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Author`s name Ольга Савка

National poverty does not affect political stability in China

Despite numerous streets protests and riots, China remains the world's fastest developing state

According to official information from the Chinese government, there were 74,000 incidents of massive street disorders registered in China. The riots were caused with either social or political reasons, although Chinese authorities prefer not to dwell upon the latter. It may seem at first sight that the number is more than just large, taking into consideration the fact that many of the demonstrations ended with clashes with police. As a rule, China does not distribute information about any victims in this case. However, one has to acknowledge that street protests in China do not endanger Chinese politicians.

It may seem strange that China, which can be described as the fastest developing state in the world, has to deal with such vigorous manifestations of people's protesting attitudes. Quite remarkably, the misery of millions of Chinese does not affect the political stability of the state.

One should analyze the culture of subordination to power, which counts thousands of years of history to try to understand the phenomenon. Furthermore, one should pay attention to the ability of the Communist Party of China to manipulate people. It is worth mentioning at this point that Chinese authorities have recently decided to grant Communist Party membership to businessmen. Chinese businessmen won an opportunity to incorporate their own people in the ruling party, thus strengthening the communist regime in the country on the whole.

China's geographic size is highly important too. There are provinces in China, which bear some resemblance to separate independent states: they have their own climate, economic principles, a special political regime and even peculiar ethnic structure. Even if thousands of paupers take to the streets and fight with policemen in a city with a million-strong population, the people residing in a neighboring city may not support the protesting action even in they live in worse conditions. The Chinese have been learning patience and obedience for centuries.

The Chinese leadership is perfectly aware of it. Chinese public organizations, for example, are not allowed to establish regional departments. The state controls public activities and the field of communications, especially the Internet. One has to give credit to the Chinese Communist Party administration, though: it sometimes listens to requirements of the malcontent.

People presumably protest against corruption, which literally permeates the Chinese society from small village communities to the top of the political hierarchy in Beijing. China fights against corruption using ruthless measures at times, sentencing most odious corruption-linked figures to death penalty. It would therefore be sinful for people to complain, but the traditionally high level of bribery can always be explained with temporal economic problems.

However, the art of ruling, which the Chinese administration masters perfectly, has its limits too. The number of protesters was seven times lower in China ten years ago in comparison with the current situation (the number of street protests made up approximately 10,000 a year). The level of social activity has been growing steadily, though. The ongoing liberalization of the Chinese economy is closely connected with privatization, which may bankrupt thousands of state-owned enterprises.

One may thus infer that there is a potential for a “social explosion” in China. It is social uneasiness that prevents China from becoming the ultimate superpower. Prospering coastal provinces come into sharp contrast with impoverished mainland regions. One may only wish the Chinese government good luck in solving the problem: a national revolution in China may become a disaster of global scale. 

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