A talk show, Focus 580, interviewing Richard Baum, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for Chinese Studies at UCLA on China:
Topics touch on China’s two camps of people, rural and urban, emerging influence around the world, nationalism and anti-Japan sentiment, rural protests, breaking of the iron bowl and managing relations with Taiwan, etc.
Prospects of war with Taiwan has been lower than any point of time over the past decades, Baum observes. And the Mainland has become more careful in its rhetorics and threats against Taiwan. The Bush administration has also realized peace is so important in the region and has seriously asked Chen Shui-bian to “stop rocking the boat.”
But China has a host of other challenges: there were 87,000 large scale protests in rural areas last year against local governments and industries for exploiting peasants and “sweetheart deals” with real estate developers.
But with rising discontent, the Chinese government has become ever more reluctant to press for political reform, as the paradox seems to convince the officials that the more inequalities and discontent, the more overwhelming the risks will be. Thus, some say, China is “locked in a box.” [Click here to listen]