China: A New Wave Of Violent Riots


Sometimes we wonder if Jim Rogers, who uprooted his family from New York to Asia, may have underestimated the depths to which the region could fall. There’s been a lot of handwringing over concerns of civilian unrest in China, as jobs and growth dry up, but it seems to heading to the next level.

Both the New York Times and Al Jazeera say the military has been told to assume battle positions:

“A large number of migrant workers from rural areas have lost their jobs and have income problems after going back to their home villages, this could affect the stability of the rural areas this year,” he said.

Chen’s comments came amid reports that the country’s president has ordered the country’s 2.3 million armed forces to be ready to obey government orders “at any time and under any circumstances”.

The demand was issued by the Central Military Commission at a meeting over the weekend presided over by Hu Jintao, who is also the commission’s chairman.

One theory (hope) is that if the jobs in the cities dry up, residents of rural China will stay in their villages and just wait a few years for things to improve again. That would be sweet and peaceful, but it doesn’t look like the government is optimistic for that. Yves Smith recently discussed:

“When we have featured articles that mention growing unrest in China, we’ve been told that it’s overblown. The usual arguments: most of the people losing their jobs in Guangdong were young women who could go back to the provinces; that the violence wasn’t organised and hence posed not real threat to the authorities; that the people who had lost their jobs could go back to doing what they did before, namely, subsistence farming.

I’ve had trouble with these arguments because they run afoul of history. Large scale internal migrations when driven by worsening economic conditions tend to be disruptive…”

And it’s not just in China. See here for a complete list of all the unrest around the globe.