Thanks to growing grass-roots protests by Chinese citizens over big industrial projects, the NYT reports that the government there now says all such plans must pass a "social risk assessment" prior to final approval.
Interesting choice of terms, yes? The environmental impact is what the people worry about, but it's the "social risk" that gets the government interested. Apparently this has been done in some local governments for a while now (the experiment, per the Chinese way) and now it's being adopted on national scale.
China already has environmental impact studies, and now the government says (as of 1 Sept) that they must be posted on the internet (also interesting).
Environmental minister says, "By doing so, I hope we can reduce the number of mass incidents in the future."
The tipping point?
Enviro protests used to attract only the old and retired. Then the young started showing up in numbers, and that's when the Party got scared.
China is, as I argue, on the verge of a huge and prolonged progressive era. All sorts of things to clean up. Each time such steps are taken, just a bit more power to the people - always defensively offered by the government.