Just this week, “the Communist Party’s Central Committee and the State Council, China’s cabinet, warned party and state officials that they will lose their jobs if they fail to control public unrest,” WSJ writes. And while “that’s not altogether surprising [as it is] on one level, just a restatement of longstanding practice, [it] marks the first time authorities have come up with a definitive public statement explicitly warning party and state officials ‘at all levels’ that their jobs are on the line.’”
The warning from the politburo is likely tied directly to the abovementioned protests in what The Journal describes as the “gritty” streets of Shuangyashan. “Government officials are likely worried that the Shuangyashan incident and others could inflict a political cost on the leadership by highlighting issues such as the deficit of labor rights in China,” WSJ continues, before delivering the following summary of everything outlined above:
Party chiefs face a difficult task. Over the next five years, they need to shut down millions of tons of industrial capacity that’s making China’s economy inefficient. This means downsizing scores of steel, coal and other large industries that currently employ hundreds of thousands of workers. They have promised to do this without large-scale layoffs. Those displaced, Mr. Li said, would be given new jobs or government assistance.
These promises now hang in the balance.
Yes they do, and as we outlined a week ago, reassigning steelworkers and miners to lower paying jobs in sanitation, logging, and other industries may keep the official unemployment rate subdued, but it will do very little to appease workers who are forced to take a 60% pay cut. Strikes, The Journal goes on to note citing China Labour Bulletin, have risen by 200% from July 2015 to January of this year. Click the image below for an interactive map.
Needless to say, we’re highly skeptical that Beijing will be able to avert widespread protests. The question is whether those protests coalesce into an organized, political movement or whether the frustration simply manifests itself in disparate, ad hoc demonstrations against specific SOEs and/or local governments.
Of course manifestos like that which appeared on March 4 on Wujie News may help to galvanize public opinion and focus frustrations on the central government. On that note we’ll close with what we said earlier this month: “The Party had better figure something out quick. Because while you can make an example out of a handful of construction workers, and while you can “disappear” dissident journalists, the only thing you can do when millions of furious Chinese descend on Zhongnanhai is start shooting.”
Full statement from CPC Central Committee and State Council
Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, March 23 – Recently, the CPC Central Committee and State Council issued the “implementation of a sound social security comprehensive management leadership responsibility rule”, and issued a notice requiring all localities and departments follow.
“Improve the implementation of the comprehensive management of social security provisions of the leadership responsibility,” reads as follows.
The first is to further promote the social security comprehensive management, and improve the implementation of the leadership responsibility, and comprehensively promote the construction of China Ping An, to ensure that people live in peace, social stability and order, stability of the state, enactment of this provision.
These rules shall apply to all levels of the Party organs, the NPC organs, administrative organs, the CPPCC organs, judicial, procuratorial organs and leading bodies and leading cadres.
People’s organizations, institutions, state-owned enterprises and their leadership, cadres, leaders referring to the implementation of this provision.
Article sound implementation of social security comprehensive management leadership responsibility, should adhere to Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of “Three Represents”, the scientific concept of development as guidance, thoroughly implement the General Secretary Xi Jinping series of important speech, focus on building a moderately prosperous social, comprehensively deepen reforms and comprehensive rule of law, comprehensive strategic layout party strictly adhere problem-oriented, rule of law thinking, reform and innovation, seize the “critical few”, served to strengthen the sense of responsibility for the implementation of leadership, the use of scientific assessment, supervision, evaluation, motivation, discipline and other measures, the formation of the correct orientation, at every level, layers of implementation, so that all levels of leadership and leading cadres effectively assume the party to maintain stability and ensure the peace of the great political responsibility to ensure that the party Central Committee, State Council on the implementation of social security comprehensive management decisions and plans.