Freitag, 26. Oktober 2012

“Maintaining stability” in China

“Everything we do is to make people’s lives happier, more dignified, so that society is more just and more harmonious.” - Premier Wen Jiabao

By Hui Gu

The word harmony is the key word now in China under the Chinese leader Hu Jintao's signature ideology of the Scientific Development Concept. It seems that the Chinese government will pay more attention to social and civil life development to resolve the imbalance of whole society. Since tian’an men square event 1989, Chinese leadership has been extremely sensitive about maintaining stability, so the ideology of harmony is the result of this anxiety. It has been six years since 2006 when the slogan “harmony society” first came out, then how Chinese society goes so far, does it keep stability as a harmony society.

Stability maintenance budget is rising - where has the money gone

According to caijing, which is one of the famous magazine in China, the spending on “stability maintenance” (Chinese weiwen) even surpasses the national defense budget. In 2011, the expense on national defense which is 601.156 billion yuan, in contrast, the expenditure on stability maintenance is 624.421 billion yuan, which is larger by almost 10 billion yuan than the national defense budget. This year 2012, accordingly, the stability maintenance expense is rising to 701.763 billion by 11.5 percent compared to the figure last year. Some foreign media even called China as “police country” .it shows that the social stability is getting more and more serious otherwise why the Chinese government spends such large amount of money on the stability maintenance.

Some citizens in China are also shocked by the news when they heard it, the questions are where does the money go and how do they use the money. According to wuyuesanren the freelance journalist, on one hand, the stability maintenance spending includes rigid expense such as police, jails which are the violence agencies established to deal with large-scale disturbances, besides, Chinese government imposes pressures on local authorities to use police and jails to crack down citizen discontent and petitions (Chinese shangfang) at all costs. One another hand, it also includes the soft expense such as the compensation to the death or the trouble-making groups and an industrial complex of paid informants and contractors. This has also created markets for people capable of filling this role – the hiring of informally recruited security forces (or more simply - “goons”) by some local authorities being one example according to southern weekend in China.

This is the overall category of the expense of stability maintenance, then how is this expense operated in the basic level. Take one of the small countryside in Guangdong province for example, the GDP of 2009 was 4.032 billion yuan, the local general budget revenue is 199 million yuan, and each year the local government will get 510 million yuan from the superior financial provision. In addition to this, there is also the special funding for the local stability maintenance, In 2010, the local town got 28.8million dollars stability funding for the small village, there is fixed asset investment for the stability maintenance, for example, one-time investment of the stability funding is 100,000 yuan including purchase of computers, motorcycles, cars and office furniture etc for 8 towns. In addition, there is the generally recognized local government policy that if the stability workstation can deal with one protest or so called trouble makers and groups, they will be rewarded 50-300 yuan each, and if there are no disturbance for the whole year they will be rewarded more.

They adopt the practice of “many against one” and carry out 24-hour surveillance of some “troublemakers.” Local governments mobilize large numbers of volunteers who will get paid by the government from time to time to coordinate with relevant agencies. In recent years, due to the increase of the dissident issues and human rights defenders, the government spent more money on the surveillance; a lot of dissidents in China have suffered torture, surveillance, disappearance and detention. The hot issue in China is the case of the blind lawyer chenguangcheng who helps the citizens fight against one-Child policy, according to chen, the government spends more than 600 million yuan on controlling him every year.

With the development of internet, the government also felt the threat from the open platform and space for freedom speech, so the media censorship accounts for large amount of money spent on the stability maintenance. The government spent billions of dollars to build Golden Shield Project which is so called Great fire wall to block and filter the information, besides, a lot of people have been employed and paid by the government to be the “internet police”. The money spent on media censorship is huge and the number is increasing year by year.

“Spend money to buy peace” could bring troubles or stability

Furthermore, if the government contributes such large sum of stability maintenance budget to make great efforts to maintain stability in China, then whether the social stability is moving forward and changing for the better in that sense.

The truth is that according to the statistics released from social blue book, the large-scale disturbances in mainland China have increased from 100, 00 to 600, 00 during the year 1993 to 2003.there are 87,000 cases in 2005, and it rises to 900, 00 cases in 2006 and since 2008, the number of mass disturbances is going up dramatically, on average, there is 1 case in every six minutes. Some researchers said that during the transition period, China is stepping into the “risky society”. In terms of 2005 statistics, among the human rights defense issues, farmers rights accounted for 35%, labour rights accounted for 36%, civil rights was 15%, social disputes and social disorder accounted for 10% and 5% respectively. These are the main causes of the mass incidents happening in China.

To be specific, firstly take farmers’ rights for example, because Chinese government is in blind pursuit of economic benefits, Rapid growth has transformed China’s party-state into the world’s wealthiest regime, the obvious case is the housing estate, Land grabs have become an explosive issue in China as officials seeking to cash in on a property boom increasingly force farmers off their land to make way for construction - an issue repeatedly condemned by Premier Wen Jiabao. This forced demolition is not only happening in the rural areas but also in the city. According to the study, nearly a quarter of farmers did not receive any compensation for their land. 

Therefore, The expropriation and demolition caused many complaints and mass disturbances, in 2006, there are more than 385, 000 farmer petitions .Xinhua News agency reported that the Mass disturbance in rural areas accounted for more than 65% among the all disturbance events in China. Secondly, the labor disputes issues are rising during these years, in 2005, there were 314,000 labor disputes cases compared with the figure of 2004, it’s increased by 20%, in 2009 that number rose to 318,000 and only in the first eight months of 2010 there were 207,400. 45% of the workers are forced to work overtime; the workers are fighting for their own rights to obtain back payment or better working conditions. Some of them are dismissed for no reason and some are even commit suicide.

Chinese economy has developed so fast in recent years but it makes the government become the wealthiest regime, the benefit which the development brings doesn’t go to the citizens and social wellbeing. The gap between the rich and poor is huge which causes a lot of social conflicts and hatred ,as what is mentioned above, farmer’s land has been robbed and people’s house has been demolished by force, many farmers lost the source of income ,what’s more, they don’t have social welfare ,which is making the poor people become more and more poor, in contrast, business men ,government officials for example are quite profited from the housing economic boom which makes them become more and more rich ,the huge gap is leading to the serious social unrest in China. According to the investigation, the income gap ratio per capita between Urban and rural areas rising from 1 .8:1 in 1979 to 3.33:1 in 2007.

How to invest the stability maintenence budget properly -  “Social stability” via guaranteeing rights

Now this leaves us a question to consider: The government spent so much money on the stability maintenance, however, Chinese social human rights defenders are increasing, and large scale disturbances are everywhere, large groups of people are fighting for basic human rights and better living condition and social welfare. In order to cease the social unrest and crack down the social disturbance, the Chinese government thereby providing endless funds for “maintaining stability”. Then the more stability maintenance money we spent, the more instability issues happening in China. However, what if they use this “stability funding “in another way, will China be more stable and harmony?

China’s public stability maintenance expenditure increase is due to the growth in financial revenue, not due to increased social instability. chen zhi feng points out that if China’s fiscal revenue increases, there are many areas needing the money. China’s national fiscal revenue was 1.04 trillion dollars in 2009, but the spending on health, education, social security and employment accounted for only 14.7% of the whole national fiscal revenue compared with US which spent 61% on people’s live hood.

The main causes of conflict in recent years have been land requisition, demolition, wages owed to migrant workers and labor rights. According to a recent study by the prestigious China Labor Bulletin, based on official data on a sample of 350 workers in Hainan about one sixth of migrant workers earn less than 500 Yuan a month (less than 50 Euro), far less than the minimum wage required by law., however, in comparison, the stability maintenance expense is 1500 yuan(188 Euro)person, if the money is used to improve the workers’ living condition and minimum wage, there may be less mass incidents according to kong xiangdong who is the writer in China.

What’s more, China’s health care spending is only 2% of the entire world’s public healthcare spending, in China to achieve public free healthcare needs 26.3 billion dollars each year, however, it’s only 25% of the stability maintenance budget every year. The medical expense for 2010 were only 1.2% of GDP and public education expenditure accounted for only 3.1% of GDP compared to the stability maintenance expense which is more than 4.3%of GDP in 2010.all in all, it’s shown that the investment on social welfare would be far lower than that on stability maintenance.

Generally, according to Andrew one of the political professor in Columbium university, if we invest the 624.421 billion on Children who drop out school, all children can have access to school to receive free education, if the money is used to improve farmer and worker’s living condition, create more job opportunities and offer job training, all the petitioners’ problem will be resolved.

The current massive investment in maintaining stability indicates that something more than mere rhetoric is at stake. In contrast, the public health care is not implemented all over the country, especially in the rural area, there are millions of people whose yearly income is less than 2000yuan. If the government can invest it on the live hood project and social welfare improvement, many tough issues can be resolved at a minimum cost rather than that the whole society has to pay such a high price to maintain the stability to resolve the issues.

In light of the report from a team of sociologists at Tsinghua University, it warns that “if the existing way of working is not changed, stability maintenance costs will become an increasingly heavy burden. More ominously, a number of reforms that are important for the improvement of the social welfare, people’s living standards and building a real harmonious and stable society may be delayed.”

0 Kommentare:

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Web Hosting Coupons