Rising Protests in China

As China grows into its role as a 21st-century economic powerhouse, its government is struggling with the growth of popular unrest. Groups of Chinese citizens, from small bands of workers to entire villages, have been staging protests across the massive nation with increasing frequency. According to research by the Chinese Academy of Governance, the number of protests in China doubled between 2006 and 2010, rising to 180,000 reported "mass incidents." The uprisings are responses to myriad issues, primarily official corruption, government land grabs, Tibetan autonomy, and environmental problems. Late last year, the residents of Wukan -- angered by a land grab by corrupt officials -- rose up and briefly seized control of their village. After several days, the government gave in, admitting to mistakes and vowing to crack down on corruption. Villagers were also allowed to hold their first-ever secret ballot elections, apparently free from Communist Party interference. On February 11, 2012, Wukan residents elected their own governing committee, with a voter turnout of 85 percent.

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