China - Social Unrest: On the Streets
Taxi drivers are famed for expressing strong views to passengers held ‘captive’ in their cabs. In China, drivers, incensed by a lack of attention to their grievances, have gone further, raising the spectre of increased social unrest. So-called ‘mass incidents’, such as street demonstrations, the siege of government or factory buildings by disgruntled peasants and industrial workers, or even riots, are no longer novelties. As the economic slump brings further bad news – rising unemployment, plummeting share prices, a housing market collapse and weakening export demand, more popular protests are thought to be inevitable. This would severely test Beijing’s ability to maintain political control and social stability.