Social Insecurity

Like many of the oracular pronouncements of China's Communist Party, the arrest last week of Shanghai Party boss Chen Liangyu had multiple meanings. On one level, the purge of a prominent Politburo member—over allegations that Chen allowed associates to milk Shanghai's pension accounts to fund investments in the city's booming real estate—was widely seen as a political move by President Hu Jintao to consolidate power ahead of next year's Party Congress. On a second level, Chen's arrest, along with the news late last week that real estate speculation was also under scrutiny in other parts of the country, reflected Beijing's seriousness...

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