Be Afraid

China On the Brink

The absence of democracy in communist China is leading to direct action as anxious workers, fired in the wake of the worldwide economic meltdown, are taking to the streets to protest. As John M. Glionna of The Los Angeles Times reports from Beijing, “Chinese economists say that rising wages throughout China have led many laborers to expect better working conditions and residents to demand a more accountable government.” “There is no channel to allow people to express their will. They lack the right to speak, the right to organize and unionize to represent their interest, therefore they can only use an irrational way by demonstrating or rioting to solve problems,” said Hu Xingdou, an economics professor at the Beijing Institute of Technology. So far the Chinese authorities have been wary of crushing the “irrational” protests.