China: December 17, 1999

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Unrest continues to grow, with thousands of still employed, or laid off, demonstrating (and sometimes rioting) for back pay. With many older, non-Y2K compliant PCs in use, the government has belatedly realized that they will have some problems after January 1st. So the official day off for New Years will be December 31st instead of January 1st. Another major grievance with the population is official corruption, and for the last few months major crackdowns have taken place in the areas most afflicted. Unlike past actions, this one is rounding up thousands of senior officials, instead of just a few as in the past. The Chinese communists know that they have a tenuous grip on power, and economic problems can directly threaten that power. Millions of workers are still on the payrolls of money losing state enterprises, but to sell these organizations off the the private sector would create even more unemployed, and angry, Chinese.

 

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