Archive for the ‘social unrest’ Category

Economy, “Foreign Forces” Trying to Destabilize Russia?

March 26, 2009

Foreign forces are using the economic crisis to  destabilize the political situation in Russia, asserted State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov.
    
“We  already  see  manifestations  of  political  extremism.  I  am speaking  about  attempts to destabilize the country, taken both outside and inside Russia,” Gryzlov said at a meeting of the Supreme and General Councils of the United Russia party in Moscow on Thursday.
    
“We  are  now seeing attempts when people who are unhappy are given flags, and sometimes these are flags of foreign countries,” he said.
    
“We have seen protest rallies in Primorye, were the protesters were carrying Japanese flags. It is a fact,” Gryzlov said.

–Interfax

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Social Unrest: Hurt by Economy, Europeans Vent Their Anger

March 26, 2009

Tempers are flaring across Europe as the economic pain deepens and more people lose their jobs.

By JULIA WERDIGIER and MATTHEW SALTMARSH
The New York Times
.

French employees of the German tire maker Continental burned tires at a demonstration in Paris on Wednesday. Photo: Jacques Brinon/Associated Press

Just ask Fred Goodwin, the former chief executive of the ailing Royal Bank of Scotland, whose house and car were vandalized early Wednesday. Or Luc Rousselet, the manager of a 3M factory in France, who was barricaded in an office for a second day by workers demanding better severance packages for 110 employees who are being laid off.

While such instances are scattered so far, the angry mood threatens to overshadow the Group of 20 summit meeting next week in London, where world leaders hope to find approaches to the financial crisis.

Several protests are planned in London’s financial district, and the police are warning financial institutions to bolster security, cancel unnecessary meetings and keep employees inside. Bankers are being advised to wear “casual clothing” so they do not attract attention.

“A recession has all sorts of knock-on effects,” said Christopher Husbands, a professor of sociology at the London School of Economics. “Crimes go up, relationships break down and there are instances of civil disturbance.”

A nationwide strike in France last week, which drew at least 1.2 million people, was peaceful. But the government remains worried about an outbreak of violence similar to that last month in Guadeloupe, a French overseas territory, and in Greece in December.

The sense of frustration among those who lost their jobs or savings or a large part of their pension funds is fueled by reports of executives continuing to reap large rewards, as demonstrated by the outrage in the United States over bonuses paid at the American International Group. Europeans have long pointed out that pay packages of top executives in the United States are simply out of whack with the rest of the world, but their hopes of avoiding a public outcry were doused by the latest reports of inflamed local passions.

In Scotland, vandals smashed at least three windows on the ground floor of Mr. Goodwin’s house in an affluent suburb of Edinburgh and damaged a black Mercedes S600 parked in the driveway. Mr. Goodwin was not in the house at the time and no one was hurt, but the incident alarmed Britain’s business community.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who is in the United States, said “there could be no excuse for people breaking the law.”

Mr. Goodwin attracted criticism for keeping his pension, worth £703,000 a year, or $1.03 million, despite a string of ill-timed acquisitions on his watch that led to the bank’s being brought under government control. He rejected calls to surrender the payment, and the government is considering legal options.

It was the first such attack on a property owned by a banking executive since the financial crisis started, but some neighbors told local newspapers they were surprised it did not happen earlier.

The author of an e-mail message sent anonymously…

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/26/b
usiness/worldbusiness/26anger.html?_r=1&hp

China’s Love/Hate Relationship With The U.S.

March 13, 2009

China has a love-hate-envy relationship with the United States.

The Chinese people love American culture and can’t get enough of the American movies, videos, and music — much of it on the internet.

Yet the Chinese government blocks much of the internet because the cultural trends of these same Chinese people, most of them young and with growing affluence, worries older leaders in Beijing.

China envys the U.S. and its powerful military and almost unchallenged influence in the world.  Leaders crave such influence and dispatched the first ever long-range naval mission far from China in modern times when ships went to fight piracy near Somalia last December.

China is building an aircraft carrier, its first ever, and the incident at sea between Cninese ships and USNC  Impeccable last weekend was no accident.  China wants the U.S. and the world to know that it is claiming sovereignty over a vast expanse of sea.

This US Navy file photo shows the military Sealift Command ocean ... 
This US Navy file photo shows the military Sealift Command ocean surveillance ship USNS Impeccable (T-AGOS-23). Five Chinese vessels maneuvered dangerously close to a US Navy ship in the South China Sea on Sunday, March 8, 2009, approaching within 25 feet of the unarmed surveillance ship, the Pentagon said.(AFP/NVNS)

China aslo loves and fears the U.S. dollar.

China has so much reserve money that it has to be invested, and in many ways, that almost always has meant buying U.S. Treasuries.

China has invested almost $1 billion in U.S. bonds.

This huge holding has to worry the Chinese since the crash of the stock market and the global economic recession — which the Chinese blame on U.S. debt and greed.

Luo Ping, a director-general of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, tried to explain how China feels about the recession and China’s continuing purchases of U.S. debt:

“We hate you guys. Once you start issuing $1 trillion-$2 trillion… we know the dollar is going to depreciate, so we hate you guys but there is nothing much we can do….

Ping, “whose English tends towards the colloquial,” according to the Financial Times’ Henny Sender, also asked “Except for US Treasuries, what can you hold? Gold? You don’t hold Japanese government bonds or UK bonds. US Treasuries are the safe haven. For everyone, including China, it is the only option.”

The global recession means China’s exports have ground to a halt and along with that, many factories and factory jobs stand idle.

About 20 million  Chinese people, many of them migrant laborers, returned home last January and are out of work.  China is rushing aid to the unemployment and fears social unrest.

The Independent (UK) reported in early March:

“China’s growth has dropped from 13 per cent in 2007 to 6.8 per cent in the most recent quarter. The rapid slowdown in the global economy, and in the US in particular, has hit China’s export-led economy, which has been at the heart of wider Asian growth in recent years. While extremely high compared with growth levels in mature economies, the slower pace is well below the 8 per cent the Government needs to create jobs for the millions of rural workers heading for China’s cities.The slowdown has left 20 million rural labourers unemployed, with 7 million college graduates also seeking work. The authorities are desperate to stop sporadic clashes between police and protesting workers turning into more general unrest against the Communist Party.”

But the recent economic woes of the United States undoubtedly worry the Chinese — and it is not a surprise that Premier Wen Jiabao said on Friday, “We have loaned a huge amount of money to the United States,” said Wen at a news conference in Beijing. “Of course, we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I’m a little bit worried. I would like for you [a Western reporter] to call on the United States to honor its word and stay a credible nation and ensure the safety of Chinese assets.”

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

China's Premier Wen Jiabao gestures as he answers a question ... 
China’s Premier Wen Jiabao gestures as he answers a question at a news conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing March 13, 2009.REUTERS/Jason Lee (CHINA POLITICS SOCIETY)

Related:
Obama Wasting America’s Strategic World Power; China Surges Despite Economy
.
Era of Obama, American Weakness Emboldens Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Terrorists

 Global Economy Weakness Leading To Social Unrest

Stimulus: China Will Fund U.S. Debt But “We Hate You Guys”

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORL
D/asiapcf/03/13/china.wen/index.html

World Bank: Global Trade Drops Most in 80 Years; What’s it Mean For Obama?

March 9, 2009

In a paper prepared for this month’s meeting of the G20 in London, the World Bank says global trade is on track to this year record its largest decline in 80 years.

The bank also says that suffering in places like the U.S. and Europe may be significant but the global economy’s impact in poorer countries is much more dramitic.

“Debt issuance by high-income countries is set to increase dramatically, crowding out many developing-country borrowers, both private and public,” it says.

World Bank president Robert Zoellick warned that preventing an economic catastrophe in developing countries was important for global efforts to overcome the crisis.

“We need investments in safety nets, infrastructure, and small and medium size companies to create jobs and to avoid social and political unrest.”

What’s this mean for President Obama: should he help “bailout” poor countries, as the New York Times proposes?  Or should he get money flowing again so Americans can buy goodies at WalMart from China, boosting world trade?  Either way, the solutions take a lot of debt, much borrowed from China, with may cut into his health care plans and ideas about the environment, global warming, energy, education and other projects….

Related:
 NYT Urges Obama To “Bail Out” Third World Too

 Despite Global Economy Downturn, China Still Lending

 World Bank Says Global Economy Will Shrink in ’09

 Obama has little reason to fall in with the G20

Global Economy Weakness Leading To Social Unrest

March 8, 2009

“If not handled, today’s financial crisis will become tomorrow’s human crisis. Social unrest and political instability will grow, exacerbating all other problems.”

That according to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

In China, Russia, France, Iceland and Britain, some leaders already fear that the worsening global economy will result in calls for new governments with new leaders and fresh ideas.

The Independent reported this week:

“China’s growth has dropped from 13 per cent in 2007 to 6.8 per cent in the most recent quarter. The rapid slowdown in the global economy, and in the US in particular, has hit China’s export-led economy, which has been at the heart of wider Asian growth in recent years. While extremely high compared with growth levels in mature economies, the slower pace is well below the 8 per cent the Government needs to create jobs for the millions of rural workers heading for China’s cities.The slowdown has left 20 million rural labourers unemployed, with 7 million college graduates also seeking work. The authorities are desperate to stop sporadic clashes between police and protesting workers turning into more general unrest against the Communist Party. ”

In Berlin, German, economically displaced people are setting paked luxury cars on fire.

In Russia there has been social unrest but leaders believe that welfare programs recently put into place will ease tensions.

“I believe that the current economic crisis will not damage social stability so severely,” Medvedev said in an interview with the Spanish media this week.

The “Tea Party” tax protests in the U.S. are rather small and mild mannered but indicate that many in America are also getting edgy with the poor economy and the solutions their governments are recommending.

Related:
http://www.globalenvision.org/tags/
social-unrest

Independent on China:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/
news/china-to-announce-extra-stimulus-as-fear
s-of-social-unrest-rise-1637743.html

https://arturoafc54.wordpress.com/categ
ory/social-unrest/

Michelle:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/07
/tea-party-on-taxpayer-revolts-in-green-
bay-lafayette-olathe-and-harrisburg/

Global Economy Sparks Protests; Governments Fear Greater “Social Unrest”

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In Paris, protestors voice concerns at failing economy, overtaxed social services

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Wealth Battlefield

By Michelle Malkin
The Washington Times

Enough. In a word, that is the message of disgusted taxpayers fed up with the confiscatory policies of both parties in Washington. George Bush pre-socialized the economy with billion-dollar bailouts of the financial and auto industries. Barack Obama is pouring billions more down those sinkholes. It isn’t just the camel’s back that’s broken. His neck and four legs have all snapped, too.

Enough. Last Friday, thousands of Americans turned out to protest reckless government spending in the pork-laden stimulus package, the earmark-clogged budget bill, the massive mortgage-entitlement program and taxpayer-funded corporate rescues.

Contrary to false left-wing blog smears that the hastily planned impromptu events were “Astro-turfed,” the crowds were packed with first-time grass-roots activists. They were people with families and day jobs whose usual definition of “community organizing” involves neighborhood yard sales or their kids’ soccer matches. They were members of the silent majority who decided to be silent no more.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news
/2009/mar/08/wealth-battlefield/

Global Economy Sparks Protests; Governments Fear Greater “Social Unrest”

January 31, 2009

Americans just started a new presidency but in China, Russia, France, Iceland and Britain, some leaders already fear that the worsening global economy will result in calls for new governments with new leaders and ideas.

Protesters in Rusia’s eastern most industrial hub and seaport, Vladivostok, called this week for new government leaders because of the economic down turn.

Opposition groups led by Communists protested the economic policies of the Russian government in the eastern city of Vladivostok on Saturday.
James Hill for The New York Times

The protest was peaceful; but more protests are planned.  And previous protests like this one in Russia ended in violence and the police making dozens of arrests. 

The crowd called for the replacement of Dmitri Medvedev and Vladimir Putin, Russia’s top leaders, for mismanaging the economy.

On Saturday protesters held demonstrations throughout Russia, offering largely subdued, but pointed criticism of the government’s economic policies as the country continues to sink deeper into an economic morass, the New York Times said.

In Britain, Prime Minister Gordon Brown is under fire.  He is currently taking heat for a jobs and rights protest that stems from his pledge that “British jobs need to be British.”
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Thousands of workers across Britain have walked off their jobs following protests over the use of foreigners at a Lincolnshire oil refinery.

On Saturday, the number of strikers multiplied, with hundreds of energy workers across the UK protesting — and with lines of police around them.

And millions of Chinese have gone home for the Spring Festival or New Year and told not to return to their jobs.  China is so worried about domestic unrest that it has started its largest anti-democracy crackdown ever: specifically targeting the media and Internet.

“People have this psychology of crisis,” said Victor Yuan, chairman of Beijing-based consultant Horizon Research Consultancy Group, which does polling for the private sector and the government.

Horizon’s latest survey showed consumer confidence at its lowest since the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, in 2003.

“The real, real winter for the Chinese economy hasn’t come yet,” said Chen Jian, chairman of Hangzhou Hengwei Investment Co., which has business in restaurants, real estate and trading.

In France, President Sarkozy can’t get away from the jeers and shouts of protestors when he makes public appearances.  He has taken to firing public officials that  don’t keep protesters far away from the President’s ears.

A crowd of 300,000 protested in Paris this week in the largest protest in 10 years, some said.

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Paris this week

Countries such as France and Greece have been hit by riots and strikes as militant unions demand protectionist measures to keep out foreign rivals.

And both Germany and China expressed fears of American protectionism this week.  Angela Merkel of German told audiences at the economic conference in Davos that the U.S. auto bailout hurts the global economy and spells a new era of protectionism from the U.S.  China’s Hu Juntao told President Barack Obama that the “buy American” provision in the stimulus was rank protectionism and needed to be scuttled.

The economy has made the entire world more tense.

The French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said, “We’re facing two major risks: one is social unrest and the second is protectionism.”

“We need to restore confidence in the systems and confidence at large,” she added.

Christine Lagarde
Lagarde

Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says the world body needs to be reorganized in view of the economic crisis.

“The current architecture of managing global affairs is broken and needs to be fixed,” Annan said.

The worldwide economic recession has exposed a “crisis of global governance” that can only be addressed by the radical reform of the United Nations, said Mr. Annan.

And Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called on world leaders to set about reforming international financial institutions to prevent a repeat of the circumstances that led to the current financial crisis.

“We’ve got to be far bolder and far more imaginative,” Brown said. “We want to create a global society. But we need to have global institutions that work and the problem is the institutions we built 60 years ago are out of date.”

By John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

The BBC on Russian Protests:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7862370.stm

Related:
Britain:
 Oil refinery strikes: Protests over foreign workers

France’s Sarkozy Getting Testy Amid Public Disapporval, Fires Public Servants

China, Germany Both Pressure Obama on Protectionism

Kofi Annan: Global Economy Tells Us, New forms of government needed

From CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/BUSINESS/0
1/31/davos.wef.brown/index.html

http://www.cnn.com/2009/BUSINESS/0
1/30/britain.refinery.strikes/index.html

Paris:
http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/
world-news/300000-protest-in-paris-14
162666.html?r=RSS

China’s Annual New Year Migration “Biggest Ever” Due To Economy

January 22, 2009

The largest annual migration on earth is now in progress as China prepares for the Lunar or Asian New Year.

China has a migrant population of several million workers who mostly leave rural homes for industrial and manufacturing areas to work in places like  Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province.

The migrant workers are among 188 million people heading home for the holidays.  To be in one’s family home at New Years makes for a “lucky” year, according to Chinese culture and belief.

This year the migration started weeks earlier than normal as China closes shop due to the troubled economy.  Many workers ill not return to work this year for the same reason: the economy is grinding downward.

Most experts say this is the largest migration ever in China because of the global economic downturn.  Railroads are overwhelmed by the number of travelers.

“Last year, I went back home five or six days before the holiday started. This year, I’m going back about 20 days earlier,” said migrant Huang Mingren as he waited for his train, three weeks ago.

Now many travelers are saying they have no jobs to return to.

“‘I’ll go home and stay for the first time in more than 20 years,” said Le Hong. “No jobs in city any more.”

China fears that social unrest and dissent will grow due to the economic troubles and several important anniversaries.  Thirty years ago, Chinese students started a pro-democracy uprising in Tiananmen Square.

Tianasquare.jpg
Tiananmen Square in 1989.

By John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

Related:
CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/0
1/22/china.migration.newyear/index.html

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China’s jobless migrants go home early for holiday
.
 Economic Slowdown Already Sees 600,000 Chinese Migrants Relocate
.
 China’s Slowing Growth, Unemployment Leads Toward Social Unrest
.
Shortage of trains strains China’s holiday rush, simmering unrest problem

A migrant worker nears the train station in Guangzhou, southern ... 
A migrant worker nears the train station in Guangzhou, southern China’s Guangdong province.  Some 188 million Chinese are expected to squeeze onto China’s train network to return home for the Chinese Lunar New Year.(AP Photo/William Foreman)

“Erroneous” Western democracy not for China

January 18, 2009

China must build defenses against “erroneous” ideas involving Western-style democracy, a top government official said in comments published on Sunday, shooting down recent calls by dissidents for political reform.

China’s ruling Communist Party has stepped up efforts to stifle dissent and protest ahead of politically sensitive anniversaries this year, and amid concerns that rising unemployment in a slowing economy could fuel broad social unrest.

Jia Qinglin, China’s fourth-most senior official, demanded officials throw their weight behind the one-party state in an essay in the Party’s main ideological journal “Seeking Truth” (Qiushi), which was reproduced on major web portals on Sunday.

A Chinese soldier looks into the camera at the India-China trade ... 
A Chinese soldier looks into the camera at the India-China trade route at Nathu-La, 55 km (34 miles) north of Gangtok, capital of India’s northeastern state of Sikkim, January 17, 2009.(Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters)

“Build a line of defense to resist Western two-party and multi-party systems, bicameral legislature, the separation of powers and other kinds of erroneous ideological interferences,” said Jia, who is also head of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a largely toothless parliamentary advisory body.

“Consciously abide by the Party’s political discipline and resolutely safeguard the Party’s centralized unity,” Jia said, calling on CPPCC members to strengthen “ideological unity.”

The essay comes weeks after hundreds of scholars, dissidents and former Party officials signed “Charter 08,” a petition campaign calling for open democratic elections and an independent judiciary.

Authorities have since detained prominent Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo and other rights activists over the manifesto, and earlier this month launched a crackdown on Internet pornography and other “vulgar” online content.

China’s Communist Party leadership faces a number of politically sensitive anniversaries this year, including the 20th anniversary of the brutal crushing of student-led pro-democracy protests centered on Tiananmen Square in June, 1989.

Tianasquare.jpg

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Valerie Lee at Reuters)

China favors jobs at home over freer trade

January 1, 2009

Beijing restores tax breaks and other perks for Chinese exporters. It’s worried that declining exports mean more social unrest.

By Jonathan Adams
The Christian Science Monitor

In recent years, China scrapped many of its export-friendly policies – a turn welcomed by foreign competitors as a step toward freer, fairer trade.

In typical style, Beijing did so incrementally, “crossing the river by feeling the stones,” as Deng Xiaoping is quoted as saying.

But now, with the economic downturn in full effect, China is scrambling back toward the riverbank. The government has reversed itself on tax rebates and other export-friendly policies, restoring perks it had only recently scrapped.

The latest tax rebate hikes, which take effect Jan. 1, will be doled out to exporters of motorcycles, sewing machines, industrial robots, and other goods, according to the China Daily.

Beijing’s about-face risks raising tensions with the US and other trade partners. Washington and others have long complained about China’s “unfair” trade policies and a flood of cheap Chinese imports. The US welcomed the 2007 elimination of some tax rebates as a sign of progress, only to see many of them now restored.

The Yangshan deep water port in Hangzhou Bay, south east of ... 
The Yangshan deep water port in Hangzhou Bay, south east of Shanghai. China’s trade surplus is likely to hit another record in 2008 despite woes caused by the global slowdown, the nation’s top economic planner has said.(AFP/File/Mark Ralston)

Read the rest:
http://www.csmonitor.com/200
9/0102/p06s02-woap.html

Democratic Pakistan Limps On

December 25, 2008

Pakistan returned to civilian rule shortly after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto a year ago, but the nascent democracy is now caught in a web of crises that is threatening its future, analysts say.

The government led by President Asif Ali Zardari, Bhutto’s widower, came to power with significant public support, but many say he has not lived up to the promises made by their slain leader before her death in a suicide attack.

“He seems to have lost some of the popular goodwill because the government appears to be ineffective in addressing the problems that have hit the common people most,” political analyst Hasan Askari told AFP.

By Rana Jawad
AFP

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari. Pakistan returned to civilian ... 
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari. Pakistan returned to civilian rule shortly after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto a year ago, but the nascent democracy is now caught in a web of crises that is threatening its future, analysts say.(AFP/File/Sezayi Erken)

Pakistan’s troubles have worsened in the past 12 months with more than 50 suicide attacks killing civilians, severe economic woes for the government, and high food prices and regular power shortages hitting ordinary families hard.

At the same time, militancy in the lawless tribal areas and simmering tensions with India have been accompanied by political infighting between the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and its former coalition partner.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081224/wl_sthas
ia_afp/pakistanattacksbhuttoanniversarypolitic
s_081224062445

Related:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/12/26/un.pakistan/index.html