantao Ecology and Environment Bureau, the construction of the project has been completed in March 2018 and it was put in trial operation in late 2018.