The Upside Of China's Economic Crisis

by | February 3, 2009

Perry Link is a China specialist and Chancellorial Chair for Teaching Across Disciplines at the University of California at Riverside.

The global economic downturn is hurting ordinary Chinese people: Factories are closing, construction is grinding down, and school teachers, office workers, and even police are beginning to protest that they are not being paid. As during earlier crises in the People's Republic (including the Mao years), the weakest people in society are the most vulnerable. Human Rights Watch has issued a report warning that "the economic crisis could well spark a ‘race to the bottom' in rights protections." Migrant laborers--who are primarily young, female, from rural villages, and denied the rights of legal residency at their workplaces--are most at risk.

But for the ordinary people in China's authoritarian political system, the pain of an economic slump is also laced with some benefits. Here are three:

--Perry Link

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