Global Times on the Wenzhou train crash, one year later

I was (am) always curious about the seemingly opposing forces at the Global times. Often I was amazed at how far they would go allowing commentators to criticize the CCP, even columns mocking China’s navy and arguing it was hardly ready to participate in any conflict in the South China Sea. So many examples like that. There was a 2009 op-ed praising Deng Yujiao, the karaoke waitress in Badong who stabbed a lascivious government official to death. And a lot more. These were balanced, of course, with xenophobic outbursts, sabre rattling and incredibly paranoid/irrational arguments about the West and the Western media. But still….I was amazed at what got past the censors at what the censors let through. But I never doubted that it was strategic. Nothing got through by accident. Give the people some space to vent, as long as they never cross the line, the fat red line between acceptable criticism and advocating for democracy or for greater freedom in Tibet or for referring to a massacre in 1989.

I wondered about this same thing tonight as I read this piece on the one-year anniversary of the Wenzhou train crash. It’s actually a damn good article; it’s real journalism. Paragraphs like these just pop out at me:

At the scene of the accident, wreaths for the deceased have been removed, memorial poems written on the viaduct pillar have been scrubbed off and there are no signs of the crash. Everything seems to show life has returned to normal. But the local villagers still remember the tragedy vividly.

“I will never forget that night, even now when there’s a thunderstorm and lightning, I am little worried about the viaduct, and worry that such accidents will happen again,” a local resident, who refused to disclose his full name, told the Global Times.

And then there’s this:

Although boasting one of the fastest high-speed trains in the world, the way the Ministry of Railways (MOR) disposed of the wreckage and delayed the results of an investigation into the crash sparked public fury and widespread doubt as to the wisdom of the massive investment in high-speed railways….

Though unwilling to discuss the past, Wang Jian still complained about the MOR. “After the memorial service, the MOR officials fled and have never contacted us ever since. The investigation result was delayed, and the complete name list of all the passengers on the trains has still never been released,” he said.

“The MOR did punish someone, but nobody was even jailed,” Wang complained.

This doesn’t sound like state-controlled propaganda. But maybe it is; maybe it’s doing exactly what the party wants it to do, placing the blame on a specific group of bunglers. I honestly don’t know. The one thing I always thought when I read articles like this, hypercritical of the government, was that it somehow fit within the approved party discourse — that the government was willing to let the media go this far and even encouraged it to do so in some instances, especially when reporting on corruption and local malfeasance.

Is this an example of opening up and greater freedom of the press? Or is it the same old propaganda, disguised as a watchdog media, that is actually planting exactly the stories the government wants it to? I wonder.

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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.

The Discussion: 83 Comments

Notice how Wang Jian conveniently says “MOR officials” instead of “government officials”. I don’t know a lot of people, Chinese or otherwise, who really speak that way…

Actually, the whole article lays blame on the MOR. The article is very narrowly focus and does not address the crash in the context of the quality problems that plague Chinese industry.

And then there’s the mention of the Japanese “Shinkansen accident” that occurred in 2005 and killed 106 passengers. Except in reality, it was a commuter train (Rapid Service) accident, not a Shinkansen/high-speed accident. Small distinction, perhaps, but it wasn’t fact-checked.

July 20, 2012 @ 12:09 pm | Comment

Indeed, I highly doubt this is an example of “opening up” of PRC media, particularly so in light of most observers noting that the exact opposite is happening with media in the area; that is to say, be it because of the 18th party congress and/or the growing uncertainty the PRC faces (economic or otherwise), the clampdown on media only seems to be getting worse (CDT and CMP have some posts on this very subject I’ll link to below).

Given that an easing of media controls seems far-fetched, I would surmise this article’s publishing was either due to the censors failing to catch this article or it is part of a concerted effort by the Ministry of Propaganda to redirect blame solely onto the MOR. I couldn’t really say which one as, unless the article is expunged, it seems unlikely the censors would miss this article for this length of time but, at the same time, I’ve never known PRC propaganda to be that subtle (considering that even “non-tabloid” PRC news sources like China Daily will post things like “A Friend’s Departure” when Kim Jong Il died and, rather then admit any shortcomings in regard to the handling of Tibet, things are painted as being completely fine with no problems whatsoever [I note these China Daily articles in particular as these are part of the PRC's "international outreach program", i.e. designed for audiences for whom such blatant propaganda is readily identified and eschewed for the most part]). Likewise, if this is meant to deflect blame on the MOR, then it is a particularly poorly thought-out one as, to believe the MOR was solely responsible for this debacle, it is necessary to also believe the central government is so ridiculously inept, impotent, and/or corrupt not to notice/correct the misuse of the vast amount of resources given to the Railway Ministry.

Granted, right now we are dealing with a singular article, such that is would be prudent to wait and see if a pattern of similar articles emerges (indicating this was part of a planned effort by the CPC) or fails to do so (indicating this was just a failure to catch the offending article[s] by the censors).

http://cmp.hku.hk/2012/07/19/25507/
http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2012/07/uncertainty-surrounds-newspaper-staff-shuffles/

July 20, 2012 @ 1:30 pm | Comment

For your question at the end, I am pretty sure the answer is the latter.

July 20, 2012 @ 2:47 pm | Comment

I would say this is part of the usual approved narrative. The government and the party are like the Emperor – always having the best interests of the people and country at heart, but are let down by corrupt eunuchs and mandarins.

Wait until you see the Global Times calling upon the President or Prime Minister to take responsibility for what happened and resign. Then you would be on to something.

July 20, 2012 @ 3:12 pm | Comment

I’ve seen these ‘new dawns’ happen every so often now for the last ten years. They never lead to long term progress because their either mistakes on the part of the censor, or acts of rebelliousness by individual publications, or mind-games from the CCP. If the CCP really did want a freer press they’d stop the smack-downs of independent-minded editors – Southern Weekend Daily was the architypical example of this.

And Global Times? The paper itself gets away with allowing this kind of thing to slip through by carrying nationalistic rants and brain-dead pro-CCP commentary. Remember what happened to the journalist who reported that they had been told by the editors that they could report on anything except the private lives of the leadership? Yes, that’s right, he got fired for saying so.

July 20, 2012 @ 7:57 pm | Comment

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/355865/20120625/dalai-lama-mao-zedong-communism-tibetan-buddhism.htm

“He (Mao) appears to me as a father and he himself considered me as a son,” the Dalai Lama said.

“When I was in China, I learnt Marxist economy theory, which has an emphasis on equal distribution…”

July 21, 2012 @ 8:31 am | Comment

Granted, right now we are dealing with a singular article, such that is would be prudent to wait and see if a pattern of similar articles emerges (indicating this was part of a planned effort by the CPC) or fails to do so (indicating this was just a failure to catch the offending article[s] by the censors).

Isn’t this just a bit tautological? A pattern exists = must be a planned propaganda effort by the omniscient, omnipotent censors. No pattern exists = must a slip-up by the omniscient, omnipotent censors.

I think this is an indication of something I’ve always believed for years: Chinese government propaganda is far less monolithic than we think it is, and censorship itself is a business, with censorship services being traded for cash and political favors just like any other bureaucratic actions in China.

Through this lens, then, it simply means that the Global Times runs a piece like this to get the attention of the MOR. It’s a warning shot. After all, everyone knows the MOR is getting fat contracts as part of the new stimulus effort, but everyone also knows that they’re politically unpopular. Easy pickings for a media shakedown.

Likewise, this is why you never see any articles in favor of Ai Weiwei or the Tiananmen Mothers or generalized articles attacking the Party as a whole–there’s no money in it. What does a newspaper exactly gain from running something like that? A week of fame and then a mass shutdown and unpaid bills? No editor would do that.

July 21, 2012 @ 10:18 am | Comment

That this article exists at all and hasn’t been harmonized could suggest that the censors simply whiffed on this one…perhaps the human censors momentarily fell asleep, and there was nothing on the up-to-date list of keywords to raise the ire of the bots. However, that this article exists on GT suggests that this is the preferred (or at the very least, an acceptable) narrative as far as the government is concerned. I mean, the only thing missing is that the GT editor didn’t pen the article himself.

Assuming intent, one can then surmise as to the purpose behind such intent. Maybe it’s to conjure up warm and fuzzies…look everyone, the government mouthpiece is ripping ONE segment of government a new one, meaning that the government is with the people…all in the run up to the upcoming coronation. Or perhaps there are other areas where the government is spinning its wheels, and the economy is not doing as great as it has been, so let’s talk about something where the government did something that people can get behind…even if it was a little late to save lives. Or maybe it’s the government throwing the GT English audience a bone…

July 21, 2012 @ 11:24 am | Comment

@ t_co

You’re presupposing that I was suggesting a binary situation rather than a generalized view of the situation from which further extrapolation may occur; that is to say, you’re inferring that by “pattern” I necessarily mean the simple existence of another article(s) which fulfilled some given criterion rather than the consideration of such matters in a multi-variant contextual framework. My comments at no point espoused a position of there being a unified and cohesive identity and set of standards for the Ministry of Propaganda, though I do regret using the phrase “by the CPC” rather than “by elements within the CPC” in the last section of said (in all fairness, though, it was fairly late when I penned all that).

Trust me, I know only too well how incompetent and non-unified governments and their constituent institutions are; its for that reason, alongside the basic principles behind Occam’s Razor, that most conspiracy theories can be rendered effectively false (i.e. of nugatory probability).

July 21, 2012 @ 12:58 pm | Comment

The Chinese version of the Global Times on July 17 carried an article entitled “Some people have gone too far in criticizing Mao” based on a so-called interview with Harvard professor Tony Saich. The Voice of America which interviewed with Saich in 2009 has repeatedly reported that his remarks were fabricated. Saich’s statement was also circulated online. Obviously, the GT guys, just like the censors, are ill-informed and lack basic journalistic training.

July 21, 2012 @ 2:01 pm | Comment

The Chinese version of the Global Times on July 17 carried an article entitled. “Some people have gone too far in criticizing Mao” based on a so-called interview with Harvard professor Tony Saich. The Voice of America which interviewed with Saich in 2009 has repeatedly reported that his remarks were fabricated. Saich’s statement was also circulated online. Obviously, the GT guys, just like the censors, are ill-informed and lack basic journalistic training.

July 21, 2012 @ 2:02 pm | Comment

Chinese government propaganda is far less monolithic than we think it is, and censorship itself is a business, with censorship services being traded for cash and political favors just like any other bureaucratic actions in China.

Just like any other bureaucratic actions in China? Even in China, I believe, there are bureaucratic actions that do not violate fundamental rights. It’s likely that many – if not most – civil servants will have to play along to make sure that they won’t look “holier-than-their-colleagues”. If they do that to make sure that they don’t get fired, I don’t exactly respect that, but I can understand that. I believe that the average civil servant (say, at immigraton or customs) deserves more respect than a censor or a judge who delivers as required by his party cell – even if the average civil servant may accept bribes.

July 21, 2012 @ 2:57 pm | Comment

Oro Invictus mentioned that China Daily articles are frequently part of the PRC’s “international outreach program”.

I think it’s basically that. I wouldn’t think of brochures from a German embassy or consulate as “press”, either. The real Chinese press is in Chinese. The Global Times even experimented with June-4 a few years ago – in English, of course. But that experiment was apparently discontinued.

July 21, 2012 @ 3:03 pm | Comment

Raj
Wait until you see the Global Times calling upon the President or Prime Minister to take responsibility for what happened and resign

Right, because the Prime Minister and President are responsible for train crashes.

1 – Westerners use Chinese train accident to bludgeon CCP
2 – Westerners use CCP reporting on train accident to accuse them of mind control and propaganda, while denying their own

Nothing new.

July 22, 2012 @ 1:16 am | Comment

“Westerners use CCP reporting on train accident to accuse them of mind control and propaganda, while denying their own”
—LOL. “their own” what? When a train derails or crashes in “the west” and there is in-depth reporting of the incident, the existence of said reporting is not noteworthy, because it can and does happen all the time; but when there is a similar incident in China and a quasi-official outlet does a report in English that is a teensy-weensy bit hard-hitting, it is quite noteworthy, precisely because it is such a rare occurrence. I wouldn’t say “mind-control”, cuz that’s pretty silly. But “cover-up”, “revision of history”, and “denial of inconvenient truths” are things that are situated directly in the wheelhouse of the CCP.

July 22, 2012 @ 1:48 am | Comment

SK Cheung
the existence of said reporting is not noteworthy, because it can and does happen all the time

Not really. In the West, they report what sells the most papers. Consequently, the typical Westerner only knows tabloid-worthy junk with the occasional tragedy thrown in (celebrity death, missing white girl, Trayvon Martin) to mix things up.

But “cover-up”, “revision of history”, and “denial of inconvenient truths” are things that are situated directly in the wheelhouse of the CCP

You may as well have replaced “CCP” with “humanity”. If you want to talk about revision of history just look at “East Turkestan” terrorists and their make-believe about the population history of Xinjiang.

July 22, 2012 @ 2:25 am | Comment

“In the West, they report what sells the most papers.”
—precisely. Content is driven by market forces, which is exactly what DOESN’T happen in China under the CCP. With that said, the extent of coverage of disasters like a train accident in “the west” is commensurate with how much readers want. There is no conspiracy. On the other hand, coverage of the HSR accident in question is NOT commensurate with market forces, and occurs only inasmuch as the CCP allows. Which, again, is what makes the story in English GT noteworthy. If such stories in GT were present, allowed, and/or tolerated on a regular basis, the current article in question wouldn’t be noteworthy.

“You may as well have replaced “CCP” with “humanity”.”
—as is standard operating procedure for you, comparisons are not relevant. I didn’t say “cover-up” etc has never occurred in the course of history the world over. But whether it has or not doesn’t change the fact that it happens under the CCP.

July 22, 2012 @ 3:16 am | Comment

SKC – Having gone many, many rounds with CM in the past,do you really think there’s still a point in discussion with him now?

July 22, 2012 @ 7:42 am | Comment

Full Moon and Werewolf, Foarp.

July 22, 2012 @ 12:14 pm | Comment

Just like any other bureaucratic actions in China? Even in China, I believe, there are bureaucratic actions that do not violate fundamental rights. It’s likely that many – if not most – civil servants will have to play along to make sure that they won’t look “holier-than-their-colleagues”. If they do that to make sure that they don’t get fired, I don’t exactly respect that, but I can understand that. I believe that the average civil servant (say, at immigraton or customs) deserves more respect than a censor or a judge who delivers as required by his party cell – even if the average civil servant may accept bribes.

This misses the point. The point isn’t that certain actions violate or do not violate rights–the government officials don’t necessarily care whether or not their actions violate rights; only that their actions can get them benefits. So if the action happens to help people? Great, do it. If it happens to hurt people? Do it anyways.

Censorship is a goldmine because that’s where a lot of Chinese PR dollars end up spent. I know a friend who worked for a PR house and his job, day in and day out, was taking cash from officials and then passing that money around Sina and other ministries to make sure certain topics would be scrubbed. The price for a topic? Depends–the more popular a topic becomes, the more time-consuming and hence expensive it is to scrub it.

This also shows why sometimes the censors sometimes let topics run: because that’s how they can make more money. Case in point: look at Bo Xilai. Bo is politically unpopular, so there is no administrative fiat or focus on keeping his topic off the record, which means it’s “open season” on him. When it’s open season, Sina and the rest can open the floodgates, and then say to Bo: “Unless you want these rumors to continue, you should give us some compensation for sanitizing this stuff off the internet.” And knowing that Bo and his family have squirreled away hundreds of millions of dollars in cash, they know that Bo can and will eventually pay.

While back in, say, the early 2000s, most of this censorship might have been top-down, now most of the censorship is bottom-up, as in censorship services are not the result of the Politburo saying X/Y/Z are off limits, but rather people who pay to keep things quiet. Case in point: the melamine scandal did not just result in sackings–it cost Mengniu tens of millions of RMB to keep things quiet, funds that were cycled through a select group of Beijing “governmental consultancies” which work like US K Street lobbyists on steroids.

The obverse is true as well–sometimes people will pay to “stir up shit” about rivals or competitors. Consider that some people in Sina have told me that the original pushers of the whole “di gou you” or gutter oil story was the marketing department of Yum! Brands, owners of KFC, and that those same people have told me about how airlines in China had their PR departments literally writing entire news articles and op-ed pieces following the Wenzhou railway crash.

Of course, there remain topics which are administratively off-limits, like Tiananmen and Tibet, but the only reason those are off limits is because there’s no money in them–the topics are uninteresting to Chinese people because they don’t affect their daily lives.

July 22, 2012 @ 12:58 pm | Comment

You wrote that censorship itself is a business, t_co, with censorship services being traded for cash and political favors just like any other bureaucratic actions in China, and I added that censorship is still no bureaucratic action like any other, because I think that to distinguish between bureaucratic actions that do or don’t violate fundamental rights is important.

I understand that you are focusing on the technicality, but in my view, pointing out ethical differences between these actions doesn’t miss the point – it adds to it.

July 22, 2012 @ 2:27 pm | Comment

Right, because the Prime Minister and President are responsible for train crashes.

I was thinking more of a future scenario rather than the train crash – I can’t think of any event where the Global Times would have the balls to demand either resign.

The PM and President are the head(s) of the government and should take responsibility for certain things that the government does. If it’s their ministers who are only ever responsible, what’s the point in having the PM or President?

July 22, 2012 @ 6:39 pm | Comment

Don’t know if the same rules apply that apparently did in late July last year – that noone was allowed to publish any reports or commentaries, except positive news or information released by the authorities. But even if so, this Global Times article could well be within these confines. Besides, the rules that apply for domestic-readership papers and foreign propaganda don’t need to be exactly the same.

A key moment, I believe, would be if investigative journalists did their own research, and possibly question the official investigation report, published late last year. The “Global Times” mentions, but doesn’t question the report.

July 22, 2012 @ 6:54 pm | Comment

Raj
If it’s their ministers who are only ever responsible, what’s the point in having the PM or President?

Apparently to fire them when they screw up.

July 23, 2012 @ 6:14 am | Comment

SK Cheung
comparisons are not relevant

Like I said before, countries and political systems don’t exist in a vacuum. Which makes “comparisons” valid since you have no objective or grounded criticisms.

July 23, 2012 @ 6:16 am | Comment

Maybe this is just a piece to set a stage for the power handover in the near future (the 18th congress, is it called?). The CCP might be one party and show a united front but seems it isn’t really.
Maybe the GT English edition is trying to champion one faction over the other for foreign consumption :-)

July 23, 2012 @ 6:27 am | Comment

“Which makes “comparisons” valid since you have no objective or grounded criticisms.”
—umm, read it again, sport: ““cover-up”, “revision of history”, and “denial of inconvenient truths” are things that are situated directly in the wheelhouse of the CCP”. What’s not objective about that? Anything in there you’d like to dispute? Note, however, that I said “in the wheelhouse of the CCP”; I didn’t say “in the wheelhouse of the CCP more so than with any other regime in all of human history”. If I had said the latter, then a comparison would be logical. But I didn’t, and it isn’t. Now, it’s true that things don’t exist in a vacuum. However, that others have done the “the same thing” doesn’t make that “thing” (whatever the topic in question may be) acceptable. It certainly doesn’t excuse it.

Here’s a corollary for you: you’re charged with murder. Your defense is that you don’t exist in a vacuum, and others have committed murder before. I wonder how that would work out for you…

July 23, 2012 @ 9:12 am | Comment

A key moment, I believe, would be if investigative journalists did their own research, and possibly question the official investigation report, published late last year. The “Global Times” mentions, but doesn’t question the report.

It seems they are doing just that, although on rather flimsy grounds. The report concludes that failure of the signalling/train control system was the main reason for the collision. Tunnel engineer Mr. Wang, who is quoted several times in the article, says the reason was improper training and insufficient staffing. As if a signalling system that leads to more than one train on the same piece of track at the same time should not be considered a failure.

July 23, 2012 @ 8:13 pm | Comment

As I said, redstar2pothead, I’m not sure if the rules mentioned above (still) apply, and if the GT counts as Chinese press anyway, but this may well be information released by the authorities.

Besides, a number of very staff – high-ranking to low-ranking – are listed as misperforming in the official report. In my view, Wang’s comments are no contradiction to the reports finding that the signalling system’s failure was the main reason for the crash.

Btw, improper training and insufficient staffing can easily be blamed on the previous minister of railways, Liu Zhijun, who was sacked in February 2011, less than five months before the crash. He actually tops the official report’s list (a total of 54 staff).

Anyway – if you find Chinese-language articles on Chinese websites where the findings are questioned, I’d be grateful for a link.

July 23, 2012 @ 11:28 pm | Comment

Seems the Chinese readers don’t get the same privileges we do, though.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/9421020/China-censors-anniversary-of-high-speed-rail-crash.html

July 24, 2012 @ 7:15 am | Comment

To Mike,
nice link.

“The Global Times, the only state-run newspaper to mention the anniversary,…”

Looks like the censors weren’t asleep after all. Which makes the very existence of the GT English article to be an entirely intentional occurrence, as expected.

July 24, 2012 @ 10:36 am | Comment

People’s Daily celebrated ten years of scientific development (since the 16th National Party Congress) yesterday – good news reverberates in the ears.

July 24, 2012 @ 2:26 pm | Comment

justrecently, I hope I did not imply that Mr. Wang’s comments were somehow a sign of openness. They are in contradiction with what was said earlier, that’s all.

In fact, my impression is that his exoneration of Chinese technology, and of the train‘s signalling system in particular (the investigation report says the problem was with the track-side components of the signalling system), may go down rather well with any export-related departments.

July 24, 2012 @ 4:47 pm | Comment

I think it’s always better news than first reported (for the industry) when it’s a pilot’s error, 2pothead.

To be clear, I’m not subscribing to the linked account, but I remember how callous the remarks of Airbus Industrie‘s chairman of the board (and Bavarian premier) Franz-Josef Strauss came across that day in 1988. He stated right away that the Habsheim crash was a pilot error. That didn’t go down well with the public.

July 24, 2012 @ 6:06 pm | Comment

You all have to check out this link. China apologism ascends to new heights.

July 25, 2012 @ 11:15 am | Comment

Nice link Richard. Funny, there’s a recession and all of a sudden we have to return to 1930s Europe for success….because that turned out to have been a great idea then, eh?

July 25, 2012 @ 11:47 am | Comment

It sounds like Mr. Bell and the co-authors of the Confucian constitution from that other thread could engage in quite a raucous circle-jerk. It’s always amusing to read an article that is premised on the presumption that “meritocracy” is what is best for Chinese people, then proceeds to try to justify why and how that is so.

July 25, 2012 @ 12:23 pm | Comment

I’m afraid that Mr Bell is guilty of disrupting American harmony by questioning the political system. He will now have to be arrested and prosecuted – after spending several months in secret detention.

Because that is what would happen if the US was run like China.

July 25, 2012 @ 2:52 pm | Comment

Oh my god, where to start?

“Today, political surveys show that there is widespread support for the ideal of political meritocracy in East Asian societies with a Confucian heritage.”

Apart from the question of what surveys and which countries are being referred to here, what person (East Asian or otherwise)wouldn’t be in favour of ‘political meritocracy’?

“The idea of political meritocracy is also central to Western political theory and practice.”

So, why are we talking about Confucius here?

“Political theorists have raised questions about the voting system itself. Part of the problem is that voters are often selfishly concerned with their narrow material interest, and ignore the interest of future generations and people living outside national boundaries.”

And the answer to this is an Confucian oligarchy? Chosen by who?

“Fortunately, political theorists are not so dogmatic in the Chinese context.”

Right . . . . . becuase a country in which the government regularly promulgates political theories which then become mandatory subjects for study, theories which even the people tasked with teaching them view as useless garbage, is not one suffering from dogma.

“Jiang Qing, founder of the Yangming Confucian Academy in Guiyang, has argued that democratic forms of legitimacy – which in the West is grounded in notions of popular sovereignty – should be balanced by two other sources of legitimacy that come from Heaven and Earth.

In a modern context, he argues that this political ideal should be institutionalized by means of a tri-cameral legislature, with authority divided between a House of the People, a House of the Ru, and a House of Cultural Continuity that correspond to the three forms of legitimacy. Similarly, Bai Tongdong and Joseph Chan have argued for models for a hybrid political regime that combines elements of democracy and meritocracy with meritocratic houses of government composed of political leaders chosen by such means as examination and performance at lower levels of government. (I have also argued for a hybrid regime, with a meritocratic house of government termed the House of Exemplary Persons.)”

Wow, this role-playing game sounds like fun. So, how are these people going to be chosen?

“These models may be utopian, but they provide us with a new and, arguably, better standard for evaluating political progress in China and elsewhere. Instead of judging political progress simply by asking whether China is becoming more democratic, the new standard provides a more comprehensive way of judging political progress (and regress). The question is also whether the Chinese political system is becoming more meritocratic. And here there may be grounds for optimism.”

So instead of asking whether a country is becoming more democratic, we should ask whether a country is becoming more meritocratic – and the mark of a Chinese meritocracy would be one in which people acheive political power by being descended from someone who died in 479 BC?

“In its early days, Communist China under Mao explicitly rejected Confucian-inspired ideas of political meritocracy. Understandably, perhaps, the main task was rewarding revolution energy and securing military strength for the state to put an end to abuse and bullying by foreign powers. But now, the establishment of a relatively secure and strong Chinese state under the leadership of the CCP means that China is less concerned about security than it is about political community.

Hence, the emphasis has shifted to the task of good governance led by able and virtuous political leaders, and the selection and promotion mechanisms of the CCP have become more meritocratic.”

Errr . . . yeah, nothing to do with keeping the government in power and keeping corruption down to the level where it isn’t ripping off everyone all the time, but just most of the people some of the time.

“The promotion system for cadres is even more explicitly meritocratic. At a recent dialogue session with several foreign and Chinese academics, Li Yuanchao, Minister of the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee, provided some fascinating and illuminating details. Minister Li noted that different criteria are used to judge abilities and virtues at different levels of government.”

The Minister of the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee said it, so it must be true. Never mind the people who point to the Bo Xilai case as an example of the webs of deception and influence that get people into (and out of) power.

“To illustrate the rigorous (meritocratic) nature of selection at higher levels of government, Minister Li described the procedure used to select the secretary general of the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee.

First, there was a nomination process, including retired cadres. Those who received many nominations could move to the next stage. Next, there was an examination, including such questions as how to be a good secretary general. Over 10 people took the exam, and the list was narrowed to five people. To ensure that the process was fair, the examination papers were put in the corridor for all to judge the results. Then, there was an oral examination with an interview panel composed of ministers, vice-ministers, and university professors.”

Amazing! Why didn’t we think of it before? Yes, this is how leaders should be selected – go around and ask a bunch of old guys in the higher echelons of your one-party state apparatus who they want to nominate, give the nominees a test asking them questions like “how to be a good leader”, then have another bunch of old guys interview the remainders. A totally meritocratic way of chosing leaders and not one open to distortion through nepotism and corruption . . . .

“To ensure transparency and fairness, ordinary cadres who work for the general secretary were in the room, which allowed them to supervise the whole process. Three candidates with the highest score were selected for the next stage.

Then the department of personnel led an inspection team to look into the performance and virtue of the candidates, with more emphasis placed on virtue. Two people were recommended for the next stage.”

Yes, because nothing says “meritocratic” like selection based on “virtue” rather than, erm, merit.

“The advantages of “actually existing” meritocracy in the CCP are clear. Cadres are put through a grueling process of talent selection, and only those with an excellent record of past performance are likely to make it to the highest levels of government.”

Presumably the “speech marks” there are to show that this is “actually existing” meritocracy rather than, erm, actually existing meritocracy. Strange that a lot of the people with “excellent record[s] of past performance” seem to be the sons of high-ranking party official, but that’s “actually existing meritocracy” for you.

You know, I could go on, but the piece is such utter, utter drivel that there simply is no point. Back when the Jiang/Bell NYT editorial came out people asked whether Bell or Jiang actually bought into this nonsense. Now it’s clear that Bell at least likes to play-act that he does.

July 25, 2012 @ 5:25 pm | Comment

Folks, there are only two reasons as to why people don’t simply laugh at Bell and Jiang and leave it there. One is that China is attractive – commercially, not for its political system or the state “civil” society is in. (How many of the attractive factors are real, and how many are only perceived, would be another question.) And another factor in the attraction may be – but I’m less sure here, than about the first reason -, that business and political “elites” in democratic countries, once they get frustrated with voters or competitors, may feel that “just a few days” of autocracy (with them, obviously, not with their competitors at the helm) would “work miracles”.

*snickers*

July 25, 2012 @ 6:20 pm | Comment

@JR – The other reason is because they attempt to wrap up their nonsense in cultural relativism. No-one of sound mind would believe that such a system as described in Bell’s piece, stripped of all identifying information, could ever be ‘meritocratic’. There are, however, people in Europe and America who will, through sheer ignorance of the outside world, swallow the idea that Bell & Jiang’s proposals would be suited to the people of China.

I actually find myself meeting these people again and again. People who believe that Chinese officials are chosen strictly through merit “unlike our lot”, and to whom I then have to describe the people I knew in the Jiangsu provincial government – corrupt to a man. People who believe that Chinese accept dictatorship because they are ‘Confucian’, and to whom I then describe the cynicism with which most Chinese regard officials, the invective that is poured out against them to trusted ears, and the experience of ‘Confucian’ (but democratic) Taiwan.

When I meet these people I wonder if GT and the rest aren’t more successful than we realise.

July 25, 2012 @ 10:08 pm | Comment

I guess the difference between the accident in Habsheim and the one in Wenzhou, justrecently, is that there is no way the latter could have happened without a technical failure. Signalling systems for high-speed railways simply do not leave that much space for human error. This is what makes Mr. Wangs remarks so … remarkable.

July 26, 2012 @ 9:28 am | Comment

O/T

Richard, I thought you might appreciate hearing about Mitt Romeny’s latest diplomatic triumph.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/news/9429187/Olympics-Mitt-Romney-seeks-to-play-down-London-2012-comments.html

Who needs Sarah Palin, eh? ;)

July 27, 2012 @ 1:30 am | Comment

Don’t get me started on Romney.

Apologies to everyone for the silence. My project is demanding all my time. More later.

July 27, 2012 @ 1:35 pm | Comment

Cheung
““cover-up”, “revision of history”, and “denial of inconvenient truths” are things that are situated directly in the wheelhouse of the CCP”.

Ok, and your evidence that “democracy” would help with these problems are ..?

July 28, 2012 @ 2:56 pm | Comment

“your evidence that “democracy” would help with these problems are ..?”
—are there democracies in which significant historical events cannot be mentioned in the media, and any mention of it is scrubbed from the internet, such as with TAM?

Are there democracies in which you are apt to see something like this? http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/china-censors-aftermath-of-beijing-storm-after-public-questioned-capitals-disaster-response/2012/07/27/gJQAeL3VDX_story.html

July 28, 2012 @ 4:15 pm | Comment

“are there democracies in which significant historical events cannot be mentioned in the media, and any mention of it is scrubbed from the internet, such as with TAM?”

COMPARISON ALARM!!!!

July 28, 2012 @ 10:17 pm | Comment

Are there democracies that have posted 10% growth for a decade? Are there democracies that have pushed a billion people out of poverty? Are there democracies that have seen patents and scientific journals expand over 20% every year? Are there democracies that have delivered electricity to over 90% of the population in 20 years?

The answer to all of these is NO.

July 28, 2012 @ 10:18 pm | Comment

“COMPARISON ALARM!!!!”
—true, but you asked for it when you requested “evidence that “democracy” would help with these problems”. I give comparisons in response to your question. You give comparisons just because the earth is round.

For instance, the entirety of #48 is an unsolicited comparison, which in no way alters the fact that the CCP covers up, revises history, and denies inconvenient truths.

July 29, 2012 @ 12:47 am | Comment

http://tealeafnation.com/2012/07/social-media-leads-to-new-normal-in-chinese-crisis-management/

“Now, the risk of concealing the truth are much greater than that of revealing the truth. I hope this risk can ensure the government does not lie about this again.”

Wow. It might be surprising to learn who the author of that statement was. It seems even an old decrepit CCP-butt-kissing dog can occasionally learn a new trick or two.

July 29, 2012 @ 1:14 am | Comment

SK Cheung
I give comparisons in response to your question. You give comparisons just because the earth is round.

Wrong. You make implicit “comparisons” by suggesting China should democratize.

which in no way alters the fact that the CCP covers up, revises history, and denies inconvenient truths.

And your point is? If you are trying to suggest (as usual) that China’s political system needs to change because of this, I’ll just remind you that all governments in history have done the same.

It seems even an old decrepit CCP-butt-kissing dog can occasionally learn a new trick or two.

Which is another reason why the CCP is superior to Western “democracies” – their butt-kissing dogs are actually capable of learning outside of their programming.

July 29, 2012 @ 12:46 pm | Comment

“You make implicit “comparisons” by suggesting China should democratize.”
—what “implicit comparisons”? And I don’t suggest that “China should democratize”. I would like to see that CHinese people determine how they are governed, rather than having the CCP make that determination for them.

“And your point is?”
—it is precisely as stated. That “the CCP covers up, revises history, and denies inconvenient truths.” Pure. Simple.

“I’ll just remind you that all governments in history have done the same.”
—LOL. Yet more comparisons. You are certainly a fountain for comparisons.

“their butt-kissing dogs are actually capable of learning outside of their programming.”
—LOL again. The GT editor/butt-kissing dog can talk the talk. We actually can’t surmise what he’s learned until we see him walk the walk. If GT starts publishing inconvenient truths, then he might be on to something. Personally, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

“Which is another reason why the CCP is superior to Western “democracies””
—”another” reason? Was there an earlier/previous reason? LOL. I must’ve missed it. And you think the CCP “taught” him to stop denying inconvenient truths? Man, have I got some bridges that you’d love to buy.

July 29, 2012 @ 3:13 pm | Comment

SK Cheung
I would like to see that CHinese people determine how they are governed

In that case, keep hoping – because there is no country where the general public is in charge of decision making.

Was there an earlier/previous reason?

LOL. Yes, there were several listed above. LOL. – you know, infant and child mortality, death rates, life expectancy, scientific literacy, technological capabilities, defense, the economy, financial position, all things you don’t care about because they don’t serve your ideology. LOL.

LOL.

July 30, 2012 @ 11:41 am | Comment

Gimme a break dufus. I’m talking about determining how theyre governed, not day to day decision making. It seems you’ve yet to meet a straw man you didn’t like. But you’re right insofar as Chinese people get neither.

Yes, we’ve been through those things you listed before, all of which came courtesy of capitalism, and none of which requires authoritarianism.

July 31, 2012 @ 5:39 am | Comment

SK Cheung
all of which came courtesy of capitalism, and none of which requires authoritarianism.

Nope. There are plenty of democracies that can only ever dream of China’s growth.

Unless you want to talk about other reasons why the East Asian model used in Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and now China excelled when almost all others failed.

August 1, 2012 @ 6:54 am | Comment

SK Cheung
But you’re right insofar as Chinese people get neither.

“The people” don’t decide who gets into office. 51% of the people do. It’s little better than 10% as far as I’m concerned.

August 1, 2012 @ 6:55 am | Comment

““The people” don’t decide who gets into office. 51% of the people do.”
—which is already much better than China. Less than 6% of China’s population are CCP members, but clearly a far far smaller number have any input into who gets to be head honcho for the next 10 years.

And btw (this is so basic I’m surprised it needs to be said, then I remember who we’re dealing with), even for the hypothetical 49% who don’t get their wish, they at least had the opportunity for input.

“There are plenty of democracies that can only ever dream of China’s growth.”
—which is quite irrelevant to whether China needs authoritarianism. Again, from 1949 – 1979, authoritarianism + communism was useless. Switch to capitalism after that, and voila. The correlation to China’s rise is with capitalism, not authoritarianism in the least.

August 1, 2012 @ 8:13 am | Comment

SK Cheung
The correlation to China’s rise is with capitalism, not authoritarianism in the least.

Except China’s not nearly as capitalistic as you think it is.

August 1, 2012 @ 11:17 pm | Comment

“Except China’s not nearly as capitalistic as you think it is.”
—oh brother. More semantics. OK, well then China’s rise correlates with whatever name you want to affix to her version of a free-market system. I dunno, maybe go Deng and just say “opening up” or whatever floats your boat. What it doesn’t correlate with is authoritarianism.

August 2, 2012 @ 6:06 am | Comment

‘It’s little better than 10% as far as I’m concerned.’

Cookie, you are a comedy genius!

Not only is CPC membership low at 6%, but it’s lower than both the Republican and Democratic parties!

Furthermore, who ‘elects’ (rubber-stamps) the President in China?

The NPC (about 3000 members).

So the President is elected by about 0.000002 of the population!

Democracy isn’t perfect, but it’s better than that.

August 2, 2012 @ 7:40 pm | Comment

SK Cheung
OK, well then China’s rise correlates with whatever name you want to affix to her version of a free-market system

Huge portions of the Chinese economy are state controlled, unlike in most democracies where major industries (banking, media, resource) control the state. THAT’S the difference. The first decades of “reform and opening up” were nowhere NEAR free-market.

Xilin
So the President is elected by about 0.000002 of the population!

Democracy isn’t perfect, but it’s better than that.

You must not be familiar with a true democratic system. The typical person in a democracy has no power whatsoever. They gain influence if they’re rich or famous, otherwise their votes count for little at all.

August 3, 2012 @ 1:35 am | Comment

Cookie Monster, you are so funny.

I, being a typical person (I regret that I am neither rich nor famous), have no power beyond beyond voting for my choice of government.

Even if they don’t get in, they, as the opposition, will continue to represent me.

I could even run in an election if I wanted to!
I could even start my own party if I wanted to!

Whereas in China, 0.000002% of the population choose their president.

Cookie Monster, you are so so funny.

August 3, 2012 @ 2:14 am | Comment

Sure, SOE’s are of some significance. But SOE’s are not unique to, nor predicated upon, authoritarianism. In fact, in Canada there are all manner of Crown Corporations that are state-owned. Often, those corporations operate in a monopoly environment that the state controls.

But even that is beside the point. THe question moving forward is what, if any, aspects of the economy actually require authoritarianism. And the answer is none.

August 3, 2012 @ 2:38 am | Comment

I interrupt this latest CookieMonsterContradictionfest to bring tidings from London that TPD favorite Madame Miao is back, playing the same tiny little violin:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/02/swimmer-ye-shiwen-declining-superpowers

Great remark in the comment thread about “intellectual lassitude” that will save many of us the trouble of replying.

August 3, 2012 @ 4:58 am | Comment

Did someone mention SOEs. There goes Inter Milan down the u-turn as a quality team. I’m moving my support to Juventis even though they have had some envelope problems and their supporters are thugs.

August 3, 2012 @ 5:10 am | Comment

Madame Miao’s postings are far more lucid and significant than the mangled turds that roll out from your mouth, dear slim.

Xilin
Even if they don’t get in, they, as the opposition, will continue to represent me

Adorable.

I could even start my own party if I wanted to!

Are you kidding me?

Ok, be president tomorrow and I’ll eat my words. In fact be president within your lifetime.

SK Cheung
THe question moving forward is what, if any, aspects of the economy actually require authoritarianism. And the answer is none

And do any of them require “democracy”? The answer is no.

King Tubby
pretentious babble

We’re still not impressed.

August 3, 2012 @ 11:19 am | Comment

@CM. You must be addled on some North Korean party drug. Inter Milan. I’m concerned about the future of Western civilization.

What is this royal “we” puss? I’m the monarch around here.

Now, go out and get a life or I will have one on my servants manhandle you.

August 3, 2012 @ 1:05 pm | Comment

“And do any of them require “democracy”? The answer is no.”
—once again, you’ve managed to answer a question no one was asking. Brilliant. I’ve never suggested that China’s economy requires democracy, unlike dufusses like you who try to claim that China’s economy requires authoritarianism. So heck, let’s go with that. China’s economy would persevere under either “democracy” or the CCP. So tell me, what else does the CCP have to offer? More importantly, what else would be compelling enough for Chinese people to bother keeping her around. Admittedly, I’m not Chinese, so I’m not able to answer that question. The laughable part is that, protest as you will, neither are you. That would be a question for Chinese people, if only the CCP has the balls to ask it…which of course they don’t.

August 3, 2012 @ 4:57 pm | Comment

Cookie Monster,

‘Even if they don’t get in, they, as the opposition, will continue to represent me.’

Adorable.

- Thank you. Watch the House of Commons online and you’ll see the concerns of constituents read out and debated all the time there.

I could even start my own party if I wanted to!

Are you kidding me?

- No, Wikipedia ‘Minor parties in the United Kingdom.’

Ok, be president tomorrow and I’ll eat my words. In fact be president within your lifetime.

- So one dimensional. I am British: we have a Prime Minister. So, on this point I have to agree with you. I will most definately not become president in my lifetime.

On a happier note, DeWang (who I suspect, but would never accuse, of being Cookie Monster), the sage of Hidden Harmonies, is posting links to the Peking Duck again! What a gent.

(http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2012/08/curriculum-protest-in-hong-kong-a-sign-some-still-prefer-wearing-dirty-british-laundary/)

August 3, 2012 @ 5:29 pm | Comment

Oh, Cookie Monster, one more thing. I was wondering if you could offer any of your pearls of wisdom on this:

0.000002% of the Chinese population elect their president

(Perhaps you missed it in my previous posts!)

August 3, 2012 @ 5:31 pm | Comment

“Intellectual lassitude” says it all for the whole Chinese nationalist movement, Cookie Boy. In fairness, you’re a smart enough guy who’s simply too invested in a body of bad ideas, falsehoods and fallacies, and too proud to admit it, let alone to let go. You always end up on the bottom, through countless changes of handle from Ferin to Merp to Your Friend to Cookie Monster — because your schtick is transparently unchanged.

Reality is your biggest foe, even when SKC or others are not channeling it for you.

August 3, 2012 @ 8:19 pm | Comment

The harmony isn’t hidden – it’s parading all its mortifications online.

Btw, I like the word “some” in the link – stuff like some very few troublemakers, a tiny minority. The nomenclature looks familiar to me.

August 3, 2012 @ 8:53 pm | Comment

King Tubby
I’m the monarch around here.

They hand out crowns for syphilis?

SK Cheung
unlike dufusses like you who try to claim that China’s economy requires authoritarianism.

Vague as usual. China’s economy benefits from CCP rule. It would still function in a democracy, but not nearly as well.

More importantly, what else would be compelling enough for Chinese people to bother keeping her around.

Security and stability.

Xilin
0.000002% of the Chinese population elect their president

So? In democracies you get to choose one of two (or rarely three) crony figureheads hand-picked by oligarchs. Either that or your country simply doesn’t matter on the world stage.

Watch the House of Commons online and you’ll see the concerns of constituents read out and debated all the time there.

And read the history of Britain and you’ll see a history of the rich getting richer and pissing on the common man.

slim
In fairness, you’re a smart enough guy who’s simply too invested in a body of bad ideas, falsehoods and fallacies

Right, they’re bad ideas because you say so. I support my ideas with facts and reality, SK Cheung’s goal-post moving and arbitrary whining aside.

August 4, 2012 @ 5:28 am | Comment

Cookie Monster,

0.000002% of the Chinese population elect their president

So?

- Thanks for your insight.

As for your views on democracy, well, the point is I get to choose. I have my vote. If the government doesn’t perform well, then we can vote them out.

As regards the ‘world stage’…. I really couldn’t give a toss. A choice between democracy and ‘mattering on the world stage’ would be a no-brainer for me.

Just out of interest, do you live in China and are you a member of the Communist party or in the process of applying?

August 4, 2012 @ 6:09 am | Comment

“China’s economy benefits from CCP rule.”
—how, pray tell?

“Security and stability.”
—is that sufficient to keep the CCP around? Doubt it, but I’d let Chinese people decide. Is the CCP required to maintain security and stability? Doubt that too, but again I’d let Chinese people decide. It’s funny how CCP apologists like you think the CCP is doing this world of good, only you’re not confident enough to put that sentiment to the test. How precious.

“I support my ideas with facts and reality”
—seriously LOL.

To Xilin #74,
well said. Ol CM there lives in the US of A (as if there was any doubt) but he takes his verbiage and phrasing straight out of the CCP handbook, which is why we get gems like “crony figureheads hand-picked by oligarchs”. I mean, what normal human talks like that?

August 4, 2012 @ 8:10 am | Comment

To Xilin,
I don’t often read HH (in fact I avoid it like the plague), but when I do, it’s always good for a laugh. Looks like Dewang takes issue with Joyce Lau not parsing the curriculum itself in detail. One wonders how much detail he was expecting. Perhaps statements by Lau like “The new curriculum is similar to the so-called patriotic education taught in mainland China”, “The materials, including a handbook titled “The China Model,” describe the Communist Party as “progressive, selfless and united””, and “it glosses over major events like the Cultural Revolution and the Tiananmen Square crackdown” weren’t specific enough for ol’ Dewang-boy. I wonder how much Dewang has looked into said curriculum himself. THe irony is that he doesn’t come out in disagreement over Lau’s conclusion that the curriculum is tantamount to brainwashing, only that he disapproves of her method of arriving at said conclusion. Oh well, when you’re defending the angle that he’s stuck defending, one is often left reaching for straws and nit-picking at minutiae.

On a side note, that piece was sloppy. Dewang should re-acquaint himself with a spell checker.

And for irony, the comment by Ray was priceless. Apparently he takes heart in the fact that HK voters are being more pro-Beijing based on their voting patterns (the “silent majority”, he calls it). He also wishes to see HK and mainland CHina societies coming together. Hmm…whilst Chinese patriotism is rubbing off on HKers, I wonder if voting practices will rub off the other way. Ray, m’boy, be careful what you wish for.

August 4, 2012 @ 8:30 am | Comment

Xilin
the point is I get to choose.

No, you don’t. You get one of 25+ million shares of opinion, which amounts to absolutely nothing on the individual scale.

A choice between democracy and ‘mattering on the world stage’ would be a no-brainer for me.

That’s not the choice, my tosser-giving friend. Democracy simply breaks down with larger populations.

are you a member of the Communist party or in the process of applying?

Nope

SK Cheung
how, pray tell?

For one, the use of the iron fist to keep their bankers under control.

is that sufficient to keep the CCP around? Doubt it, but I’d let Chinese people decide.

Yes, and you’re not “letting the Chinese people” decide. You’re letting 51% of the people “decide”, which in reality means the banks, military and mass media.

I mean, what normal human talks like that?

It’s pretty clear that you’re not very smart, so you don’t have to brag about your credentials on that front. It’s not surprising that the group thinkers are so in love with the idea of their ilk running nations into the ground.

End of story, the CCP will step down when they see fit and at their pleasure. Anyone who disagrees will face tanks, machine guns – and nuclear weapons if they strike from outside. So for your sake, you’re going to have to come up with more convincing arguments other than “MY FEELINGS TELL ME SO!”

August 5, 2012 @ 2:42 am | Comment

SK Cheung
Ray, m’boy, be careful what you wish for.

Who talks like this? No one does except fobs trying too hard to pretend they are skilled with the English language.

August 5, 2012 @ 2:43 am | Comment

“the use of the iron fist to keep their bankers under control.”
—what “iron fist”? Again, words with no meaning. They set interest rates. They set regulations on capital requirements. Nothing that Chinese can’t do without the CCP. A society can certainly regulate banks while allowing personal and political freedom.

“You’re letting 51% of the people “decide””
—oh brother, such basic concepts that repeatedly elude you. Everyone of voting age who casts a vote is contributing to the decision. What you refer to is the group who end up getting their way. Democracy doesn’t mean everyone gets their way, but it means everyone can contribute to the final group decision/outcome. You should read a book or something, cuz you’re still fuzzy on basic points. It’s a lame point you try to make over and over, and at some point you should grow a brain.

“CCP will step down when they see fit and at their pleasure.”
—or when Chinese people have finally had enough, or if the CCP eventually has the luxury of stumbling upon an enlightened leader (especially after the dinosaurs and relics die off). But as I say, I’m happy to let Chinese people decide. I’m fairly certain they don’t need an overseas schmuck like you telling them what’s best for them.

“Who talks like this?”
—LOL. Even with the smack talk you show a disappointing lack of creativity and originality. Anyway, I have some South African and Australian friends. You do the math.

“which amounts to absolutely nothing on the individual scale.”
—but it does on a societal level.

“are you a member of the Communist party or in the process of applying?

Nope”
—oh but you should. You seem to have the perfect level of intelligence for them.

August 5, 2012 @ 5:42 am | Comment

Cookie,

You just don’t understand the British system Cookie. You have mentioned the CCP and how good they are at maintaining stability. Well, I’d say it’s too early to tell. On the scale of things, the CCP hasn’t been around that long and throughout it’s short history things haven’t been exactly stable.

If you want to look at stability of government try looking at the UK. The British Parliamentary monarchy is currently the most enduring political system in the world (forgive me for the hyperbole and sudden flush of patriotism, but we are hosting the olympics and we won a shitload of medals today).

The CCP has to maintain the massive rate of economic growth that has been achieved in China for the last 10 years and keep it up for another 20 years at least (some say 30). Chuck in a demographic ticking timebomb and you have a serious challenge to stability. If the CCP could maintain stability though these challenges (and the myriad others), I’d be impressed.

August 5, 2012 @ 7:00 am | Comment

SK Cheung
or when Chinese people have finally had enough

I don’t think so. One million troops, machine guns and tanks say the small minority of pissants who want to destabilize China are not going to be very successful.

Xilin
Well, I’d say it’s too early to tell.

Rather, history shows that democracies are extremely unstable and prone to implosion.

The British Parliamentary monarchy is currently the most enduring political system in the world

Right, and it didn’t stop you from committing barbarous acts in India, akin to giving them a permanent death rate worse than “Great Leap Forward” in its darkest years. It was 40-50 in India and 25 under Mao during the height of his worst years. You butchered at least 250 million people by that measure, and your argument illustrates just how evil democracies can be.

The CCP has to maintain the massive rate of economic growth that has been achieved in China for the last 10 years and keep it up for another 20 years at least (some say 30).

No, it doesn’t. It’s been slowing for quite some time and sadly for some China hasn’t imploded into chaos and civil war.

Chuck in a demographic ticking timebomb and you have a serious challenge to stability.

What demographic time bomb? The so-called gender imbalance that is erased by relative Chinese male monogamy? Too many old people? Chinese elderly are not parasites.

August 5, 2012 @ 8:28 am | Comment

“One million troops, machine guns and tanks”
—this is true. And the CCP has already demonstrated a willingness to use it against its own people. How nice. We know that when push comes to shove, to hell with Chinese people, the CCP is only interested in preserving its death grip on power. Of course, this assumes that the PLA will stand behind the CCP in perpetuity. Also, when I say “Chinese people have finally had enough”, it should be obvious to all but the most indoctrinated that it would not be “a small minority” at that point.

Alas, more tu quoques in response to Xilin in #81. You are a two-trick pony. It’s either tu quoques, or it’s irrelevant comparisons. Time to learn some new tricks, m’boy.

And what the hell is “relative Chinese male monogamy”? The gender imbalance is quite real. And the population pyramid is also getting fatter at the top and skinnier at the bottom after years of one-child policy. Though you are correct that retirees and pensioners in China cost less per capita than in some other countries, but that doesn’t mean China can escape a mathematical reality and the socio-economic costs that come with that.

August 5, 2012 @ 2:18 pm | Comment

I think this thread has gone on long enough. Thanks.

August 6, 2012 @ 1:52 am | Comment

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