China Media Project Fellow Reports Epidemic Levels of Insecurity in China

Yang Hengjun (杨恒均), an expert on international affairs, writer of spy fiction, business executive and fellow of the JMSC’s China Media Project, has written an article in the South China Morning Post about the insecurity felt by large swathes of people in mainland China.

The article looks at the lack of security provided in China and claims it’s due to wealth disparity, social inequality, and, above all, the lack of institutional protections and rule of law. Yang first posted it on his blog; the article was subsequently translated by David Bandurski, Research Associate at the China Media Project, and published in the SCMP on December 24, 2010.

Yang cites a recent nationwide survey which found that nearly 50% of government officials, 73.5 per cent of internet users, 57.8 per cent of white-collar workers and 55.4 per cent of writers and academics identify themselves as “vulnerable”.

“In a fair and prosperous society, in a stable and harmonious society, in a society safeguarded by rule of law, everyone is equal, everyone is the boss of himself, and everyone is the boss of his nation,” wrote Yang. “In such a society, the numbers of those belonging to so-called “vulnerable groups” are also substantially reduced.”

Yang has been online for five years and blogging for three; he averages 150,000 readers a day, according to Bandurski.

“In the absence of a good system, and in the absence of rule of law, the poor risk being exploited by the rich, the rich risk being swallowed by the powerful, the powerful risk being tormented and toyed with by the still more powerful, and the still more powerful are tormented in turn by waves of public opinion, fearing that a reckoning lurks around the corner,” wrote Yang. “We all become “vulnerable groups”. And we all become vulnerable to the accusation that we enjoy too much privilege.”

Yang’s writings on China have garnered him criticism. He’s been branded a “traitor” and a “running dog of the West” since he started blogging, for speaking openly about issues he sees as wrong in China.

Articles written by fellows of the China Media Project and translated by Bandurski are published regularly in the SCMP.