12/31/2011 10:49 am ET

The Global Economy Depends On China's Rural Population

Two weeks ago peasants in Wukan, a fishing village in the prosperous southern Chinese province of Guangdong, took over their village, throwing out local leaders. Because of long unanswered grievances, they risked their lives, barricading roads into the village and facing down the police. Their central concern was the sale of collectively owned village land to property developers, which has impoverished most residents while enriching their leaders.

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