The unrest spreading across the MENA region has caused some to question whether China’s government ought to be worried about its stability, given the well-known social pressures that exist and the authoritarian character of the government. We do not believe that China’s situation is comparable to those nations in upheaval. The populations of the Middle East and North Africa are predominantly overwhelmingly young, and their economic prospects are limited. Hopes for a rising standard of living are poor under their present regimes and policies.
In contrast, for the past thirty years Chinese economic policy has been wholly directed toward investment and a mass-industrial model designed to increase wealth and improve the standard of living for as many people as possible in the shortest possible time. The reasons for this are not wholly altruistic, of course; the Chinese ruling party have long been aware that to continue in power means improving the lot of the people–hundreds of millions of whom were living in poverty back as recently as 1978.