Amid the resurgence of new COVID-19 cases in Wuhan in May 2020, residents took to the streets against an electrical substation to be constructed near residential areas. A banner held by protesters in Hongshan District wrote “Who can save the lives of Nanhu people?” Image credit: Radio France Internationale 

May 10, 2020

Location: Hongshan District in Wuhan, Hebei

Participants: Over a hundred

Over a hundred people took to the streets to protest the site selection of an electrical transformer substation near residential areas in Wuhan. The incident coincided with reports of the first new cluster of coronavirus cases  on May 10, after Wuhan  lifted the strict lockdown on April 8. Footage shows that over a hundred people gathered at crossroads to chant slogans about safeguarding their homes and health. Several people were taken away by police officers. A video uploaded on April 24 shows a group of ten people holding placards protesting the site selection plan outside of the Hongshan District government office. Hongshan District government office.

The Wuhan National Resources and Planning Bureau announced  the site selection proposal on March 30, when the city was still in lockdown. With no other means to channel their grievances, residents voiced complaints to higher level officials on an online “Message Board for Leaders.” A message addressed to the Hubei Provincial Party Secretary wrote that the substation would pose a danger to residential areas and kindergartens should accidents such as fire or explosions occur. Residents also expressed fear about radiation and noise pollution. No official responses have been given on the message board.

The status of the site selection remains unclear because of limited media coverage in- and outside of China.