Don't Lower the River, Raze the Farm

Historically there's been great tension in China between the rural areas and the richer, urban (coastal) regions. That's true in most any country, but it's been a particular sore spot for China. When the city dwellers get to big for their britches, the peasant-based army comes in to put them down.

That's the reason why, during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the Beijing-based 38th Army failed to restore order. And why other armies were brought in from the sticks to do the actual shooting.

That's what I thought of when I caught an Ann Althouse bit via Glenn. From the original NYT report:

China is pushing ahead with a sweeping plan to move 250 million rural residents into newly constructed towns and cities over the next dozen years — a transformative event that could set off a new wave of growth or saddle the country with problems for generations to come.

The government, often by fiat, is replacing small rural homes with high-rises, paving over vast swaths of farmland and drastically altering the lives of rural dwellers. So large is the scale that the number of brand-new Chinese city dwellers will approach the total urban population of the United States — in a country already bursting with megacities.

Looks like the smart city kids figured out a solution to their problem: Outlaw the boonies.