Now Reading:

Jasmine Revolution 'impossible' in China: analyst

world news

Jasmine Revolution 'impossible' in China: analyst


China has been watching events in the Arab world with some unease; the country has itself dealt with pro-democracy protesters very harshly in the past.

And there have been signs of popular unrest brewing again in China. We’re joined by the analyst and author of ‘How China’s Leaders Think’, Dr. Robert Lawrence Kuhn.

Mark Davis, euronews:
Dr. Kuhn, how likely are we to see a Jasmine Revolution in China and how would its leaders respond?

Robert Lawrence Kuhn:
“First of all it is highly unlikely we’ll see anything like what we’ve seen in the Arab world in China any time soon. Here’s what China’s leaders have told me, literally today, I was with two senior ministers. They said there were three reasons why the Jasmine revolution in their words is “impossible” in China.

“The first is economic: at no time in history have so many people been given an increase in their standard of living as has occurred in China in the last 30 years. Imbalances, problems: sure. But the people recognise, they say, that stability is necessary in order for the standards of living to continue to rise.

“Second is how they deal with young people: they point out that in the Arab world more than 50 percent are young people and due to population control in China the percentage of young people is less. But more important than that, China’s leaders have focussed on getting jobs for young people.

They claim (that) of the 6.4 million graduates last year they got jobs for between 80 and 85 percent.

“Third is political reform. Leaders claim that because of term limits in China, ministers have to retire at age 65, politburo members at age 70 and even the leader of the country, the General Secretary of the communist party, (who is the) president of the country must retire after two terms. So term limits are very important (in) preventing what has happened in the Arab world.

Mark Davis, euronews:
China has again been rounding up bloggers and dissidents but are there signs of divisions within the leadership?

Robert Lawrence Kuhn:
“You know that’s not clear; there have been some leaders who have, particularly premier Wen Jiabao has talked about political reform more so perhaps than others, and perhaps we’ve made more of that in the West than actually exists in society.

“Maybe on specific other issues like allocations of resources between different competing interests in society, there are differences. But on how to deal with dissidents during this period of time, I think the leadership is pretty much united.”

Mark Davis, euronews:
How are we to view the Chinese position on the UN response in Libya? They didn’t veto the Security Council resolution but will Beijing’s tacit support continue if the conflict drags on or even escalates?

Robert Lawrence Kuhn:
“The Libyan situation has put China in a very conflicted mode. On the one hand they are extraordinarily against interference across borders and interference in the sovereignty of other nations. China is concerned that such resolutions can be used, under some circumstances, against China itself if there are internal disputes.

“That said, China did not veto it because they recognised that there were severe human rights violations and they didn’t want to be on the wrong side of history for that event. So China didn’t veto it, yet at the same time in the Chinese press they have criticised Western intervention at such a level. They’re trying to play both sides of this and I think they’re a bit uncomfortable with the situation.”

> China’s fears of a ‘Jasmine’ revolt

Every story can be told in many ways: see the perspectives from Euronews journalists in our other language teams.

Next Article