In a sign it’s preparing to clamp down hard on any possible unrest, China announced a nearly 12 percent increase in spending on domestic security on Monday.
At the opening of the National Congress in Beijing, funding for the police, armed militias and other law and order agencies was increased to 111 billion US dollars for 2012.
The focus on stability was acknowledged by Premier Wen Jiabao after a 10-fold increase in the number of “mass incidents” of unrest during China’s rapid economic progress over the last 20 years, according to government statistics.
“The industrial transformation and upgrading of the major cities of the east has sped up. The rate of urbanisation has exceeded 50 percent. This is a historical change to China’s social structure,” acknowledged Wen in a speech to Congress.
The rise in the domestic security budget comes after China announced it would increase military spending by 11 percent.
Leaders fear that in a year of leadership succession and a slowdown in the Chinese economy, continued anger about corruption and huge income inequalities could lead to uprisings similar to those seen in the Arab world.
The National Congress is an annual 9-day session by China’s top parliamentary body.