Chinese authorities are attempting to talk up their economic strength to the West, but the talk rings hollow in China where unemployment is rising and dissatisfaction with the leadership is gaining momentum.
A survey conducted by the State Council's Development Research Centre late last year estimated that around 20 million Chinese workers had already lost their jobs to China’s declining economy.
Tsinghua University's Professor Yu Qiao said the job losses pose a serious problem for the regime. He estimates that over 50 million Chinese migrant workers could lose their jobs if the downturn continues.
"Jobless migrant workers on this mass scale imply a severe political and social problem. Any minor mishandling may trigger a strong backlash and could even result in social turbulence," Fairfax media quoted him as saying.
The economy is not, however, the fundamental reason for social turbulence. Social unrest has been rising exponentially in China throughout its economic boom.
China specialist John Lee says, in his book Will China Fail?, officially reported instances of social unrest have risen from 8700 in 1993 to 87,000 in 2005, (the last available figures).
Mr Lee says these figures indicate a level of discontent, “so profound that the protesters no longer care about the consequences of unrest or that the regime's ability to enforce compliance and order has been seriously compromised.”
Corruption at all levels of government, illegal land grabs by greedy officials, the use of thuggery by officials to demand compliance and the loss of rights against official bodies are just some of the issues Chinese people are forced to endure, Mr Lee said. With little improvement, frustration is aimed directly at the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
“In other words the problem is seen to emanate from the government and a connection is made between the regime and the hardships the general population face,” he said.
One group who is registering the turning tide against the regime is the global organisation, Quit the CCP, or Tuidang as it is known in Chinese.
The organisation has registered over 50 million resignations from the Chinese Communist Party and according to Tuidang president, Chinese American Dr David Gao, that number continues to grow at a rapid rate.
“Chinese people aren’t scared of the Communist Party anymore,” he told The Epoch Times,
“They dare to speak out, dare to go to the street, and dare to put up slogans calling for the end of the Communist Party.”
Started by expatriate Chinese in America, Quit the CCP Centres around the world provide a register by which Chinese people can resign from three levels of the CCP: the Party itself, the Communist Youth League, and the Young Pioneers. Withdrawal statements are received by volunteers through mail, e-mail, fax, phone, and even in-person.
Ms Rong Yi, vice president of the organisation, works from the centre’s main office in Flushing, New York City.
According to Ms Yi, the number of resignations has been steadily increasing since the Tuidang movement began in 2005. Resignations registered per day are now running at around 50,000, she said.
Most of the volunteers at the centres are Chinese immigrants, who have experienced the CCP’s persecution firsthand. Many are practitioners of the meditation and exercise practice, Falun Gong, whose adherents abide by the principals of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance. For this they have been arrested, tortured and, in cases of relatives on the mainland, executed in China. “The Chinese people are so eager to get rid of the communist control.
They long for a free China—to enjoy the freedom of speech and the freedom of belief like the rest of the world,” Ms. Yi said.
Resignations come in from all levels of Chinese society, including CCP officials, academics and professionals.
One recent resignation was from one of China’s top academics, psychologist Dr Sun Junyan, He said he had decided to resign after reading the Nine Commentaries an editorial series published by The Epoch Times that exposes the history of the CCP.
“I am ashamed of being a member of the CCP! I have decided to quit the CCP and all my official academic positions in the mainland,” he said in a statement.
Dr Sun was an associate professor in the Department of Psychology of the Capital Normal University for ten years. His Ph.D. dissertation was the first Ph.D. dissertation in the field of psychological history in China.