Friday, October 07, 2016

The Wukan Rebellion

The Chinese government has yet to suppress the unrest that erupted in Wukan in 2011:

Despite a government media blackout one of the biggest news stories in China is that public protests and political unrest in the southern coastal town of Wukan continue.

It isn't the only place, but unhappiness with government corruption has been persistent in Wukan. And things like that can snowball when the mountains are high and the emperor is far.

Do read it all--and other discussions about China in that post.

And you wonder why I continue to speculate about the territorial integrity of the Chinese state?

With a state both cruel and failing economically, governing a continent-sized population with a history of fragmentation, I don't know why we need to guess which course the government of China will follow. The continent of China is big enough that it could follow all the possible paths.

Remember, both the Northern Expedition and Taiping Rebellion started in the south

And yes, China's economy has lifted large numbers of people--mostly on the coast--out of poverty. This is real despite questions about the reliability of Chinese economic statistics.

But China is still pretty poor:

If you factor in population growth, you can make the claim that China has lifted 800 million people out of poverty if you define poverty as living on less than $1.90 or $3.10 a day. This doesn’t say anything about how well those lifted out of poverty are doing. A rural household living on $1.91 a day by this standard wouldn’t be counted as suffering from extreme poverty, even though by any objective measure a household earning that much on an annual basis would be cripplingly poor.

And the progress is weighted to coastal regions most involved in foreign trade.

China's ability to continue their rate of growth to keep people content to live under a corrupt party government is not likely to continue.

China is running out of peasants to put into factories and the world is running out of the ability to absorb the exports of new industrial workers in China. Nor is China the low-cost manufacturer it once was.

If unrest snowballs, where does it stop?