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Sparks of instability

Overview

Single-issue local protests have mushroomed in China. Given their fragmented nature and different causes, they do not present a uniform threat to the regime, but show growing readiness by citizens to defend their interests against authority. The scale of the protests presents the one-party regime with a containment problem it is finding it hard to resolve.

The Hu Jintao administration favours a conciliatory approach to avoid fanning trouble. But it faces the problem that the...

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