China / Society

Report identifies sources of mass protests

By Hou Liqiang (China Daily) Updated: 2014-04-09 10:02

Report identifies sources of mass protests

A man participates in a protest in Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, opposing construction of a chemical plant in May 2013. Provided to China Daily
Most-common incidents caused by labor disputes, land acquisitions

Public protests since 2000 were usually sparked by labor disputes, land acquisitions, forced demolitions, pollution, traffic accidents and incidents involving ethnic groups, a major report found.

However, one researcher raised concerns that the report did not reflect the "true situation" in China because it was based solely on mainstream media coverage.

Forty-four percent of public protests involved people venting their opposition to officials' actions, according to the report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"Mass incidents" are defined incidents involving more than 100 protesters - some have involved more than 10,000.

The Annual Report on China's Rule of Law No 12 (2014) is based on research into 871 mass incidents involving more than 2.2 million people that occurred between Jan 1, 2000, and Sept 30, 2013. Incidents that were reported only on micro blogs or online forums were excluded - an omission that concerned researchers.

"The research includes only incidents reported by the mainstream media and may not show the whole situation," said Shan Guangnai, from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Shan said the government needs to change its development model, which he said gives too much attention to GDP but little to the environment, which is increasingly becoming a political issue as more of the public questions the effectiveness of anti-pollution measures.

"Officials should also change their approach to work," Shan said. "In land acquisitions and forced demolitions, for example, many officials often overlook public interest."

The report recorded that 590 of the 871 protes

ts involved up to 1,000 people, accounting for 67.7 percent of the incidents.

Incidents involving 1,001 to 10,000 people, 271 in all, accounted for 31.1 percent of the total. Just 10 incidents, or 1.1 percent, involved more than 10,000 people. Among the 10 mass incidents, five were sparked by pollution issues, the report said.

The report also found that 36 of the mass incidents resulted in fatalities, with 79 people killed.

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