Friday, April 15, 2005

More on Chinese Protests

Many demonstrators cleverly frame their demands and stage manage their protests so as to embarrass the objects of their protests (enterprise managers, local officials, etc.) and paralyze security officials from using extreme force. Favorite tactics include waving copies of the laws that local officials are violating, skipping levels and taking demands to higher administrative officials, and placing senior citizens, retired soldiers, women and children in the front ranks of protests.


But bad economic times alone cannot fully account for the sustained rise in unrest. This fact is amply demonstrated by comparing the rising levels of protest with recent rates of economic growth. Although protests did accelerate during the late 1990s recession, they began rising as early as 1993-1996 when Chinas GDP was growing at more than 10 percent a year. More importantly, protests have continued to increase at more than 20% a year during the 2000-2003 recovery when the economy grew at 9% annually. Thus, while unrest has clearly accelerated during economic downturns, its persistent increase regardless of the state of the economy clearly suggests that protests are being motivated by more than just transitory economic conditions. Consequently, the Chinese polices own data strongly suggests that Beijings leaders would be unwise to think that if they just hold on long enough, they can simply grow their way out of the current unrest.
From "Chinese Government Responses to Rising Social Unrest"

Wooh hoo hoo. Interesting times indeed.

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