SMH Report: Revolution brewing in China

John Garnaut reports the interesting comments of China’s ‘top expert on social unrest’, Professor Yu Jianrong. The comments are interesting, both in themselves and in having been made public. Professor Yu warned [December 2009] that hardline security policies are taking the country to the brink of ‘revolutionary turmoil’. Deepening social fractures were caused by the Communist Party’s obsession with preserving its monopoly of power through ‘state violence’ and ‘ideology’, rather than justice – Professor Yu said.

Garnaut comments that “it is unusual for someone with Professor Yu’s official standing to make such direct and detailed criticisms of core Communist Party policies”

Yu is Director of Social issues at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Institute of Rural Affairs and conducts surveys on social unrest on which he reports to the leaders.

Professor Yu noted that the recorded incidents of ‘mass unrest’ grew from 8709 in 1993 to more than 90,000 in each of the past 3 years. “For seeking ‘buzheteng’ we sacrifice reform and people’s rights endowed by law … Such stability will inevitably bring social disaster”, Professor Yu said. ‘Buzheteng’ means ‘stability’.

Interesting! Is this a ‘straw in the wind’? Or is it perhaps part of an internal Party struggle between Hu, President, and Vice Premier Li Keqiang, on the one hand, and former President, Jiang Zemin and current Vice President, Xi Jinping, on the other?

As to the forecast of ‘unrest’, I had come to assume China’s extraordinary economic growth, the existence of a wealthy middle class and the cultivation of intense nationalism, would enable the Communist Party to maintain repression of dissent indefinitely. But an annual rate of major incidents in the vicinity of 100,000, even in a country with China’s population, is very high. The toll of gross inequality, the decline in the social welfare system, the absence of recourse to an independent legal system and endemic corruption, may lead to some form of eruption sooner than I have expected. The extremely hard-line approach towards dissent taken during 2009 suggests the Chinese Communist Party leadership may have similar concerns.

At all events, it would seem more than coincidental that Professor Hu’s address was delivered on the 26th December 2009, the day after Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment.

Published in: on February 28, 2010 at 12:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

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