01/07/2009, 00.00
CHINA
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Xinhua says there will be more unemployment and social revolts in 2009

With the closing of factories, unemployment is on the rise for migrant workers. There is also unemployment among new graduates, and young people seeking their first job. It is estimated that in 2009, Beijing will have to find jobs for at least 33 million people.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - In 2009, China will have to face increasing protests and revolts, given the rise in unemployment and unrest. According to various analysts, the unemployment figures in the country are much higher than the official numbers.

Because of the global economic crisis, many Chinese factories that rely on exports are closing their doors and firing their workers. All of this will lead to "a peak period for mass incidents." The warning comes from a source that usually tends to minimize these incidents: Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency, in the words of senior reporter Huang Huo. Interviewed by the weekly magazine Outlook (Liaowang), the journalist said that "in 2009, Chinese society may face even more conflicts and clashes that will test even more the governing abilities of all levels of the party and government." And he adds: "If in 2009 there is a large number of unemployed rural migrant labourers who cannot find work for half a year or longer, milling around in cities with no income, the problem will be even more serious."

For its part, the China Economic Weekly, reporting the words of state council adviser Chen Quansheng, warns that unemployment is much more serious than portrayed by the official statistics. According to Chen, so far at least 670,000 small industries have been closed, leaving 6.7 million people unemployed, but this number refers only to registered workers. But there are millions of people working in the underground economy, coming from the countryside, who are being fired and are forced to return to their villages without any unemployment benefits.

The academy of social sciences is also warning about the worrisome number of firings. In 2009, the government will have to create work for at least 33 million people, including migrants, young people seeking their first jobs, and new graduates.

The possible protests could also be reignited by the vast problems of corruption among the leaders, and conflicts connected to the confiscation of land in urban or rural areas.

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