jeudi 7 juillet 2016

Chinese economy is changing #China

1990 China was hardly a middle class. In 2000, households 5m made between $ 11,500 and $ 43,000 per year in current dollars; 225m do today. In 2020, the ranks of the Chinese middle class may well outnumber the Europeans. This amazing development has spurred growth in the world and transformed China. Paddyfields have given way to skyscrapers, bicycles congestion. An inward-looking nation has become more cosmopolitan: last year the Chinese took trips abroad 120m, an increase four times in a decade. A large Chinese chattering class has emerged on social media.
However, something is missing. In other authoritarian countries that grew rich, the new middle classes demanded political change. South Korea protests led by students in the 1980s helped end military rule. In Taiwan in the 1990 requirements of the middle class for Democracy led an authoritarian government to allow free elections.

Chinese economy is changing

Many experts believe that China is an exception to this trend. Many Chinese cities are now as rich as South Korea and Taiwan were when they started to change. Yet since the tanks crushed protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989, China has seen a large rallies for democracy. The President of China, Xi Jinping, has nothing but contempt for the democratic political showed.

There is evidence that this approach works. The hard line Xi is widely admired in China as a strong man and a fighter against corruption. Few middle-class Chinese say they want democracy, not only because speaking up might get them into trouble. Many are watching the chaos that followed the Arab Spring, and declining. Some see the decision of Britain to leave the European Union as a sign that ordinary voters can not be trusted to solve the complex political issues. The Chinese government can be merciless towards his critics, but at least he let his people make money. As long as they keep out of politics, they can say and do pretty much what they want. anxious times Scratch the surface, however, and the Chinese middle class is far from content (see our special report in this issue). Its members are prosperous, they feel threatened. They worry about who will care for them when they get older; most couples have only one child, and the public safety net is rudimentary. They fret that if they get sick, hospital bills can erase their wealth. If they own a home, 80% of them do, they fear losing; China's property rights can be reversed to suit a greedy official. They fear for their savings, too; Banks offer ridiculously low interest rates and alternative investments are regulated poorly or not at all. No Ponzi scheme in history trapped more investors than that collapsed in China in January.

Chinese middle class 

Many Chinese middle class are also angry. Many scoff when they are force-fed Marxism. Even more rage about corruption that plagues every sector and activity, and about nepotism, which recognizes connections to the talent and hard work. Almost all of the smoke pollution that clogs the lungs, shortens their life and night to their children. They can not help but notice that some polluters with important friends foul the air, soil and water with impunity.

And some feel frustrated. China has more than 2m NGOs. Many of those who work for them are people of the middle class who try to do their best society, regardless of party. Some agitate for a cleaner environment, a more equitable treatment of workers, or to end discrimination against women or homosexuals, or migrants. None of these groups openly defy the monopoly of party power, but they often oppose the way he exercises. The party includes the middle class, which includes many members of 88m, is the foundation for its support. When Xi arrived in power in 2012, it echoes the average American with inspiring pro-class speech of a "Chinese dream." The party gauges public opinion in order to meet the expectations and relieve social pressures.

Even so, it is hard to see China's problems are solved without more transparency, responsible government. Without the rule of law, Mr. Xi professes to believe in any property or person of the individual can really be sure. Without a more open system of government, corruption can not be routinely detected and eradicated. And without freedom of speech, NGOs will not change.
The average rages
After thousands of years of tumultuous history and the most recent memories of the bloody Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, the Chinese often say they have a deep-seated fear of chaos. But nearly half of all people living in cities are under 35. They know little about the Mao era anarchy. When they feel that the government does not listen to us, some are willing to stand up and complain. Take the thousands of people of the middle class in the southern Chinese city of Lubu, who protested on July 3 on plans to build a waste incinerator there. They fought with police and tried to storm the government offices.

These events are frequent. There were 180,000 in 2010, Tsinghua University, since when there has been no good estimates. When growth is fast, the stability followed, but as the economy slows, the agitation is likely to spread, especially since the party has to make difficult choices, such as closing factories, the restructuring of public enterprises and the fight against pollution. Ultimately the fate of the middle class protests is likely to depend on the party elite. The 1989 pro-democracy movement took off because some of its members have also promoted the reform. There is no sign of another Tiananmen, but there are tensions within the leadership. Xi made enemies with his anti-corruption purges, which seem to hit harder than rivals allies (a recent target is a former chief adviser to Hu Jintao, his predecessor section to see). Xi's colleagues are jockeying for power.

The game can repel challenges for many years. China's vast security state apparatus moves quickly to crush the unrest. However, to rely on repression alone would be a mistake. China's middle class will grow and so, too, its demands for change. The party must begin to answer these demands, or the greatest middle class the world can still destroy.

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