Saturday, March 5, 2011

China's anti-austerity program

Premier Wen Jiabao:
In a more than two-hour speech that is China's equivalent to a state-of-the-nation address, Premier Wen Jiabao vowed to boost assistance to working class, rural Chinese and pensioners, build more affordable housing, exempt lower-income citizens from taxes and raise spending on education and health insurance.

Along with increased social spending, Wen said pulling down inflation and closing the wide rich-poor gap were top priorities. He directly linked their urgent resolution to the need to keep people happy and stave off unrest while the government slows the breakneck growth of recent years to a more sustainable level.

"We must make improving the people's lives a pivot linking reform, development and stability ... and make sure people are content with their lives and jobs, society is tranquil and orderly and the country enjoys long-term peace and stability," Wen told the 2,923 delegates gathered in the Great Hall of the People for the opening of the national legislature's annual session.
The article goes on to discuss the pressure the government is on from protestors who may be inspired by events in the middle east to stage a similar mass protest movement in China.  So this could be a pre-emptive move to head off such things, which, if true would be yet another positive spin off effect of the whole chain of events starting with Wikileaks' release of the diplomatic cables.

It's also a reminder that if mighty China's decades old stable autocratic government can be moved by just the threat of protests, more of this can only be good in Europe and North America to achieve the same effect.

1 comment:

  1. For the sake of the Chinese people, I hope that this is more than rhetoric, but I doubt it. I'm no Fukuyaman, but I do think that the dirigisme of the CCP is ultimately doomed to failure. Whatever it pledges now, its own interests will always come first.

    When everything is motoring along smoothly, those interests tend to be pursued in a way that makes things at least tolerable for everyone else. When the regime's management skills falter, though, Dr. Jekyll becomes Mr. Hyde, and short work is made of perceived enemies of the State. It's a highly unstable arrangement, despite its apparent successes to date.