And yet, although China weathered the global economic crisis relatively well, there has been one example after another of domestic social unrest. The most notorious was what happened in Wukan in Guangdong Province, where villagers extracted pledges from Communist Party officials to allow local polls to be held in an open manner.
News has travelled fast on social media, such as microblog Weibo, about these developments – faster even, it seems, than the government is able to respond through official state-run media. This is all ultimately tied to the reforms unleashed three decades ago. And it raises the question of whether China can expect even more far-reaching changes as a result of the leadership transition later this year.