Unstable forces cloud China's horizon

The state-sponsored and breakneck economic transformation of China from destitute agrarian into prosperous urban society has convinced many analysts that autocracy still has a future.

by Far Eastern Economic Review
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

But, according to this author, who in 2001 predicted the fall of the Communist party by the end of this decade, economic success carries with it threats to the regime's control.

China is more prosperous, but it's also less stable: even official statistics record significant growth in the number of protests (to 87,000 last year) and they are increasingly violent. Rapid periods of economic change unleash social forces that can lead to revolution.

Uninterrupted economic growth also encourages the idea that prosperity is just part of the natural order, particularly along the rich coastal regions. Moroever, no government has ever succeeded in eliminating recessions and depressions.

Countries often suffer post-Olympic economic slumps after building booms end and tourists go home, so for China the 2008 Games in Beijing could prove a key economic watershed.

Halfway to China's collapse,
Gordon G Chang,
Far Eastern Economic Review,
Vol 169 No 5, June 2006

Review by Steve Lodge

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