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Where Does Chinese People’s Grievances Stem From? 〔Mao Yushi〕
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Unirule Institute of Economics     MAO Yushi

China is said to have risen again, and this is not a groundless rumor. China’s economic accomplishment in the past thirty years is second to none around the globe. Also, China has completely changed its image of poverty and starvation, and will not be bullied by anyone anymore. The label on old China, "sick man of East Asia," has long been consigned to the dustbin of history. It’s quite a rare case in world history for such rapid changes to happen in such a big country as China. In particular, China has transformed itself from a country under dictatorship with its doors all locked against the world in Mao Tse-Tung 's era into the one implementing all-round opening up and granting its people much freedom. China’s achievement in economy is enviable to all the other developed or developing countries. We did better than Russia, Japan, East Europe, and Latin America, not to speak of African countries. No one could match us in terms of improvement of living standards, political progress, and advancement of international status. However, I’m not saying that we are doing well enough and that China is already an advanced country. What I mean to say is that our pace of progress is really incredible. Thirty years ago, no one would ever dream about what has happened today at all.

However, what is equally depressing is the enormous resentments and conflicts existing in current society. In common people’s conversations and on-line comments, lots of complaints rather than satisfactions are expressed, and it seems as if Chinese society is about to collapse soon. Street quarrels are frequently seen, as many people now get angry easily and are ready to quarrel at the drop of a hat. Leaders of the government seem to share similar feelings, all worrying about social instability and considering stability as an overriding goal at present. Beijing will become a city of policemen whenever there are ceremonies, such as, China National Day Parade, Opening Ceremony of Olympic Games, NPC Conferences, etc. Policemen will be everywhere, and even old women will be motivated to come out on patrol. Moreover, kitchen knifes are even forbidden to be sold in stores. This reminds us of similar regulations in Yuan Dynasty when the country was under foreign rule, which we know from our middle school textbooks. Our government’s great fear is probably also second to none all over the world. On one hand, people’s living standards are improved. On the other hand, people feel lots of grievances. What is the root cause? The foreigners find no explanations, and even we ourselves find it hard to explain it clearly.

A prevalent explanation is that the gap between the rich and poor results in social grievances. This saying is not groundless. Disparity in wealth now can be seen everywhere, exciting people’s eyes and nerves greatly. Intensification of social resentments comes along with economic growth and is one of the results of enlarging income disparity. People’s sense of income inequality and the consequent dissatisfaction are also intensified along with economic development. At present, the whole country is making immense efforts to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor, considering the settlement of the problem of income disparity as a major aspect of dissolving social grievances.

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