This article describes a state-movement alliance of environmental ministry officials, scientists, the media, and environmental NGOs formed to mobilize against the controversial Nu River hydropower dam project in Yunnan, a Southwest province in China. The study presents the first case of a state-led environmental alliance in China. Elites in the State Environmental Protection Administration identified common ground with an anti-dam movement and served as key mediators. They allied with movement actors to create popular support for their own policy goal (the enforcement of an environmental impact assessment), which, in turn, increased the influence of movement actors on policy outcomes (in this case, halting the dam project). The preexisting personal ties among state elites and movement actors in this authoritarian context may have lowered perceptions of collaboration risks and thereby reduced uncertainty in the political mediation processes.

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