The Nautilus Institute has published a report on social unrest in China, which discusses several recent incidents:
We can identify several common characteristics in these incidents: first, they were all caused by accidents, without personal petition, administrative litigation or other legal process. All of the events happened suddenly, and rapidly escalated into conflicts. Second, there was no definite organizer of the events. Most of the participants had no direct relationship to the original incident. The participants sought to defend the weak against the strong and express their dissatisfaction with what they perceived as unfair official actions. Their main reason for participating was to vent their frustration at local authorities. Third, during the occurrence and development of these incidents, information dissemination had new traits; the rapid flow of information through networks has played a very important role. Fourth, the beating, smashing, looting, burning and other criminal acts arounsed in these incidents, which not only caused property losses to the state, the collective, and the individual, but also had a negative social impact.
These mass incidents are generally thought to be caused by several factors. First, the widening gap between rich and poor.