With growing unrest in the Middle East, China’s gov’t has been a bit more on edge than usual. News of what is happening in Libya and elsewhere is pretty hard to come by. The official gov’t position on Libya is that the violence should end, but is purposefully vague as to what that means.
The argument I feel like I have been bludgeoned with this last week is “stability” (it’s my own fault for reading the People’s Daily every morning). On the front page of the People’s Daily website today we have headlines like “World Craves for Peace, Stability”, “Crack Nut with Tenderness – China seeks soft approach to social stability”, “The Leadership and Stellar Growth”, along with several other gag inducing buzz words.
The message is clear: stability means growth, and only the Party can provide that stability.
This is just part of the media blitz that comes in the run up to China’s two most important annual meetings, the National People’s Congress, and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Note: During this time it is common practice for newspapers to abstain from publishing anything that could appear to be negative on their front pages.
So what are the government’s top concerns heading into these meetings that will set the agenda for the next year? (based on their online survey, and past headlines)
The top eight concerns are: 1)Measures to boost economic development 2)Quality supervision on food and drugs 3)Employment of college students 4)Environmental protection 5)Widening gap between rich and poor 6)Anti-corruption 7)Medical reform 8)Measures to bring housing prices under control.
Here’s the part that may come as a surprise, except for number 1, all of those issues have been taken up by activists in the last few months (read between the lines). It is no secret that these are the very issues that would affect China’s precious stability.
A few more things to watch for with China in the next year include:
- Cutting investments to highly polluting factories, and improving enforcement of current laws
- Further publicizing stories about gov’t officials using the internet to improve their relationship with their public (this is worthy of a full post)
- China’s increasing role in international affairs (we might finally see them do something besides drag their feet on global warming and North Korea, but is the West ready for it?)
- Focused attempts to promote China’s image overseas