In rural China, a time bomb is ticking – Joshua Muldavin

In rural China, a time bomb is ticking – Editorials & Commentary – International Herald Tribune:

The recent police killing in China’s Guangdong Province of as many as 20 villagers who were protesting the government’s seizure of land for a power plant is symptomatic of an emerging pattern of rural unrest that challenges the very legitimacy of the Chinese state and the development path on which it has embarked.

China’s fabulous growth since the 1980s was achieved through environmental destruction and social and economic polarization which now threaten its continuation. This paradox puts the state in near panic as it tries to hold down the resulting widespread unrest in the countryside. While rural strife is not new – in 1994, I witnessed thousands of peasants in Henan Province fight a local government militia over unpopular taxation and state policies – its scope and frequency have increased greatly.

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