News / Asia

World Bank Call for Chinese Reforms Elicits Rare Protest

TEXT SIZE - +
Stephanie Ho

World Bank President Robert Zoellick held a news conference in China Tuesday to explain a new report calling for structural economic reforms in China.  A lone protester disrupted the event and called attention to China’s growing income inequality.

Zoellick had just sat down and was starting to talk at Tuesday's news conference, when Du Jianguo came to the front of the room to shout slogans and hand out copies of his protest statement.

Du Jianguo, a protester claiming to be an independent economist and demonstrating against the World Bank's
Du Jianguo, a protester claiming to be an independent economist and demonstrating against the World Bank's "China 2030 Report", is taken away by a security guard during a news conference in Beijing, February 28, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

Before Du was dragged away, he said the World Bank is poisonous to China and that its policies exacerbate the country's already growing wealth gap. He called himself an independent scholar. Some of his English-language comments echoed the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The translator for the news conference conveyed his complaints to the World Bank president. Zoellick,  a veteran of anti-World Bank protests, was unperturbed.

“As you see, this report has provoked some interesting debate in China,” he said.

Zoellick explained the new report, “China 2030”, urges China's leaders to ask what he describes as “tough questions” about how the country's economy will adapt to the global financial crisis and slowing export demand.

“China has been very successful over the past 30 years with one structural model for development," he noted. "That model has focused on export-led and heavily investment-led growth. The 12th five-year plan recognizes that needs to change, to focus more on domestic demand and consumption.

The report says the country’s brisk economic growth is unsustainable unless China makes major free-market reforms.

The World Bank head says he expects vested interests that benefit from the current structure will resist that change, but he said the change is necessary for the good of all Chinese people.

Arvind Subramanian, with the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, rejected the argument that the World Bank is responsible for bringing inequality to China, but he acknowledged the protester's anger - especially over related issues like corruption.

“There is no question that in this country, rising inequality is a major - one of the big imbalances,” he admitted.

He added that adequately addressing these problems will require more than strictly economic solutions.

“I think that people see that one of the solutions to that is to have greater accountability and that might be the mechanism through which greater political freedoms are demanded," Subramanian said. "I think political reform, economic accountability mechanism, is perhaps kind of, if I can peer through the lens, is kind of the way forward in China.”

During this trip, Zoellick also visited Guangdong province and Inner Mongolia. He says this is likely his last trip to China before he steps down as World Bank president in June.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid