The Potential for Civil Unrest in China
Seminar on The Potential for Civil Unrest in China.Presentation by Professor Joseph Yu-shek CHENG, City University of Hong Kong
Abstract: This talk examines the sources of discontent in China, its recent history of civil unrest, and the potential for future domestic conflict. It looks at the risks to social and political stability, potential outcomes, and the government’s policy responses. It argues that civil unrest in post-Mao China can be primarily attributed to the traditional dualistic society divided between urban and rural sectors, the social inequality resulting from the transition from a planned economy to a market economy, the lack of adequate social security, and rampant political corruption.
Basically, two main types of potential civil unrest exist in China: one derives from the economic demands of peasants and workers; the other originates from dissident socio-political groups, such as Falun Gong, ethnic separatists, and pro-democracy activists. Other factors that may affect China’s social and political stability include its further integration into the global economy following its accession to the World Trade Organization, its booming non-state sector, and the influx of foreign investment.
Joseph Yu-shek CHENG is Chair Professor of Political Science and Coordinator of the Contemporary China Research Project, City University of Hong Kong. He is the founding editor of the
Hong Kong Journal of Social Sciences and
Journal of Comparative Asian Development. He has published widely on political development in China and Hong Kong, Chinese foreign policy and local government in southern China. He has recently edited a volume on
China’s Challenges in the Twenty-first Century.