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Unrest begins to boil over as China's economy falters

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Significance

Leaders describe this as a 'new normal', backtracking on their warnings during the era of double-digit growth that failure to keep growth above 8.0% would lead to social instability. However, unrest among the 770 million strong workforce is rising rapidly, much of it directly related to the economic slowdown. Businesses are closing and employers failing to pay wages and benefits. Local authorities are responding to this unrest with greater force.

Impacts

  • Tensions between workers and the authorities will remain high as local governments and police take a tougher stance with strikers.
  • The current crackdown on civil society will reduce NGOs' ability to intercede in and successfully resolve labour conflicts.
  • The impact of the economic slowdown will broaden to include workers in the mining and energy sectors.
  • Low-paid public sector workers will stage strikes and protests as cash-strapped local governments cut employee pension and other benefits.
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