Advertisement

Unrest Roils China's Burgeoning Middle Class

By The Economist, The Economist - October 30, 2012

IT MUST be worrying to China’s leadership that some of the largest outbreaks of urban unrest in recent years have occurred in some of the country’s most prosperous cities. The most recent example, in the port city of Ningbo, involved thousands of people facing off with riot police in a protest over plans to expand a chemical factory in the city. After three days of sometimes-violent demonstrations, the city government announced on October 28th that it was halting the project (as the Associated Press reports). For now at least, the protests appear to be subsiding.

They were triggered by the same middle-class fears that inspired large-scale demonstrations in the port cities of Xiamen in 2007 and Dalian last year. All related to projects involving the manufacture of paraxylene, a toxic chemical, which protesters believed would pollute the environment. Ningbo’s, however, were unusual for their violence and their proximity to a political event of huge importance to the Communist Party. On November 8th the party will convene its 18th congress in Beijing. So determined is it to prevent disruption of this event, and of a meeting right after it which will endorse sweeping changes to the country’s leadership, that taxis in Beijing are even said to have been ordered to disable the mechanisms that allow passengers to open rear windows. A Chinese newspaper, the Global Times, says this is because officials do not want people throwing dissident leaflets out of them. (Many drivers have not complied.)

Read Full Article »

Latest On Twitter

Follow Real Clear Politics

Real Clear Politics Video

More RCP Video Highlights »