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Shanghai maglev opponents watch for word on project, as protest request rejected

Shanghai maglev opponents watch for word on project, as protest request rejected

Shanghai residents opposed to the construction of a magnetic levitation train near their homes said Friday they believe the government will cancel the project if it cannot prove it poses no health risks.
Shanghai police earlier this week rejected an application by would-be protesters to stage a demonstration this weekend against extending the costly, showcase high-speed train line, which now runs from the city's Pudong airport to a subway station in the eastern outskirts of the city. It was unclear if residents would defy that decision.
"The police have officially rejected our proposal for a peaceful protest on March 1. So I think we will just cancel it anyway," said one local resident, Chen Wei, who attended a gathering to discuss the topic Friday.
Plans call for the train line to be extended to an airport in the city's western suburbs.
Many of those living in areas where the extension is due to be built say they fear the project would be harmful to their health. They also object to possible disruptions from the construction and damage to property values.
China bans most public dissent. Although authorities reacted calmly to earlier, unusually bold gatherings by protesters, they warned against further overt displays of opposition to the plan.
Chen claimed the government had promised that it would "definitely suspend" the project if it cannot establish that it poses no health risks.
However, officials have not publicly announced any such stance, saying only that they are studying the feasibility of the plan and would take residents' opinions into consideration.