More problems on the way in China....
The Chinese are preparing themselves for some serious problems.
CHINA has established elite police squads equipped with armoured vehicles and helicopters under orders to quell riots in a country where a protest erupts every seven minutes.
The squads are to be stationed in 36 cities, but the largest deployments are in Beijing and Shanghai as the Communist Party asserts its hold on power and gears up for the 2008 Olympic Games.
The latest team was inaugurated this week in the city of Zhengzhou, in central Henan province, China’s most heavily populated, with more than a hundred million people. More people sue the Government in Henan than in any other region.
People are becoming bolder in voicing their grievances in a society in which economic liberalisation has created a yawning gap between urban rich and rural poor, and under an authoritarian system that offers numerous opportunities for officials to get rich through corruption.
Officials said that the squads of 600 men had undergone training to battle terrorism, crush riots and respond to other emergencies. The men, the elite of the police force, have acquired skills such as survival techniques and fighting in hostile environments.
In recent years, popular protests have surged in China over disputes ranging from land rights to pensions, the environment and corruption. Several disturbances have turned violent when local governments have ordered in police or armed men. Zhou Yongkang, the Public Security Minister, said recently that the number of mass protests across China soared to more than 74,000 last year, with 3.76 million people taking part, up from 10,000 incidents a decade ago.