By Nicholas Wapshott
The New York Sun
September 20, 2007
Fearful of a repeat of the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests of 1989, which were brutally put down by the military and drew worldwide condemnation, the communist gvernment of China has issued an order freezing the prices of state-controlled commodities until the end of the year in a bid to slow galloping inflation.
The Chinese Communist Party is afraid that growing unrest among workers may lead to protests to coincide with next month’s Communist Party Congress, a meeting held every five years to reallocate senior party positions, a government decree this week suggests.
The Beijing administration is anxious that the rapid hike in food prices, which have risen 18.2% in the last 12 months, will lead to widespread street protests by the country’s poor agricultural workers, who make up 60% of the population. The price of meat has risen 49% over the past year, prompted largely by a shortage of pork after outbreaks of “blue ear” disease.
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