China’s in big trouble – should U.S. worry? – SFGate
At the same time, the Chinese people are in open revolt over corruption, poor product quality, land seizures, environmental abuse and so much more – nearly 500 public demonstrations are staged every day.
Judging from what they’re saying on Weibo, China’s social-media site, Chinese seem most angry about rampant corruption. So last week, when the New York Times reported that Premier Wen Jiabao’s extended family – school teachers and pig farmers, primarily – was inexplicably worth $2.7 billion, government censors immediately blocked Web access to the Times. The government also has been trying to censor discussion of the story on Weibo.
The situation is growing so bad that Strategy and Reform, one of China’s own think tanks, warned publicly that “China is confronting a perilous jump, one it can neither hide from nor avoid, no matter what. There’s a potential crisis in China’s model of economic growth.”
Wu Jinglian, a prominent economist writing in Caijing, a business magazine, said: “China’s economic and social contradictions seem to be nearing a threshold.”
Xi knows all this. Senior people all around him are urging him to set out reforms, Chinese and Western media are reporting. In fact, Xi just sent a team of officials to Singapore. They’re looking at that city-state as a possible model. Singapore is a deeply authoritarian but prosperous state that does allow free elections for subordinate positions. Still, many social liberties like freedom of the press and assembly are limited.