China is scrambling to avoid strikes and mass rallies that could threaten the country’s stability.
As the global economy has slumped, unemployment in China’s coastal cities has grown. Over 20 million migrant workers have been sent packing back to their farms in the last few months. Thousands of workers have protested when factories closed.
Unemployment among rural migrant workers is especially troubling. Chinese leaders know that rural unrest prompted the Communist revolution.
After jobs in factories, migrants understandably are not happy about returning to the fields.
The government will train over 3,000 public security chiefs how to contain rallies and strikes. It also is rolling out a $585 billion stimulus spending on construction projects to provide jobs and has increased vocational training, rural health care and crop subsidies, according to The New York Times.
Rosy government statistics reporting robust economic growth may be hiding the country’s real problems.
Official figures say China’s GDP grew 6.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 and that urban unemployment was 4.2 percent at the end of the year.
But many believe GDP growth was much lower.
Albert Edwards of Societe Generale told Seeking Alpha that growth was actually negative last year.
“I would eat my hat if the Chinese economy was doing anything other than contracting right now,” he wrote.
A Chinese businessman told The Epoch Times that he believes GDP is below 4 percent and that 200 million Chinese are out of work, an unemployment rate close to 25 percent.
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