Not exactly what you would call conformist Asian mentality is it? I do think that compared to other oriental countries, the mainland Chinese are far less trusting of government/authority and more able to think for themselves. See article below (taken from nytimes). I say well done to the people of Qidong for standing up against governmental/corporate abuse, and realizing that non-violent protests often don't quite work.
BEIJING — Angry demonstrators entered a government office in the port city of Qidong, near Shanghai, on Saturday, and smashed computers and destroyed furniture to protest a waste discharge plant that they said would pollute the water supply.
In reaction, the local government Web site said on Saturday that plans for the discharge plant, which was to be part of a paper manufacturing plant, had been abandoned.
China’s authorities face a mounting pattern of protests against pollution, and in particular, against industrial plants that local residents can single out during the planning stage or in the early days of construction.
Earlier this month, protesters in the southern town of Shifang in Sichuan Province forced the local government to abandon plans to build a copper refinery after complaints that the waste would contaminate the water supply and pollute the air. In Shifang, the police used tear gas against protesters.
In the northeastern city of Dalian, the authorities were forced to call off the construction of a petrochemical plant last year after demonstrators said the water would poison the city’s population.
In Qidong on Saturday, Reuters reported that about 1,000 protesters marched through the city and that two police officers were badly beaten by demonstrators.
The city sits on the mouth of the Yangtze River, and the local authorities have attracted pharmaceutical companies, chemical fertilizer plants and computer parts factories with tax breaks and other enticements.
The city is part of the vast Yangtze Delta region that has been an engine of China’s manufacturing power in the past decade.
Last year, Qidong was connected to Shanghai by a nearly 40-mile-long bridge, making the local economic enterprise zone, established by the local government to attract business, even more appealing to investors.
One of the most profitable industries in Qidong is the exporting of fish, including processed lobster and shrimp to the United States. The city boasts freezers certified by the European Union for the export of fish to Europe.
Some of the protesters argued that the wastewater plant would discharge effluent into the sea and harm the fishing industry. But most seemed to be concerned about drinking water.
At an upscale computer store, an employee reached by telephone said most people were worried about how the discharge from the paper plant would affect the water supply.
“The protesters are angry because the pipeline project will affect our water supplies,” she said. “I’m against the project, too.”
The owner of a drugstore reached by telephone said: “Everybody from the old to the young are against this project. Qidong people are hard-working people. Why should they have the project here?”
The owner, an elderly woman, said local residents were not consulted about the paper plant or its discharge facilities. “All we know is that somebody from the higher levels decided it’s to be in Qidong,” she said.
Several people reached by phone said the local government sent text messages to residents and storekeepers on Friday night and Saturday asking them not to participate in the demonstration.