News / Asia

China’s New Leaders Face Rise of Individual

China’s New Leaders Face the Rise of the Individuali
|| 0:00:00
X
Shannon Sant
November 06, 2012
As China prepares for a once-in-a-decade political transition, the country’s soon to be new leaders are facing a population increasingly willing to voice its opposition to government policies.
TEXT SIZE - +
Shannon Sant
— As China prepares for a once-in-a-decade political transition, the country’s soon to be new leaders are facing a population increasingly willing to voice its opposition to government policies.

Take the southern city of Ningbo, for example, which is currently rocked by protests.  Thousands of residents are speaking out against the construction of a petrochemical plant near their homes.
 
The number of such “mass incidents” is increasing, and it is directly linked to the growth of China’s middle class, says sociologist Wang Feng. He says as incomes rise, so do expectations.

“That is why we are looking at a society that has changed, and that is really ready for this individual pursuit and the rights of individualism,” Wang says.
 
Disputes over land ownership are a leading cause of social unrest in China, says lawyer Wang Cailiang, who represents land seizures victims.
 
"In 2003, in Jiangsu's Nanjing, there was the first self immolation for this reason, from that moment it started," he says. "People started to become more aware of their individual rights."  

Wang meets with those who have had their land taken away by the government and developers.  He says he’s not surprised the number of protests is increasing.

"Think about it, in a household when a house gets demolished, and they do not reach an agreement for compensation, at that point all the people around this household - the neighbors, the co-workers and family - they all feel a sense of humiliation. When this sense gets to a certain point, they actually gather together and that can get to a point of eruption," says Wang.

Discontent over corruption and taxes is another major issue. Last year, protestors in the eastern town Zhili torched cars and marched through the streets to protest taxes. In some cases, the government caved in to protesters’ demands, while simultaneously cracking down on instigators. China's government is debating ideas for when and how to reform.   

“The current leaders are quite aware of them and have been talking about this for many years, they have just not been done," says sociologist Wang Feng.  "So I think for the next leaders, they need to come in to really implement these bold reforms. Otherwise, well, time is running out.”
 
Delayed reforms can carry costs for China’s leadership. In Ningbo the local government promised to stop expanding the petrochemical plant pending a scientific debate. But by that time authorities had lost credibility, and it took days more for skeptical protesters to disperse.

You May Like

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

Why Europe and the US may be "whistling past the graveyard?" More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Chin from: Xianggang
November 16, 2012 1:30 AM
May Xi Jinping functions as Gorbachev for Chinese genuine democracy! China will follow the Soviet Union in his decade.


by: xxx from: xxxxx
November 07, 2012 1:14 AM
just the squeeze of some old news!!and give the old news some new meaning


by: CcyY
November 06, 2012 10:26 PM
In the past,we only concentrated on collective but ignored Individual.Now we need more individual persuits which are decided by individuals not by the party.So not only do we need economical reform but also political reform that is mentioned by ccp many times. i wish the next new leaders would do more things about reform.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid