From Asia Times Online:
Using the annual session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) in March as its stage, the ruling Chinese Communist Party with much fanfare launched a package of rural policies with the expressed aim of building a “new socialist countryside”.
This marks a shift of “epoch-making significance” if one believes the rhetoric of Premier Wen Jiabao in his address to China’s parliament. In fact, making the rural crisis a “priority” has been a theme of official propaganda since Wen, President Hu Jintao, and the rest of the fourth-generation leaders took the helm in early 2003.
And why not? The top Chinese leadership is clearly alarmed by an upsurge in peasant protests unprecedented in China’s post-1949 history. Last year, 87,000 “mass incidents” ripped across the country. Remote towns such as Huaxi, Taishi and Shanwei broke into the news and became symbols of China’s “new rebellious countryside”. [Full Text]