Chen Shu never expected to discover "such a big secret" when she went to the Changping district government building to complain about noisy road construction.
At the corner of a bulletin board hung three pages of public hearing notices on a planned waste incineration project, the $121-million Asuwei plant.
"I can't believe this is happening," said the middle-aged businesswoman who bought an apartment for her elderly parents and teenage son near the Xiaotangshan neighborhood in north Beijing in 2006.
"I felt I discovered something big. It's a huge project, but officials just posted a notice in this dusty corner," Chen told China Daily.
It was not long before an alliance of resistance formed among the region's 5,000 households.
They are now collecting support to argue that building a 20-sq km incineration plant just 1 km away from their homes is a health hazard.
"Laying aside whether it is safe to have a large waste plant near a populated area and how many toxic substances like dioxin the plant will unleash, we are especially unhappy because we feel the government tried to hide the truth and ignore our rights to know," said a leader of the campaign, who wished to remain anonymous.
But local government officials told China Daily they did not hide anything on purpose.
Wang Shuquan, a government press official of Baishan county, where the plant is slated to be built, agreed "no one would like to see a garbage dump near their home".