Beijing Sets out on Chaos Offensive

With unemployment rising and a number of sensitive political anniversaries approaching, the Chinese government is focusing on preventing social unrest in coming months. Willy Lam reports for Asia Times:

For reasons including sending a warning to potential and real “troublemakers”, Beijing has publicized at least part of its evaluation of the law-and-order situation, along with a mixture of both tough and conciliatory measures to keep the forces of chaos at bay.

For the past month or so, cadres in the two top-most organs in charge of internal security – the CCP Central Commission on Political and Legal Affairs (CCPLA) and its sister unit, the Central Office for the Comprehensive Administration of Law and Order (COCALO) – have held marathon sessions on how to nip socio-political instability in the bud.

The COCALO, which coordinates the activities of the police, state security agents and judicial departments, has admitted that Beijing faces unprecedented challenges in safeguarding stability, deemed the party’s “overriding task”.

Meanwhile, a Lhasa official has said more unrest in the city is possible as the March 10 anniversary of the failed Tibetan uprising approaches and memories are fresh of last year’s violence:

Cao Bianjiang, deputy mayor of the Himalayan city, said he was focused on fostering growth that would ensure stability, but exiled Tibetans were scared this would make them irrelevant.

“There are some people who do not want to see the peaceful development of Lhasa’s economy,” Cao said, after criticising the Dalai Lama and his supporters.

“So it cannot be entirely avoided that some people continue to cause disturbances,” he told a news conference in the Tibetan regional capital during a government-organised and tightly controlled visit by a small group of foreign reporters.

February 10, 2009 1:46 PM
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Categories: Politics, Society