China Seen Facing Wave of Unrest in 2009

Outlook, an official publication, has published an article which gives a bleak outlook for the government’s ability to control the rising level of unrest that is expected to hit China this year. From Reuters:

The unusually stark report in this week’s Outlook (Liaowang) Magazine, issued by the official Xinhua news agency, said faltering growth could spark anger among millions of migrant workers and university graduates left jobless.

“Without doubt, now we’re entering a peak period for mass incidents,” a senior Xinhua reporter, Huang Huo, told the magazine, using the official euphemism for riots and protests.

“In 2009, Chinese society may face even more conflicts and clashes that will test even more the governing abilities of all levels of the Party and government.”

[…] This report and other recent open warnings may be intended to help snap officials to attention, said one Chinese expert.

“The candor about these problems reflects the severity of the unemployment problem. It’s meant to attract the attention of all levels of government,” said Mao Shoulong, a professor of public policy at Renmin University in Beijing.

See also a comment on this report from the Time China blog, and a Reuters factbox about potential sources of unrest. A number of politically-sensitive anniversaries are also making authorities extra-cautious. See this Asia Times report.

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