Shifang and the Power of Social Media

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Is Shifang's success a hint of more to come? Last week, protestors in Shifang, Sichuan Province successfully forced the closure of a copper alloy plant with the help of social media.

Though this was not the first time residents have stopped polluting industrial plans, Shifang's example may pave a way forward for countless others in China as social media flourishes in the country -- when local authorities and state-controlled media, social grievances can be aired online, grabbing national attention to scrutinize the actions of local officials.

What factors contributed to the Shifang's success? Can it be replicated elsewhere on issues other than environmental concerns? What did the protest - and the official crackdown highlight for the people of China and what does this mean for future demonstrations?

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