And to think we hope China will save us from economic ruin (though shame about the authoritarianism):
Addressing the National Peoples Congress, China’s leaders attempted to put the best possible face on the deepening economic crisis. Wen assured delegates that 8 percent growth was achievable, promoted the regime’s stimulus measures and announced new social welfare measures. Everyone present was well aware that anything less than 8 percent would mean rising unemployment and social unrest. Already 20 million rural migrant workers have lost their jobs and a growing army of urban workers, college graduates and demobilised soldiers are unable to find work.
Buried in the budget presented to the NPC was a significant item—a massive increase in spending on public security, by 20.5 percent to more than $71 billion. The figure is larger than China’s total military budget of $70.2 billion for 2009. “We will improve the early warning system for social stability to actively prevent and properly handle all types of mass incidents,” Wen blandly told the delegates. The purpose is all too evident—the linchpin of the “Chinese miracle” has been a pervasive police-state apparatus to suppress all criticism, political opposition, protests and strikes.