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IW 05

China

The rebellion by the numbers

 

According to the Chinese Ministry of Public Safety, the number of “mass incidents” registered inthe countryside has been growing systematically: 8,700 in 1993; 10,000 in 1994; 32,000 in 1999; 50,000 in 2002; 58,000 in 2003; 74,000 in 2004.

The number of peasants taking part in the revolts has also grown: from 730,000 in 1994 to 3 million in 2003 and 3.8 million en 2004.

Social tension is so sharp that many times the revolts begin through insignificant incidents. In June, in the village of Chizou, 10,000 people assaulted a supermarket after its owner ran over a peasant cyclist with his car. In October, 40,000 peasants from the municipality of Chongqing occupied the municipal palace and burnt dozens of police cars after a street incident between a janitor and a local government official.