I speculated the other day about the potential need for China to fragment. Apparently there is a precedent in India. According to Fareed Zakaria's book The Post-American World from pre-Lehman 2008, Winston Churchill is supposed to have said that India is just a geographical term with no more personality than Europe.
Zakaria says "This diversity and division has many advantages. It adds to India's variety and societal energy and it prevents the country from succumbing to dictatorship. When Indira Gandhi tried to run the government in an authoritarian and centralized manner in the 1970s, it simply did not work, provoking violent revolts in six of its regions. Over the last two decades, Indian regionalism has flourished, and the country has found its natural order."
According to Chinese governmental statistics, there were 74,000 protests of some kind in 2004, up from 10,000 ten years earlier.
The Financial Times run an article today about the internet in China where they claim that China has 420m internet users 2010, up from 111m in 2005. Most run their contact from home. Heavily censored, although there are more internet users than people in the US, it affords both societal information spread as well as indoctrination from the government. One would hope that this gargantuan state would regionalize according to fault lines drawn by internet usage.
However, Zakaria did not say that China is a term with different personalities? The question is which is more likely: European federalization or Chinese fragmentation?