China’s “squandered potential”

There were so many comments to the earlier post China Snag by William Stimson that I’m sure not everyone could slog through them all. So I wanted to call attention to one of the comments that resonated with me and make sure it received the attention it deserves. It’s from a new commenter, NiuBi4, who I hope will comment more in the future.
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I should like to add my full support to the sentiments expressed by Mr. William Stimson. He gets the China point entirely. Full Marks.

We should carefully read the posts of steve, leo etc above to understand the exqusite, tragic irony that their point of view represents.

Guys, let me set u straight:

1. ‘Taiwan Independence’ is a dead end story. It is not any kind of key issue – it is simply an accidental by-product of the current
dysfunctional Chinese geo-political landscape – and it is certainly not what Mr. Stimson is calling for in his piece.

2. If the Chinese people of the world found themselves capable of uniting sufficiently and worked together to create a Chinese political universe which alllowed for the emergence of the individual and the release of the true creative human potential of the ordinary people, then and ONLY then will the Chinese nation displace its true weight in the world commensurate with their actual numerical status of approx. 25% of the world population.

3. The nightmare scenario of the world laughing at a ‘collapsed’ China is already here! Not because China is physically broken up or exploited by those always lurking ‘foreign’ powers but, as Mr. Stimson wisely observes ‘China’s rulers, like their predecessors, have not just robbed China, but they’ve robbed the world of China.’ !

4. The best scenario that could ever happen to China for those who some people imagine would wish to ‘contain’ China or prevent it from being a ‘non-neglectabe player in the world after a hundred year humiliation and disasters’ is for the current CCP tyranny to simply continue indefinitely! Bacause for as long as the majority world Chinese population has its potential, resourcefullness and intelligece negated by their humiliating submission to an arrogant mafia-style government the Chinese impact in the real world will always be far less than their numbers, history and culture truly deserve.

5. The key point is that by bravely and sucessfully floating democratic politics and dumping the 20th century Chinese one-party dictatorship model, Taiwan is already ‘independent’ of the dumb twilight quarrantine from which those living under the violence-based police-state dictatorship of CCP China have yet to emerge and which is now becoming ever more apparent to the once-free Hongkongers. Mr. Stimsons’ point is that Taiwan, in fact is already ‘independent’. It is the ‘independence’ of Mainland China itself that those who care about individual Chinese people and their nation as a whole must seek to bring about. That is if the world is ever to accord China and the Chinese people the respect as individuals and as a nation that all free people and free nations have a right to demand.

6. For as long as the CCP can get away with making the steves and leos of this world feel ‘patriotic’ and ‘proud to be Chinese ‘ etc etc [!!] as a result of a few technical adjustments to the economic system within the dictatorship they will continue laughing, shaking their heads in amazement at their luck. And why not? The great lie of their CCP = China formula continues to sell to steve, leo etc. and it keeps them in business so successfully, in ways that even they could not have imagined when they began their adventure.

The world is a greatly poorer place as a result of the squandered potential of the millions of ordinary Chinese people that we see all around us daily in the PRC. Just because the majority of those individuals currently have either no idea of what they are missing or are just tired and benumbed by the constant bragging of their masters claiming credit for what little ‘normalization’ of daily life and resulting outward ‘glitter’ has been acheived by the recent reforms.

Those who fear the consequences in the world of freedom for all Chinese are served well by the CCP and are dutifully assisted by the half-informed steves and leos.
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NiuBi4, there’s noting more I can say. Only, “Thank you.”

______________

Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

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The Discussion: 43 Comments

For many Chinese, It is not the problem whether or not they really need a democratic system, but the problem of when and how. Often as engineers themselves, leaders in China care about the practical routes and the aftermath. I admire Shanghai Slim. He’s got a much broader view. Look at this world, I bet someone like Niubi4 won’t be able answer my following question:
Which former poor developing country or region became the developed one today after a westernized democratic reform since its independence? At least give me one example to boost my confidence on democratic reform and your article.

My other questions will be:
Are there more examples indicating that somewhere somehow people got rich and freedom eventually under some kind of authoritarian regime?
I know Richard don’t care economy, but it seems so important for everything.

Are there some examples indicating that a premature democratic system may lead to
nazi-like dictatorship?

Before you are sure that you can answer these questions clearly, I won’t read the passionate poems by Niubi4s anymore.

May 29, 2005 @ 6:42 pm | Comment

Wow, my name is in this post. The first time I read this post, I feel it is not worth discussing the post. Since Richard highlight this post, out of courtesy to Richard, in a territory paid by him anyway, let me try to clarify a few points.

My take is that, in this post, with so many slogans, its key point is still the same as Stimson’s, “get rid of CCP, China will be so much better”. Maybe two additional lines, “Do not be afraid of consequence of freedom.” and “Steve and leo are brainwashed by CCP”.

This post reads very much like old CCP’s propaganda brochure. A key feature of this kind of propaganda is that, it includes a lot of SELF-CLAIMED truth, and ignore the complexity of the world.

One good example is old CCP’s slogan, “we want equality”. Well, upon hear it, you will say, sounds good, equality is surely a good thing. So, how to achieve equality, let us rob the rich and give it to the poor.

Similarly, the fellow will say, “get rid of CCP. freedom will make China so much better”. Your first reaction is, “yeah, freedom is good. I do not like CCP anyway.” But how to get there? by mass revolt? by coup? … Any roadmap, like Russia, or india or East Europe?

Let me share with you one famous slogan, “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.” Sounds good, uh? You know the rest of the story. Bottomline, a devil you know is better than a devil you do not know.

May 29, 2005 @ 7:58 pm | Comment

Are there more examples indicating that somewhere somehow people got rich and freedom eventually under some kind of authoritarian regime?

How about Taiwan? How about the US?

Steve, I don’t recall anyone saying get rid of the CCP and freedopm will flow. I think the argument has been more along the lines of implement reforms that gradually lead to freedom — reforms that so many of us had hoped Hu, the great reformer, was going to make. No one in his right mind believes throwing out the CCP overnight will solve Chiina’s woes and no one has said any such thing. So please, don’t put words in people’s mouths! And please just tell us the truth — you love the CCP, don’t you?

May 29, 2005 @ 9:34 pm | Comment

” I think the argument has been more along the lines of implement reforms that gradually lead to freedom — reforms that so many of us had hoped Hu, the great reformer, was going to make.”

I am with you on this.

“And please just tell us the truth — you love the CCP, don’t you?”

To put it this way, I trust CCP much more than Stimson. What is dear to Stimson’s heart is Taiwan independence, not the prosperity of China. The only way to get Stimson’s wish is for China to collapse. That is a devil I am firmly against.

In Shanghai, there is a place called xin tian di. It is rich people’s (capitalist) favorite site to hang out. Next to it is the founding site for CCP’s 1st meeting and the first line of CCP charter is: make capitalist class disappear (or kill).

The great irony there reflects the capacity for CCP to adapt.
Think in this way. Roman catholic church used to burned 20,000 people to death. But it adapts and it is still a repectable institution.

May 29, 2005 @ 10:28 pm | Comment

I would like to pick up NuiB4′s first point about Taiwan.
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“‘Taiwan Independence’ is a dead end story. It is not any kind of key issue – it is simply an accidental by-product of the current dysfunctional Chinese geo-political landscape”
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With respect NiuB4 (as you’ve obviously put some thought into your post–unlike some regular commenters here)….what absolute rubbish.

Your statement is simply using flowery, high-brow “geo-political” language to say exactly the same thing as the chinese govt, i.e. WE don’t want Taiwan to be independent so WE conveniently REFUSE to acknowledge the pro-Taiwan feelings of the 23 million residents of Taiwan because it doesn’t fit into OUR world view.

It saddens me when the majority of people who talk about Taiwan independence as being a “dead end” and espousing a zero-tolerance approach (and I’m including mainland chinese here) have never been to Taiwan, many will never go.

Like many here, I was fortunate enough to live in Taipei for a number of years and when I left Taiwan I was sure in the knowledge that a majority does not wish for any form of political integration with china (and if recent polls are considered this relatively new resurgence of Taiwanese identity is growing).

If one reads The Art of War (more accurately ‘The Art of Deception’) one would understand the chinese govt’s current tactics a whole lot more.

Launching a war with Taiwan, that china might not even win, carries so many ‘ifs and ‘buts’ and risks such a massive and costly political, diplomatic and economic fall-out, that no chinese govt would ever be so foolhardy and so lacking in foresight as to seriously risk the consequences of an attack.

Therefore, what do the CCP do? Threaten, threaten, threaten and espouse a zero-tolerance approach….without actually DOING anything.

This approach also provides their KMT allies with potential political capital by agreeing that war would be disastrous and urging voters in Taiwan that a vote for the KMT would be a vote for prosperity and peace and a vote for the DPP/TSU is a vote for war and disaster.

I offer the recent speeches of Lian Zhan and Sung Chuyu as evidence of this.

Instead of talking about the validity, causes and consequences of Taiwan independence, I would respectfully ask you to unplug yourself from the Pan-Han Tribe Nationalist world view long enough to consider the democratic choices and aspirations of the 23 million souls that you so conveniantly fail to acknowledge.

Thanks.

P.S.
(responses from “JR” will not be answered)

May 30, 2005 @ 12:49 am | Comment

Martyn,

Why are you getting upset with me??? I didn’t expose the fact that you were misleading readers with your majority of Taiwanese wanting independence under any circumstances with your Taiwan’s poll.

May 30, 2005 @ 1:10 am | Comment

————————————————–
- 16.0% be independent quickly

- 9.7% keep the status quo forever

- 7.4% keep the status quo, and then work towards independence

- 41.2% keep the status quo and then watch what happens

- 9.7% keep the status quo forever

- 7.8% keep the status quo and then unite with China

- 6.1% unify with China quickly

- 11.9% don’t know/no response
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With the above poll provided by Martyn himself in the previous thread, I wonder why he is still insisting the majority of Taiwanese people wanting independence under any circumstances. Can anyone else comprehend?

May 30, 2005 @ 1:28 am | Comment

I would add to Martyn’s post that the CCP have badly painted themselves into a corner over the Tawian “issue”.

It means, for instance, that they cannot possibly back down from the present rhetoric and/or fail to adequately act if Taiwan’s government took steps to change it’s ROC status or one of 100 possible things that would further distance the island from China.

As we saw with the recent extrodinary anti-Japanese protests, the CCP have pumped so much nationalism and anti-foreign xenophobia into the population that they would not accept any perceived climbdown by the Chinese government.

Again, the CCP are playing an extrodinarily dangerous game.

May 30, 2005 @ 2:28 am | Comment

I’ll be interested to see which way the CCP decides to jump next in its Taiwan policy. They tried bully-boy tactics to try to indimidate Taiwan voters, who responded with a resounding “stuff you” … so recently they’ve tried the “we’ll be nice to you if you vote KMT” … and the next election (for the constitutional congress) resulted in what I believe to be the first time the DPP has gained more votes than the KMT. OK, sure, the turn-out was pretty pathetic, but all you have to do is look at a graph of voting patterns to realise that the momentum is slipping away from the KMT, and the DPP (and now the TSU) will only grow in future.

So … bully boy tactics don’t work. Being nice to the opposition party doesn’t seem to work. So what next? My guess is that they’ll stick to the “be nice to the KMT” line for a while longer and when that fails to produce the result they want, it’ll be back to intimidation and shouting, with even more serious intent than last time …

Oh, and I highly encourage JR and Martyn to get stuck into each-other. It always makes threads more interesting.

May 30, 2005 @ 3:35 am | Comment

Thank-you Richard for your comments on my post. And thanks for this web site as well, by the way.

I just thought I would offer some clarification to Martyn.

Perhaps beacuse I wrote my post in a hotel room in a hurry to avoid late check-out charges [!] I did not have much time to re-read it and clarify the context of some of my comments, particularly numbered point 1. as follows:

…………….

1. ‘Taiwan Independence’ is a dead end story. It is not any kind of key issue – it is simply an accidental by-product of the current
dysfunctional Chinese geo-political landscape – and it is certainly not what Mr. Stimson is calling for in his piece.

……………

I did not wish to imply any denial or dismissal of the aspirations of the people of Taiwan on the ‘independence’ issue.

That was definitely not my intended meaning. I have family in Taiwan myself and I know exactly how they feel – and I share many of Martyns’ concerns.

Rather, I was trying to express the opinion that the Taiwan independence question itself is rendered moot when viewed from the larger perspective of the what the majority of Chinese people would regard as being in their long term interest:

Either:

Some kind of 1000 Year Reich under an unquestioned CCP dictatorship [inculding a violently-absorbed Taiwan + the already absorbed HK/Macao]

Or:

A free, prosperous and probably globally-dominant Greater China governed by a Chinese form of accountable democracy where no individual or organization is above or is entitled to their own interpretation of the law.

Such a place could and should exist, but it will not unless Chinese of ability combine to create a civil society that is specifically designed to defend against their ancient instinct to submit to dictatorial ‘strong leaders’.

This syndrome has survived from the days of Qin Shi Huang Di himself thru the KMT, the CCP and even – albeit in a more sophisticated way -Mr. Lee Kwan Yew.

The plain fact is:

If all of the Chinese living around the world had every reason to trust and to feel truly represented by their Motherland’s form of government; and felt they could live simply as ‘normal’ free and fearless people under that government – THEN the Chinese people of the entire globe would be automatically united. And not just those who happen to reside in traditional ‘Chinese’ territories.

Then, there really would be only ‘One China. And what a ‘One China’ that would be.

I for one am not sure if we shall see that day during our lifetimes, but I have chosen to live my life as though it WERE possible – which I guess is the next best thing.

May 30, 2005 @ 6:07 am | Comment

NiuBi4

I apologise, I should have taken more time to put your Taiwan comments in the context of your whole post.

I can see it now–and it’s my mistake, not yours.

You throw up a load of interesting points–thanks for taking the time to post them–I’ll re-read the above more carefully next time and respond more appropriately.

Thanks.

May 30, 2005 @ 6:50 am | Comment

“China’s “squandered potential”"

Niubu4, a new commenter over at the Peking Duck has facilitated an interesting dicussion with some very interesting points for pondering in regards to China and Taiwan. Definitely worth checking out!

May 30, 2005 @ 8:35 am | Comment

Mainland Chinese should read more Chinese language news from Yahoo Taiwan to understand the real feeling of Taiwanese people.

http://tw.news.yahoo.com/twoshore/

You will be surprised a lot of Taiwanese still call themselves Chinese and enjoy reading traditional Chinese classics and some of the most critical articles against the Japanese right wing movement were from Taiwan, not Hong Kong or China.

http://tw.news.yahoo.com/050530/39/1w3rb.html

May 30, 2005 @ 10:51 am | Comment

no apology necessary Martyn. My fault for not making the point more clearly.

May 30, 2005 @ 1:46 pm | Comment

Martyn: is it possible to access Yahoo Taiwan from Mainland China?

May 30, 2005 @ 9:20 pm | Comment

Peter

tw.yahoo.com –I tried half a dozen times and I can’t access it. I’m in Guangzhou by the way.

http://news.yahoo.com/fc/World/Taiwan

I can access Taiwan news, full coverage, but not the standard Yahoo Taiwan.

May 31, 2005 @ 1:24 am | Comment

I guess JR is so detached from reality that he thinks you can access Yahoo! Taiwan from China. I’m sure plenty of people would learn a lot from Yahoo Taiwan, but it is blocked.

However, as always, thanks to JR, the supreme representative of the Taiwanese people, for helping us to “understand the real feeling of Taiwanese people.”

May 31, 2005 @ 2:00 am | Comment

I can’t help laughing.

A pile of out of context *.

May 31, 2005 @ 8:20 am | Comment

Does picking up selective sentences from a number of others’ opinions to make up such a collage really cater to some of you?

May 31, 2005 @ 9:30 am | Comment

While worrying about China and its potential, perhaps we, the Americans and any others who are interested from their perspective, should worry and think about BushCo’s stupid governance and the resulting of its squandering America’s heritage and future to his drive for imperial dominance (senior Bush is now publicly proposing Jeb Bush run for president) and the necessary servitude of the American public to
that imperial paradigm.

Bush’s press conference statement yesterday about the transparency and accountability of the operations at Gitmo following the torture allegations from Amnesty International was the naked exposure of the untruth of Bush (Cheney also made an outrageous statement yesterday in response to Amnesty). Bush has no clothes.

But I am curious about how he can stand before the nation and lie and continue to lie. Is it just a matter that he has to protect his actions and administration, or does he really believe what he says is the truth or is he a congenital liar saying what is needed (in his mind) to promote himself or his programs?

Do we have to endure this joke of a man for 3 1/2 years more or can and will something be done to get rid of him.

Amnesty Int’l said he and Rumsfeld could be arrested and prosecuted by any country that sign the Convention against Torture. My vote is for that to happen to both men. They are blights on our country.

May 31, 2005 @ 7:46 pm | Comment

Kevin.

I am not in China, I don’t know if people can access to one website or not. I apologize if you think it is a big deal.

I don’t represent Taiwan but Yahoo Taiwan news does. It includes and concludes most of the important news sources from Taiwan left, right and centre, FYI.

June 1, 2005 @ 2:13 am | Comment

you don’t know if people can access Taiwanese websites?

hmmm….

i think that says a lot about your “on the ground experience” and “real life knowledge” of China.

June 1, 2005 @ 3:49 am | Comment

Kevin>

Our Venerable Sage mentioned in an earlier thread that he has never set foot in mainland China before.

It certainly explains a lot.

June 1, 2005 @ 4:19 am | Comment

About CCP, I don’t think most mainlanders still consider it as the savior of China, and nobody thinks it is good(lesser of two evils maybe), but many do think, or hope, that it will transform, or adapt(in steve’s word), and lead China to prosperity and democracy. I totally agree with Niubi4 that the lack of freedom and the control of information robbed many of their potentials. But Tuode has a very good point too. The existance of CCP has a lot to do with culture.
The blame of the current situation should lay on each every one of us mainlanders. We and our forefathers, and no one else, have let this happen. Now the question is, how do we change this, should we wait for CCP to adapt and transform?
About Taiwan and its independence. This issue has evoked so much emotion, but in the minds of those who control the scene, it is just a game. Mainland has benefited tremedously economically from a de facto independent Taiwan so far, and I belive an independent Taiwan in the future will benefit Mainland even more. The tension, and the attention focused on it, are just what leaders on both sides want.

June 1, 2005 @ 8:51 am | Comment

“The blame of the current situation should lay on each every one of us mainlanders. We and our forefathers, and no one else, have let this happen. ”

It might be exicting to play sm, but don’t overplay it!

June 1, 2005 @ 9:38 am | Comment

Is he overplaying it by saying the Chinese people (or any people) are responsible for their destinies?

June 1, 2005 @ 9:42 am | Comment

Only Chinese themselves are responsible and accountable for this current situation.

Another kind of extremism

June 1, 2005 @ 9:45 am | Comment

It’s like telling Iraqis you deserve all the mess you got. Who else can you blame since sadam is one of your own?

June 1, 2005 @ 9:51 am | Comment

No, there are often factors beyond people’s control that they might not be responsible for (the Jews weren’t responsible for the Holocaust, China wasn’t responsible for its colonization). The Chinese have been victims at times in their history, as has just about every society at some point. They are not responsible for that, but they are ultimately responsible for their destiny, with what they do when they have control of the situation.

June 1, 2005 @ 9:55 am | Comment

Couldn’t agree more.

June 1, 2005 @ 10:01 am | Comment

I was talking about CCP when I said that blame lay on ourself. Another reason I think that way is because many people in mainland have some connection to CCP.

I do think “only Chinese themselves are responsible and accountable for this current situation” in China. Who else is? Who else will?

June 1, 2005 @ 1:16 pm | Comment

To be a bit unreasonable, where did communisim come from? Why were most communist countries around the soviet? Why did MZD thank Japan for their role in helping ccp to take over China?

In your logic, it seems the Chinese had inborn favour in and attraction to all those bad stuff.

June 1, 2005 @ 1:51 pm | Comment

Why were most communist countries around the soviet?

You mean like Cuba, Nicaragua and Vietnam?

Another part of the answer is that the USSR was so geographically immense, if you are nearly anywhere in Asia or Europe you’re going to be in the soviet vicinity.

June 1, 2005 @ 2:01 pm | Comment

“You mean like Cuba, Nicaragua and Vietnam?

Another part of the answer is that the USSR was so geographically immense, if you are nearly anywhere in Asia or Europe you’re going to be in the soviet vicinity.”

Yes, you are right. That was not a good example.

Let’s consider it not from geographical vicinity, but the fact that USSR made enormous effort to export communism which even by itself is seditious and illusive enough.

June 1, 2005 @ 2:15 pm | Comment

Now you’re talking, Bing. Quite right.

June 1, 2005 @ 2:21 pm | Comment

A word of warning or info. The “pete” commenter as you scroll down who posted June 1, 2005 4:19am is not me. I would like him to change his handle or, Richard can you change it for him as you know our email addresses. This “pete” has shown up on one other thread on this blog. I hope to avoid confusing you all. Thanks.

I think I first posted the idea that the Chinese people should take more responsibility for their own political system. I still think it is a valid observation. Mao and his henchmen, thugs, soldiers, dupes, willing participants, whatever you want to call them, murdered many thousands if not millions of Chinese who were “black,” i.e., landowners, rich people, business people, educated people who either resisted Mao and the CCP take over or were thought to be potentially difficult to deal with in setting up the new Government. (A pattern well establish in imperial times by new dynasties, kill all the potentially troublesome members of the old regime.) From some of the things I have seen and read it was at times a promoted frenzy of the peasants against the accused. Not a pretty thing. Then Mao promoted the 100 Flowers bloom thing and mudered or imprisioned thousands of intellectuals. Then Mao promoted the “Great Leap Forward,” a scheme only ignorant men could have dreamed up and believed could advance China’s industrial abilities and allow China to overtake the West in iron production, as Mao or one of his equally ignorant subordinates claimed, resulting in a famine that reportedly killed 30 million souls in China. Then Mao dream up the murderous and destructive scheme of the Cultural Revolution with many millions more murdered, injured or deprived of their dreams of advancement and much destruction of the cultural and historical relics of the Chinese civilization. For what? So Mao could stay in power to guide a backward country to more disasters or let his wife take over with a murderous agenda? What do the Chinese do, declared Mao 70% good. WTF. Mao was good at getting the peasants to participate in gaining control of the country from the corrupt and stupid KMT and setting up the New China government. He should have stopped there. Or the people should have put him out to pasture at that time. I believe Peng Dehuai was working in that direction, but Mao did him in in a classic Imperial-like action to flay him alive, figuratively.

So who is to be responsible for China’s peculiar current history? Most thinking Chinese it seems to me ducked for cover, thought only about themselves and families and would not stand up to criminals and murderers running their lives. I can really understand that, as I am probably just, what should I say, just as cowardly as they, when the Chinese governments always, it seems, has been extraordinarily ruthless and had so much control over the populous including the CCP/government. However, I don’t see that “foreigners” can be blamed for all this, unless you say foreigners should have invaded China to stop all the murdering and uncivilized behavior, but did not; take your pick in 1947-49, in 1959, in the early 1960s or after the CR was instituted. Imagine the world war we would have had then.

Well that is history, but the Chinese live on with as much potential for good or bad as any peoples, but it would be a shame if the best, and brightest the willing, the ambitious were not promoted, encouraged and allowed to move ahead and motivate the rest as well, even if it means many of the narrow thoughts and beliefs of the CCP people have to be changed through re-education (not by force as the CCP does, but by persuasion and openmindedness.)

Other “pete,” can you find a new handle?

June 1, 2005 @ 10:44 pm | Comment

The June 4th roundup

The approach of June 4 means it’s that time of year: arrest time. First it was Ching Cheong. Now Reuters is reporting the arrest of members of the Chinese Acadamey of Social Sciences, one of the country’s top think-tanks. As usual, no one is quite sure…

June 2, 2005 @ 2:14 am | Comment

“In your logic, it seems the Chinese had inborn favour in and attraction to all those bad stuff.”

I did not say that. I was born and grew up in rural China. I have a STRONG attachment to China and Chinese culture.

If China had developed a free society with the potential of each individual fullfilled, or something even close to that, would you think USSR or Japan had a chance?

Society developement has its own course, but the people have major impact on it. We better off thinking about what WE have to do to make China a better place. Attention on external factors will only make us lose our focus, and leave us stuck in victimhood.

June 2, 2005 @ 8:16 am | Comment

Yang, I think you are right. What’s done is done. It’s important to understand how we got to where we are now, but beyond that, we have to move forward.

June 3, 2005 @ 1:46 am | Comment

From a historical perspective, many of these countries became communism or had a state controlled economy because the leaders thought it would bring a greater good to the people. Russia under Stalin had 5 Year Plans to modernize and industrialize the economy which was relatively successful. Mao tried to imitate the 5 Year Plans which lead to the fiasco of the Great Leap Forward. But for a time, these state controlled economies did grow faster than the capitalist ones.

Countries like Cuba and Vietnam were fighting off colonial powers. They became communist because you don’t adopt the economic structure of your enemies but of your allies. Some Arab states that tried to adopt the Soviet economic model were Iran and Iraq but these eventually collapsed.

Many of these countries were just newly independent having thrown off a colonial power. Their people were mostly poor and illiterate since the colonial power had no interest in helping the people. The leaders choose communism or a milder form of it because they thought it would bring a greater benefit to their people. Nowadays we know of the sleeping sickness that comes of a socialist economy.

June 3, 2005 @ 6:35 pm | Comment

pete:

Done.

June 4, 2005 @ 6:16 am | Comment

R-

In answer to your question on a later topic; yes, you are definitely being blocked. I can read this article if I link directly from its link on Gordon’s site, but when I click your “main” button, the site appears briefly until the censors catch it, then is quickly wiped out.

June 5, 2005 @ 7:34 pm | Comment

Sam, thanks for the news, bad though it is. I only hope it’s temporary.

June 5, 2005 @ 7:37 pm | Comment

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