A magazine published by China's official Xinhua news agency has issued a rare report warning of surging protests and riots this year in the tightly controlled country.
The unusually stark report in Outlook (Liaowang) Magazine warns that the impact of the global financial crisis on China could spark anger, particularly among the increasing number of unemployed migrant workers and university graduates.
The magazine report is based on interviews with three of its own reporters who have extensive experience in covering social unrest in China -- what the government calls "mass incidents."
In the report, Outlook Magazine reporter Huang Huo says China is now entering a peak period for mass incidents. Huang says that in 2009, Chinese society may face even more conflicts and unrest that will test the governing ability of the country's ruling Communist party.
The magazine report says state authorities estimate that close to 10 million migrant workers have lost their jobs. It also estimates that more than seven million university graduates will be looking for jobs in China this year.
However, the report adds that the government's estimate of the economy growing by eight percent in 2009 will generate only eight million jobs for the entire country.
This year is not only sensitive because of the problems China's economy is facing, but it also will be the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square incident. On June fourth, 1989, soldiers and armored vehicles launched an assault against unarmed demonstrators in Beijing's main square.
The exact numbers of people killed, wounded or detained in connection with the Tiananmen Square demonstration are not known. But it is believed that hundreds of activists died and thousands of others were taken into custody during and after the government crackdown.