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China on the brink of mass unrest

Posted by msrb on January 6, 2009

China: A New Revolution May Be in the Making

Out with the old corrupt regime; in with the young new visionaries

Outlook (Liaowang) Magazine, produced by the official Xinhua news agency, warned this week that weakening economic outlook could result in large scale unrest by millions of disparate migrant workers and university graduates without jobs.

“‘Without doubt, now we’re entering a peak period for mass incidents,’ a senior Xinhua reporter, Huang Huo, told the magazine, using the official euphemism for riots and protests.” Reuters reported.


Migrant workers wait to board a train back home at the waiting room of a railway station in Taiyuan, Jiangxi province December 16, 2008. Rising unemployment and a widening income gap are the two issues of most concern to Chinese people, an annual report released on Monday by the Chinese Academy of Social Science said, China Daily reported. REUTERS/Stringer (CHINA). CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA. Image may be subject to copyright.

“In 2009, Chinese society may face even more conflicts and clashes that will test even more the governing abilities of all levels of the Party and government.” Huang Huo said.

“The candor about these problems reflects the severity of the unemployment problem. It’s meant to attract the attention of all levels of government,” said Mao Shoulong, a professor of public policy at Beijing’s Renmin University.

“The government wants to show that stability is at the top of its agenda.”

“The biggest threats to China’s social fabric will come from graduating university students, facing a shrinking job market and diminished incomes, and from a tide of migrant laborers who have lost their jobs as export-driven factories have shut.” The report said.

“Factory closures, sackings and difficulties paying social security had already unleashed a surge of protests, the report said. Officials in provinces that have provided tens of millions of low-paid workers for coastal factories have reported a leap in the number returning to their farm homes without work.”

The authorities estimated that there were about 10 million jobless rural migrant workers, the magazine said.

A total of 7 million university and college graduates, including the ones who are still jobless since graduating in 2008, would be hunting for jobs this year, Huang estimated.

Based on its 8 percent GDP growth target, the government could probably generate about 8 million new jobs for the whole country this year, he added. Bearing in mind that in 1989,  the core of the pro-democracy protests comprised of university students.

“If in 2009 there is a large number of unemployed rural migrant laborers who cannot find work for half a year or longer, milling around in cities with no income, the problem will be even more serious,” said Huang.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said: “We have the ability and the confidence to ensure the Chinese economy’s stable and relatively fast growth and to ensure social stability.”


The Morning After. Victims of Tiananmen Massacre-Beijing, June 4th, 1989.  More horrific images available at source.

The Outlook report said that the protests were “increasingly politicized, making it harder for officials to douse them by force or cash hand-outs.”

“Social conflicts have already formed a certain social, mass base so that as soon as there is an appropriate fuse it always swiftly explodes and clashes escalate quickly,” said Huang. Source

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