La Chine veut former ses cadres à la gestion des émeutes – janvier 2010

Officials to get emergency preparedness training

China Daily中国日报

January 14, 2010

County-level cadres, who are at the lowest level of China’s four-tiered government structure, may soon be atop the agenda of a national training center, as the country renews its attempt to combat rising social unrest amid major social and economic changes.

The Beijing-based Chinese Academy of Governance (CAG) was instructed by the State Council, or China’s cabinet, on Sunday to improve the training of emergency response personnel, especially officials from the county level.

Experts view the rare directive as a response to the dramatic rise in grassroots protests, of poor governance, and an increasing number of « mass incidents » at local levels.

Although no official statistics are available for the occurrence of such incidents in recent years, the number rose from 8,709 in 1993 to about 87,000 in 2005 at an increase rate of about 9-10 percent per year, said Yu Jianrong, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

From 1993 to 2003, the number of people involved in mass incidents increased from 730,000 to 3.07 million, according to the Blue Book of Chinese Society in 2005, based on survey work completed by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

« With China in a transforming phase of high-speed development, the increasing number of mass incidents is a result of government officials’ interference in market competition, » said Zhu Lijia, a professor from CAG.

Zhu recommended training for officials that would help them deal with emergencies and prevent power abuses.

In the past two years alone, « mass incidents » – ranging from workers’ protests against private takeovers to spontaneous residents’ protests against the opening of polluting industries to mass demonstrations over grassroots official misconduct – have consistently hit national headlines.

On June 17 last year, the suspicious death of a cook who fell from the third floor of the hotel where he worked in Shishou, Hubei province, sparked civil unrest involving tens of thousands of local residents.

The protest left 62 police and security officers injured, and 16 police vehicles damaged, according to the Xinhua News Agency. Eight people were sentenced to prison for disrupting public order.

In June 2008 in Wen’an county of Guizhou province, local people set fire to government buildings and attacked officials after the unnatural death of a 17-year-old girl. Her family, refusing to believe the police that the girl committed suicide by drowning herself, gathered about 300 people to protest. Later the protest developed into a riot.

Yang Hongshan, a professor from Renmin University, said that many such incidents, while shaking the stability of the society, happen because people want to protest when their interests are violated.

~ par Alain Bertho sur 15 janvier 2010.

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