Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Globalization of Inequality

"China's Communist Party leadership, concluding its annual planning session, has approved a new economic blueprint intended to address the country's yawning wealth gap and reduce "outstanding contradictions" that have led to outbreaks of social unrest.

The president and Communist Party chief, Hu Jintao, put his oratorical stamp on China's forthcoming five-year economic plan, his first since becoming the party's leader in 2002. The work report describing the plan, read verbatim on the main evening newscast today, was filled with Mr. Hu's slogans, such as building a "harmonious society" through "scientific development." ...

China's market-oriented economy has partly outgrown the traditional five-year planning documents that used to control nearly all allocations of money, resources and talent. But the planning process is still closely watched because it reflects the priorities of the leadership, which controls the financial system and most strategic industries, like steel and energy.

The leadership is also alarmed by a surge of protests, especially in the countryside, where corruption, land grabs by government agencies and private developers, a crumbling health care system and worsening pollution have sparked the worst outbreak of unrest since the Beijing democracy demonstration in 1989. ... The number of mass protests in China increased to 74,000 last year from 10,000 in 1994, according to police figures."

Joseph Kahn China Approves New 5-Year Plan to Ease Wealth Gap New York Times October 11, 2005.

Shanghai, China


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