The health factor in anti-waste incinerator campaigns in Beijing and Guangzhou

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

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  • Thomas Johnson

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-375
Journal / PublicationChina Quarterly
Issue number214
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


This article draws on interview and documentary data from three anti-incinerator campaigns in Beijing and Guangzhou to examine how urban middle-class homeowners respond to potential local health hazards. It illustrates how and why campaigners shifted from a heavily localized not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) approach that opposed incinerators based on their siting towards a much broader critique of incineration that exploited weaknesses in waste management policy. Although public health concerns remained central during the course of the three campaigns, how they were presented changed as campaigners developed expertise through self-study. This enabled them to construct an alternative narrative about incineration and present their arguments from a public interest perspective, thus deflecting the pejorative NIMBY label. Copyright © The China Quarterly 2013 Â.

Research Area(s)

  • China, citizen advocacy, environment, health, middle class, waste incineration