Amidst increasing social unrest, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has made substantial cuts to the number of local police stations, raising concerns among China observers about the state of the country’s economy and the potential for a regime collapse. Analysts draw parallels with the eve of the former East European Communist Bloc’s collapse in 1989, as the CCP grapples with financial challenges and growing discontent.
Local media, including the Meizhou Daily in Guangdong Province, reported on November 10 that the Meizhou Municipal Public Security Bureau had canceled two police stations, citing the need to “effectively integrate existing police resources.” Similarly, public security bureaus in Qingdao, Yantai, and Weifang in Shandong Province have announced plans to “dismantle and consolidate” local police stations.
China’s economy has been on a downward trajectory, compounded by a sluggish real estate market and record-high local government debts. Lai Jianping, a former lawyer in mainland China, emphasized the financial strain faced by local governments, stating that they are on the brink of bankruptcy, unable to sustain salaries and benefits for civil servants.
“They can’t even pay salaries, the finances are unsustainable, and many local governments are going bankrupt,” warned Lai Jianping. “It’s really hard to sustain, and in the face of social conflicts, they are laying off people, cutting positions and salaries.”
Cheng Chin-mo, an associate professor at Tamkang University in Taiwan, highlighted the connection between local government debts and salary cuts for civil servants, leading to increased fines and widespread financial strain on ordinary citizens. He expressed concern that these measures would contribute to significant social unrest.
“If the finances could still support and maintain it, they would not get to this point, especially not to weaken departments such as the police, prosecutors, and even the auxiliary police and security,” remarked Lai Jianping.
Analysts predict a potential backlash as social conflicts intensify, with a negative impact on the morale and effectiveness of stability maintenance agencies. Cheng Chin-mo argued that the reduction in policing forces is indicative of the beginning of the collapse of the Chinese Communist regime, foreshadowing social unrest and chaos, particularly given the high youth unemployment rate.
“These people who have been laid off may fight back,” warned Lai Jianping, noting that many were not driven by ideals or morals but were at the bottom of society trying to make a living. “In order to make a living, they may do anything, even join gangs.”
Cheng Chin-mo further drew historical parallels, stating, “Through research, especially from the collapse of the communist regimes in Central and Eastern European countries at that time, this is part of the disintegration of the entire social order.” He predicted that downsizing the military might be the next step, potentially leading to an organized and trained anti-government force in the future.
As the CCP implements drastic measures, the world watches closely, anticipating the potential consequences of these decisions on the stability of the Chinese regime and the broader geopolitical landscape.