Wednesday, 11 February 2009
Will China Fracture Under The Strain Of Recession?
China has been hit by taxi driver’s strikes, protests by laid–off workers and sporadic rioting in recent weeks, as its export-driven growth slows and companies shed staff amid the global economic storm.
In the past few years 130 million poor Chinese rural workers have moved to the industrial cities of China to find work in what was becoming the world’s fastest developing nation. In the past few months 26 million have been thrown out of work and the Chinese leadership is said to be concerned about social stability in the economic downturn.
Even before the economy decelerated, the number of protests and riots in China was considered to be high. A decade ago, the official number of so-called “mass incidents” was 10,000 a year. Last year, Beijing admitted to 60,000.
The collapse of exports from China has triggered a wave of social instability that is beginning to un-nerve the leaders of the People’s Republic of China so much so that a senior Chinese government official has warned in an article in a Communist Party magazine; “disputes arising from the crisis, such as those over unpaid wages or bankruptcies, must be properly dealt with to 'lessen the economic and social risks'.
'Take as the aim discovering (problems) early, grasping them firmly and dealing with them well, deal with contradictions among the people and mass incidents in accordance with the law, using official terminology for protests and riots. 'Limit as much as possible the potential for mass incidents, try as hard as possible to solve problems at the grassroots and nip them in the bud and try as hard as possible to solve problems when and where they happen in the first instant".
Policies to ease rural burdens and lift spending on welfare and pensions appear to have eased some discontent.
Yet smaller riots have often burst out among farmers and migrant workers.
Thousands of people mobbed government offices and beat police in Wudu, northwestern Gansu province, in November in a riot that local officials said stemmed from local anxieties over a government resettlement plan.
In the southern province of Guangdong, it is reported that three unemployed workers bombed a hotel to extort money from the management!
The Socialist Way has recently had two hits from Comrades and fellow workers in China, so if by any chance you are able to visit us again we would like to send you our best wishes and leave you with the following thoughts - “We have much in common including the chains that shackles us together”.
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