A Horrific Crash Sets Off Online Anger in China – NYTimes.com

19 Nov

As China sped toward its new status as the world’s second largest economy, the already yawning gap between the rich and poor grew wider. By sociologists’ calculations, income inequality here is not that far from levels that have spurred social unrest in other nations.

But some things are not easily reduced to statistics. There is an argument, buttressed by the Gansu tragedy, that what truly eats at people here is not so much the rich-poor gap as the canyon that separates the powerful from the powerless.

“Most Chinese aren’t angry about rising inequality,” said Martin K. Whyte, a Harvard sociologist who specializes in research on Chinese social trends. “It’s not rich versus poor. It’s the system of power and procedural injustices that they’re upset about.”

And in fact, many episodes in the litany of scandal and misfortune that has consumed Chinese Web surfers in recent years had little to do with money.

via A Horrific Crash Sets Off Online Anger in China – NYTimes.com.

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