China's Leaders Increasingly Challenged by Social Unrest

Discussion in 'China' started by Galaxy, Dec 17, 2011.

  1. Galaxy

    Galaxy Elite Member Elite Member

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    China's Leaders Increasingly Challenged by Social Unrest

    December 16, 2011

    Over the past year, China’s leadership has faced growing eruptions of public discontent over issues ranging from environmental and transportation safety concerns, to labor disputes and local corruption.

    Consider the scene in the southeastern fishing village of Wukan, where hundreds of residents, young and old, raise their fists and voices calling for justice and chanting slogans such as the “Blood debt must be paid” and “Return our farm land.”

    For months, Wukan residents have been protesting, denouncing local officials they say are corrupt and demanding the return of farm land they say was illegally seized for development.

    The protests peaked in December when one of the town’s representatives, Xue Jinpo, died in police custody. Residents took control of Wukan, forcing Communist Party officials to flee and police to cordon off the village. Chinese authorities say Xue died of heart failure, but residents suspect foul play.

    Such land grab protests, as they are called, are increasingly common in China. But the situation in Wukan highlights just how far some are willing to go.

    Hu Xingdou, a professor at the Beijing Institute of Technology, says that if authorities do not take steps to address the public’s discontent, the unrest could get worse.

    "One aspect that makes this a matter of high priority for the central government is that China has entered into a very risky period, not just one of an average risk level," said Hu. "I'm afraid that if the central government doesn't put some measures in place in the next five years or so, the whole of China could go out of control."

    Simmering issues

    And it’s not just land disputes Chinese citizens are protesting.

    In October, protestors in the central city of Zhili, in Zhejiang province, flipped over cars, smashed public property and clashed with police during a dispute over taxes.

    Scenes of the standoff caught on video showed hundreds out in the streets, and later scores of baton and shield-wielding police chasing off protesters.

    Chinese economist Luo Xiaopeng says President Hu Jintao has done very little over the past 10 years to control local authorities, and that China now faces a crisis of governance. He believes this will top the agenda of Vice President Xi Jinping when he takes over for Mr. Hu next year.

    “All of these environmental issues, education issues, public servant issues, have been accumulating for more than a decade, so it’s not just now," said Luo. "But I think that everybody realizes the crisis is coming, and the new leadership has to deal with it.”

    Fears of an economic slowdown next year are also a big concern, says Bonnie Glaser, a China analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

    “The Chinese leadership is, I think, very insecure at home, very worried about the domestic situation, the slowdown of the economy, and signs of growing unrest and uneasiness and this could get worse as the economic situation deteriorates," Glaser said.

    A restless middle class

    China’s booming economic growth over the past decade has swollen the ranks of the middle class, and they, too, are growing restless.

    This is one of the Chinese government’s biggest concerns going forward, says Barry Naughton, an economist at University of California San Diego.

    “They are not out on the streets throwing rocks through windows, but there is, I think, a sense of restlessness that is significant because these are the well educated people, they are concentrated in cities, they have a lot of skills and a lot of capabilities,” said Naughton.

    In August, thousands of residents of the northeastern city of Dalian took to the streets. The protest, widely seen as a middle class uprising, called for the closure of a chemical plant. In the end, authorities gave in and agreed to shut down and relocate the plant.

    The online factor

    The Internet and social media helped to drive that protest, as it did with a nationwide uproar over a high-speed rail accident in July,

    In Dalian, pictures and videos of the protest were posted online and the Internet was used to help organize the rally. In the aftermath of the train wreck, which left 41 people dead, China’s Twitter-like Weibo microblog not only documented details of those involved in the tragedy, but became a posting board for complaints about the government's response and broader concerns about incompetence.

    Although China heavily censors the Internet, and critical or controversial postings are quickly removed, authorities remain anxious about what is said online, says Bonnie Glaser.

    "At least once a day, and I’ve heard from some people that [it’s] twice a day, the Chinese leadership gets a list of what the most popular topics are that are being discussed on the Internet and the Chinese blogosphere."

    In the wake of the train wreck, authorities have increased scrutiny of microblogs and stepped up efforts to control the spread of what they call "online rumors."

    But as the protests in Wukan, Zhili and Dalian have shown, authorities are finding it increasingly difficult to keep a lid on everything.

    Video link @ http://www.voanews.com/templates/widgetDisplay.html?id=135730358&player=article

    http://www.voanews.com/english/news...ly-Challenged-by-Social-Unrest-135727133.html
     
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  3. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    There are tens of thousands of protests every year in china and one day ccp wont be able to hold control and it will result in deaths of tens of thousands and overthrow of ccp.

    It will come down like a house on fire. While we in India have solid foundations and freedoms and many checks & balances to avoid disastrous situations.
     
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  4. no smoking

    no smoking Senior Member Senior Member

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    Well, I don't want to doubt your wisdom. But your imagination doesn't give any detail.
    What is the foundation that can help india holding the control while China can't. So far, CCP is showing that it is far better and accoutable than any india political party.
     
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  5. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    Actually, being a parliamentary democracy were people can directly vote their MPS and indirectly boot out the PM (general elections and free media) India has pressure release valves to defuse building frustrations of the polity. China does not have these mechanisms being a Communist Party (whatever that means) instead what it can and will do is to tighten up the screw even more on its people to impose control.
     
  6. Tianshan

    Tianshan Regular Member

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    more than that.

    but you are missing the bigger picture. almost all of these protests, including the one in wukan, are against the corrupt local officials (and they are right to be angry with corrupt officials). these are not directed at the national government.

    in fact, the villagers here are even appealing to the national government, asking them to punish the local officials.
     
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  7. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    This is true before the latest World economic near-meltdown. China then was overflowing with optimism and the only sector really left behind (perception-wise) was the rural population. If the severe World economic downturn remains unreversed for a long time China will be in for a rough ride. The critical urban sectors will immediately start feeling the pinch once the property sector collapses. Of course we cannot understimate the wisdom of the CCP and the value of the World's biggest reserves...
     
  8. Tianshan

    Tianshan Regular Member

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    well it's easy. if the ccp can handle it, then they get to keep their jobs. if not, then they will lose control and lose their position.

    i can't see the future, but i think the ccp should do quite well for the immediate future at least. in the medium-term i have no idea.
     
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  9. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    There's a limit to how much the CCP can cosmitically fix itself by changes in leadership (they're still the same kind of eggs in the end).
     
  10. Tianshan

    Tianshan Regular Member

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    i think you misunderstand.

    i'm not talking about a change in leadership, but a change in government. in chinese history, the failure of governance leads to revolution.

    ccp knows this. this is why they work so hard to improve the economy and the people's livelihoods.
     
  11. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    I can only speculate what China would look like in case of a widespread political upheaval..? But I'm 100% sure the PLA will not sit on the sides.
     
  12. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

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    From what I understand the PLA is more honorful than the CCP thugs and in most areas its the PLA who does the grievance redressal better than the CCP thugs.CCP are plain thugs...real estate,organ farming,other wise providng Convict labour and then going to MAcau to launder the illegally stashed money
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2011
  13. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    But the PLA is the brain behind the superpower push (and associated bullying). It will fight with everything it has to maintain the current status quo. It's enormous ego certainly would not allow it to be embarassed by any semblance of widespread political (or even ethnic) instability or weakness on the part of the CCP.
     
  14. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

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    The PAP came into being because PLA refused to do the shit job of butchering civvies.PAP is the only civilian force which has howitzers.the PLA has a bargaining relationship with the CCP and not completely under Civvie control.From what i hear and gathered the previous Chinese defence minister was the man with the most personal prestige
     
  15. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

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    @Asianobserve another observation of mine is the PLA has more people connected to the roots.Where as the current CCP is nothing but a party of princelings
     
  16. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    I'm referring to military (PLA) take over in case CCP is about to capsize due to widespread political tumult. As long the CCP is able to withstand these protests the PLA will not dip its finger in overt political affairs.
     
  17. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    The PLA is the Chinese military. Right now I think it's relatively insulated from domestic affairs. But as I said I'm certain that it will not sit idly by as China's political system is destabilised by political unrest.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2011
  18. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

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    The PLA as a monolithic entity or as Military district commanders individually?Regarding your point yes the PLA will take..over the CCP and the CCP bunch will hanging from the pole and then after that what??
     
  19. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

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    The PLA and Pakistani miliatary have more in common than any other military.The PLA is not under the CCP actually it is at par with the CCP with a bargaining position.The CCP tries to have control on the PLA through the Central Military Comission and political commissaars
     
  20. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    I'm talking aboiut the PLA as an institution, the whole thing. It's safe to assume that the PLA does not like instability as it will severly jeoperdise China's strategic ambitions. And it is also safe to assume that the PLA will always favor a CCP like political system for China, either ruled by the generals directly or their surrogates in case of CCP meltdown, which is currently highly unlikely.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2011
  21. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    I think Pakistan is on a class (or lack of it) by itself. The civilian government there si absolutely emasculated. All power (de jure and de facto) emanates from the Generals. At least in China this is not the case. There are sometimes gaps between the PLA and the Government like what we saw during Gates visit where the PLA Air Force flight tested its new J20 to the surprise of the Government but nothing as to threaten the underlying political/bureaucratic setup.
     

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