The Great Democracy Debate

How many times have we discussed whether China would be better off with some form of democracy as opposed to its one-party authoritarian system? I know, too many times. But this article on the recent debate between CCP apologist and shill Eric Li and professor of government Minxin Pei is well worth reading. If you don’t believe me about Li being a shill, or if you are unfamiliar with him, read this. This is one of my favorite of Li’s assertions:

China is on a different path. Its leaders are prepared to allow greater popular participation in political decisions if and when it is conducive to economic development and favorable to the country’s national interests, as they have done in the past 10 years.

However, China’s leaders would not hesitate to curtail those freedoms if the conditions and the needs of the nation changed. The 1980s were a time of expanding popular participation in the country’s politics that helped loosen the ideological shackles of the destructive Cultural Revolution. But it went too far and led to a vast rebellion at Tiananmen Square.

That uprising was decisively put down on June 4, 1989. The Chinese nation paid a heavy price for that violent event, but the alternatives would have been far worse.

The resulting stability ushered in a generation of growth and prosperity that propelled China’s economy to its position as the second largest in the world.

For a marvelous take-down of this drivel go here. As if all of China’s great progress rests firmly on the shoulders of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Anyway, sorry for that digression, but you have to know who Li is to appreciate this debate.

I’ve always been careful to say I don’t believe Western-style democracy would necessarily be the answer to China’s problems of corruption, human rights violations, and the injustices inherent to any one-party system that operates without the checks of rule of law. Pei makes a strong argument, however, that the huge political and economic challenges China is facing are weakening the government and will ultimately result in an “unraveling” of the one-party system. So China should have a democratic infrastructure in place if the party implodes. In a nutshell:

The economy has been driven primarily by investments at home and exports to developed countries, which isn’t sustainable. In the political sphere, we’re seeing manifestations of a fundamental vulnerability of one-party systems globally: a tendency to drift into benefiting a relatively small, and ultimately predatory, elite at the expense of society generally, and the associated phenomena of high-level corruption and inequality.

Together, Pei claimed, these two domains of contradiction tend to impede the growth of China’s economy and undermine the legitimacy of its government. You can see the last two decades as a story of the rise of the Chinese system, Pei said; but the next 10 to 15 years (no less than 10, no more than 15) will be one of the system’s unraveling. And this is what the United States and the West generally need to worry about — not China’s strength but its weakness, because when the transition to a more democratic system comes, it will be very difficult to manage, particularly given the country’s deep ethnic divisions, its disputed borders, and its complex integration with the global economy.

Li’s arguments are familiar: all of China’s mistakes have been dwarfed by its accomplishments, the party has put China on a long trajectory of growth and it would be insane to shift gears when the current system is working, Western democracies are thrown into chaos by politics and therefore can’t get things done, etc. Pei argues that by clinging to an unrepresentative system of government, China may be on a path to collapse should the economy falter dramatically, and having no other alternative to the CCP political bedlam could ensue. A comparison to the collapse of the Soviet Union is not inconceivable.

Li showed his true stripes several times, and he was proud of them. This was one of my favorites:

In response to a question from the audience, Li also criticized the very ideas of political liberty and individual rights. Unless you think rights come from God, he insisted, you really have no theory of why any one view of political liberty any discrete set of individual rights should be sacrosanct at all. “If they’re from men, they’re not absolute; they can be negotiated.” It was only too bad there wasn’t time to discuss what “negotiated” means here.

“I want to break the spell of the so-called right to freedom of speech,” he added later. “Speech is act. It has harmed from time immemorial.”

It’s too bad he sounds like such an apologist. Some of his arguments are fair. We all know how well China has done compared to 30 years ago. I believe the CCP has to be given a lot of credit for improving the quality of the lives of so many of its citizens, and wonder whether its people are ready for pluralism. But who gets to decide that? And if the people so adore the CCP, why do Li and other shills so strongly oppose free elections? And if the government is so confident in China’s future, why are so many party elites moving their assets out of China? Li got kind of tongue-tied over that one.

Anyway, read the whole thing. Nothing new, exactly, but thought provoking. And you really are left wondering what the answer is. Neither Pei’s nor Li’s answers are totally convincing and it’s hard for me to say who “won.”

______________

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: 92 Comments

But who gets to decide that? And if the people so adore the CCP, why do Li and other shills so strongly oppose free elections? And if the government is so confident in China’s future, why are so many party elites moving their assets out of China? Li got kind of tongue-tied over that one.

I believe you hit the nail on the head here. The current messiness of the leadership transition is a clear demonstration of the flaws at play here: when Deng was around, he essentially set down a clear line of succession from Hu Yaobang all the way down to Hu Jintao. But without a clear arbiter in place then the system falls prey to essentially itself.

By arbiter, I don’t mean a single person–rather, I mean an ultimate mechanism that somehow can reflect the popular will and confer legitimacy. For a long time, Deng was that arbiter–even after he died. But now China needs a new pole, a new axis to spin itself around. Can elections serve as that axis? And if so, how does the CCP get there without pulling a Gorbachev?

July 4, 2012 @ 9:37 am | Comment

Li likes to “look at track records” cuz he’s a VC guy…but the first thing one sees in any prospectus is that “past performance does not guarantee future results”. I wouldn’t say Pei won the debate, but his angle is a good one: ‘Regardless of what has been done in the past, it doesn’t appear that the one-party CCP system is the best way to move forward.’

Li also likes to say the usual bit about how far China has come in 63 years under the CCP. But as usual, he ignores the fact that there is quite a dichotomy before and after 1979, and economic reforms were the real driver of progress for China. So really, the fact that China has had a one-party system since 1949 is quite irrelevant. Only if you can make the point that continuation of a one-party system is an absolute prerequisite for continued economic progress will that fact become relevant. And I don’t think that point can be made.

It’s also funny that he had to “concede” that China as currently constructed is not a democratic state. I mean, really? He may as well starting “conceding” that the sky is blue.

His comparison of asking China to democratize with asking Apple to become IBM is also flawed. Apple is a democracy in that it is directly answerable to its shareholders. If you asked Apple shareholders if they would like their company to go the way of RIM, they would probably say no. But if you asked China’s shareholders (ie Chinese people) whether they would like to democratize, I don’t think you could jump to conclusions about their collective response. And the bigger difference is that the CCP doesn’t consider Chinese people to be shareholders, and they don’t have an AGM (obviously, the annual charade among CCP party members themselves doesn’t count, since it’s only open to CCP members).

His point about rights and freedoms is Li at his CCP-ass-kissing worst. Of course such concepts are man-made. We’re not talking laws of physics here. And if it is the man-made nature of something that makes it less than sacrosanct, then there is also no higher duty to censorship, or the restriction of rights and freedoms. If something man-made can be negotiable, then Chinese people should be all means get started with that negotiation. If Chinese people want more rights, they should be allowed to ask for it. If they want freedom of speech, they should get that. If they want to be rid of censorship, well negotiate it away. I wonder when the CCP will allow all of that to start? Maybe comrade Li will kick-start it all for us…

July 4, 2012 @ 2:35 pm | Comment

However, China’s leaders would not hesitate to curtail those freedoms if the conditions and the needs of the nation changed.

They wouldn’t hesitate to curtail these freedoms if the needs of the party changed. Reform and opening are modernization tools, and no ends in themselves.

Mr Li is confusing the party and the country, but at least he got it half-right in this statement. And I believe that this one line, for once, deserves attention.

July 4, 2012 @ 7:25 pm | Comment

I find these debates about whether the CCP can be credited with China’s impressive economic progress to be be beside the point of whether or not they should be allowed to continue at the helm. What does one thing have to do with the other?

July 4, 2012 @ 7:26 pm | Comment

I don’t know who won, but Li lost.

July 4, 2012 @ 10:25 pm | Comment

S.K. Cheung

Like Jiang Zemin’s emphasis on “promoting democracy in international relations,” this negotiation you call for is only supposed to occur external to China…

t_co

Two years ago a number of my friends who work at an institution strongly backed by Hu Jintao became particularly excited that there was high-level discussion about creating a triumvirate to counteract the bickering and opposition that had set in between the office of the President and that of the Premier. The third position to be established was supposed to preside over the military. Have you heard anything along those lines from your associates? Do you think we should anticipate the military playing a larger role in determining the extent of political reform and conferring legitimacy?

July 4, 2012 @ 11:23 pm | Comment

Two years ago a number of my friends who work at an institution strongly backed by Hu Jintao became particularly excited that there was high-level discussion about creating a triumvirate to counteract the bickering and opposition that had set in between the office of the President and that of the Premier. The third position to be established was supposed to preside over the military. Have you heard anything along those lines from your associates? Do you think we should anticipate the military playing a larger role in determining the extent of political reform and conferring legitimacy?

If this is true, it would be pretty discordant with what I’ve heard. As far as I know, Hu and Wen’s teams work together fairly well–stemming from the fact that both men rose under Hu Yaobang’s tutelage from the early 1980s onward (and so have spent more than two decades helping each other out in the world of Chinese politics–e.g. by promoting each other’s associates, supporting each other in policy meetings, etc.)

Even if they wanted to create a third position, I don’t think they would make the source of authority for that position as mono-dimensional as simply controlling the military. One thing that sets China apart from other Leninist states is that each top leader has a power base that is functionally diverse–as opposed to other Stalinist/Leninist bureaucracies, where you would see some leaders have pure backgrounds in the secret police or the military or the economic apparatus. (This idea, I believe, originated from Chen Yun and Li Xiannian–the conservative wing of the CCP.)

The reason for this is to increase interchangeability at the top–to make sure that getting rid of one leader does not drag down an entire institution with him/her. But the task of cementing and concentrating a power base to get into the center remaines, and since up-and-comers could no longer do that by focusing on particular departments, they have to do long tenures through a particular geographic region–such as Xi Jinping, who spent twelve out of the past twenty years in Fujian province, or Li Keqiang, who spent six straight years running Henan and another three in Liaoning.

This fact circles back to your second question–the military’s role in the extent of political reform. Given that the key institutions in helping a province grow are not the military but rather the banks, NDRC, and various government ministries, most of these rising leaders do not spend time building up military connections before they get knighted for a Party Central position–rather they do that post facto. Hence the military is not as closely tied to keeping the CCP around as the CCP would like. Ergo, I doubt the military will actually spend its own institutional capital to take sides on the issue of political reform.

However, the military is deeply suspicious of foreign influences, so if it feels that foreigners are taking advantage of political reforms to divide or weaken China, then the military may take a more assertive stance. But barring that possibility, I think the political reform process will likely stay in the hands of the civilians.

July 4, 2012 @ 11:58 pm | Comment

Nathan: I find these debates about whether the CCP can be credited with China’s impressive economic progress to be be beside the point of whether or not they should be allowed to continue at the helm. What does one thing have to do with the other?

The two issues are glued at the hip. The economy is the only justification used to keep China a one-party state under the unquestionable rule of the CCP. Just about every argument, like Li’s, centers around China’s economic progress and the increasing freedoms that came with reform and opening up (except for political freedoms, of course). The argument is that the country under the CCP’s guidance has done so well, why shake up the system and threaten all the progress that’s been made? There are flaws in this argument, but it’s used all the time. It fails to take into account what happens when/if the economy tanks and people lose faith in the CCP.

July 5, 2012 @ 2:31 am | Comment

Minxin Pei is a scheming degenerate Han Jian and a shill of the Liberal International Order that demands the Chinese race kneel to place their heads on the chopping block and calls it “progress”. Li is yet another bolshevik enabler; a flunkeyist whose vision cannot see past the party apparatus that has mis-appropriated the mantle of the Chinese nation.

There is a third path of course. One of limited suffrage. A democracy of adult Han males further restricted by poll tests and military service. A nation which places at is highest value the vitality and cohesion of its ethnos rather than feeble universalist pieties and marxist platitudes.

July 5, 2012 @ 3:36 am | Comment

Jing‘s is a copy-and-paste from Chinageeks – or the other way round.

July 5, 2012 @ 4:06 am | Comment

Jing sounds like a neanderthal.

July 5, 2012 @ 4:20 am | Comment

Jing has a history here. I had banned him some months ago for anti-Semitic slurs but am giving him a second chance. We’ll see how long it lasts. He’s acting like a shock jock.

July 5, 2012 @ 4:38 am | Comment

Unless you think rights come from God, he insisted, you really have no theory of why any one view of political liberty any discrete set of individual rights should be sacrosanct at all.

The benefit of thinking rights come from God (or are inherent in the nature of humans and the universe, which means the same thing) is precisely that they are taken out of the hands of politicians/demagogues/traitors who are only too eager to “negotiate” them. The language of the American constitution is fortunate in this regard.

The only alternative is thinking that they are simply constructions of society, which makes them pretty flimsy.

July 5, 2012 @ 7:07 am | Comment

Jing never used to be sexist, that I recall. It’s sad.

t_co, your comment #7 — absolutely fascinating. Thanks for that.

July 5, 2012 @ 1:45 pm | Comment

a scheming degenerate Han Jian and a shill of the Liberal International Order that demands the Chinese race kneel to place their heads on the chopping block …

If Jing placed his head on a chopping block, a bit of vitality would be lost, but no brainpower.

July 5, 2012 @ 5:15 pm | Comment

@ Otherlisa

Thanks =)

July 5, 2012 @ 10:20 pm | Comment

Minxin Pei is a scheming degenerate Han Jian and a shill of the Liberal International Order that demands the Chinese race kneel to place their heads on the chopping block and calls it “progress”. Li is yet another bolshevik enabler; a flunkeyist whose vision cannot see past the party apparatus that has mis-appropriated the mantle of the Chinese nation.
There is a third path of course. One of limited suffrage. A democracy of adult Han males further restricted by poll tests and military service. A nation which places at is highest value the vitality and cohesion of its ethnos rather than feeble universalist pieties and marxist platitudes.

Your point of view is that it is bad for China to be dominated by either the (foreign) idea of liberal democracy or the idea of Leninism. Your solution is to borrow the (foreign) idea of ethnocentric gender-centric fascism. Leaving aside the normative question of whether that’s a good idea or not, wouldn’t you also agree taking that track doesn’t solve the fundamental problem of China not having ideological sovereignty? Wouldn’t you much rather see China actually come up with a new way to draft the social contract between rulers and the ruled rather than rehash what Germans in the 1930s already tried out?

What’s more, Jing, a nation that builds itself around an ethnos excludes everyone who does not share that ethnos–which, by default, would encompass a great majority of the globe. A nation built around an inclusive idea, on the other hand, can often punch far above its weight simply by using that idea to drive others to action.

In that regard, Pei and Li, true, both deserve some criticism–not because they are right or wrong, but because they are unoriginal. Where are the Chinese intellectuals that are actually pushing forward new models on how humans ought to be governed?

July 5, 2012 @ 10:32 pm | Comment

t_co

Thanks for your insight. Indeed, I think Wen Jiabao and Hu Jintao’s camps established a fairly amicable working relationship up until 2008, when Wen Jiabao’s visibility, which some might have viewed as pandering, increased his appeal on the mainland. I’m not sure how this was received in Hu Jintao’s circle (Hu certainly seems like he wouldn’t be concerned with this development), but it was accompanied by growing popular disaffection toward Hu. Geminated rulership has always been plagued by seemingly minor issues turned into personal irritants; yet perhaps in this instance that was merely a perception.

Leaving aside the functional diversity of a leader’s base for the moment, as I don’t believe my friends said anything about the third figure of a triumvirate necessarily having a military background, two factors seem to suggest a window for the military’s greater political determination, however that may be presented.

First, it appears your definition of establishing a power base is largely or wholly predicated by regional economic growth, which was probably generally true for the past 20 years or so. However, while it may continue to be true, the central government’s willingness to reduce emphasis on economic growth and/or actually hold economic growth in check poses a problem for the continuance of such an approach. Additionally, one wonders whether it was actually true for Hu himself, whose stints in Guizhou and Tibet were not primarily appraised for their inducement of growth in those backward areas.

Second, while the real reasons for Bo XiLai’s denouement may never come to light, there certainly is a considerable ruckus being made over his courting of the military. I presume you’ve read this account:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304203604577398034072800836.html

But the tendrils of this development may be even more intriguing:

http://thediplomat.com/china-power/is-china-scare-of-a-coup/

The way Beijing handled Bo Xilai may support your assessment. But one has to wonder whether Bo was the only one trying an alternative approach to consolidating power, just as one has to wonder what renewed support for “politicizing the military” actually means.

July 6, 2012 @ 1:01 am | Comment

T_co you display the typical illiteracy of the liberal apparatchik.

The problem is not that China is “dominated” by foreign ideologies. The problem is that China is being infiltrated by universalist ones. The modern High Western vision of a democratic liberal state is an incohate ideology of conflicting axioms whose only fundamental effect is the gradual nihilistic annihilation of the West. Likewise Bolshevism causes the same devastation though along a different axis. The salvation of China will come from the Han race awakening to a particularist ideology. Love of homeland, of nation, of kinfolk needs no commisar to instruct. It is a natural and self-manifesting impulse that germinates from the host society and is unique to each people. Unlike the incessant drum beat of agitprop that both the West and China inculcates into their respective citizens.

A nation is by its very definition a people that must exclude the outsider. Again like the typical not-so-useful idiot, you instinctively seek to dissamulate until words lose all meaning. The state and the nation are not the same. They should be, but they are not. A nation is the people, the race, and the culture. The state is merely the bureaucratic shell that surrounds it and manifests collective will as collective power. The rest of the global community is a cacophony of hegemoniacal Americans and their lackies, insane eurocrats intent on engineering the self-destruction of their homelands, and various dim-witted third world incompetents. For the Han race to accept all and sundry into it’s body is not strengthening it, but weakening it with, at best division, at worst racial degeneration. The Han nation is built around blood because that is what endures. Your notion of an “inclusive” nation must inevitably by its very nature become an ineffective anti-democratic empire, flogging an ever more threadworn ideological banner to summon the “other” who will never appear when the bugle sounds.

July 6, 2012 @ 7:04 am | Comment

Sooooo, Jing favours the break-up of present day China a la Soviet Union?

July 6, 2012 @ 8:15 am | Comment

I think Jing wants a Han nation with “pure Han blood”, and he probably believes in the ethnic/racial/genetic superiority of the Han race. Give him a white robe and a funny looking pointy white hat, drop him off at the local cross-burning, and he’d likely fit right in.

Anyway, he seems to be the gift that keeps on giving, so good on him.

July 6, 2012 @ 8:39 am | Comment

a tendency to drift into benefiting a relatively small, and ultimately predatory, elite at the expense of society generally

Sorry, but Pei’s argument falls apart here. China is more “equal” than ANY developing democracy. He idolizes democracy.

July 6, 2012 @ 9:01 am | Comment

How does one define the Han race?

July 6, 2012 @ 10:03 am | Comment

The borders of the existing Communist state will need to be redrawn, but it will be the Han that wields the pen and not some exile and his would be Western enablers. A rump state centered around Shigatse is a fair trade in exchange for getting rid of and keeping them out of Chinese cities in perpetuity.

July 6, 2012 @ 10:18 am | Comment

A nation is by its very definition a people that must exclude the outsider.

Including the exclusion of Han-Chinese “outsiders”, of course. I don’t think the CCP has gone very far in becoming inclusive – only as far as they deemed technically useful -, but in Jing’s view, they have become too inclusive already.

Jing reminds me of a family of religious fundamentalists in an old neighborhood of mine. The oldest generation was not exactly unworldly, but quite pious. As far as I can see, their children only faced the options of being as pious as their parents, or to fall out with their parents. They chose to become more radical than their parents, but kept to the same direction.

This comparison between political (or racist) and religious bigots may be somewhat unfair to the religious – but there seem to be parallels between their mechanisms of repression.
What these mechanisms have in common is that neither of them is humane, and that neither of them is practical.

Re #23: I think that to suggest that Han Chinese – north to south – were all the same people is a matter of volition, not a matter of fact.

July 6, 2012 @ 11:18 am | Comment

The only true authority on Chinese democracy is Jackie Chan and Jackie says “no” for the masses. They’re too uneducated and not ready for it…

July 6, 2012 @ 4:47 pm | Comment

“China is more “equal” than ANY developing democracy”

ROFL. I’m currently in Poland, a developing democracy, and statistics say you’re talking bollocks. All the Central and Eastern European countries states for which the OECD reports statistics (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Estonia, Turkey) have Gini income coefficients lower than the latest reported for China (47.0 – where 100 is perfect inequality and 0 is perfect equality). Of course, with the exception of a report in 2007 was continuing to rise, the Chinese government has refused to publish the Chinese Gini figures since 2000. However, since the rate was steadily increasing before 2000, increased strongly between 2000 and 2007, and since annecdoctal evidence and other figures strongly suggest it has continued to increase in the meantime, it is very unlikely that China’s income equality according to the Gini metric is less now than it was in 2007.

But then I guess reality has a strong anti-China bias . . .

July 6, 2012 @ 7:01 pm | Comment

Ooops, that should read:

” . . . in 2007 warning that the Gini coefficent was continuing to rise . .

Here’s a report from that well-known anti-China outlet, the China Daily:

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-05/12/content_9837073.htm

And here’s a list of global rankings placing China at 36th out of 134 countries for which statistics are available for inequality:

http://www.mongabay.com/reference/stats/rankings/2172.html

July 6, 2012 @ 7:06 pm | Comment

The two issues are glued at the hip. The economy is the only justification used to keep China a one-party state under the unquestionable rule of the CCP. Just about every argument, like Li’s, centers around China’s economic progress and the increasing freedoms that came with reform and opening up (except for political freedoms, of course). The argument is that the country under the CCP’s guidance has done so well, why shake up the system and threaten all the progress that’s been made? There are flaws in this argument, but it’s used all the time. It fails to take into account what happens when/if the economy tanks and people lose faith in the CCP.

I think the second argument that is commonly cited to keep the CCP in its current position is that of a lack of plausible alternatives. There is no national opposition movement with a compelling alternative vision of how to actually run China and the human, economic, and political capital to actually do it. One thing that I’ve always been disappointed by when it comes to the Chinese reform movement is the fact that they never seem to talk about what they would do if they ever got to call the shots from Zhongnanhai. What are their ideas on institutional reform or new economic policy? How about foreign policy–will they be more or less hawkish than the CCP; what sort of relationship will they pursue with Australia/Japan/SKorea/the United States vs. India/Russia/Pakistan/Iran?

These are all things I wish they would think about instead of just focusing narrowly on the human rights abuses in front of them. Without knowing what they stand for, it makes it difficult for anyone to support them.

July 6, 2012 @ 10:29 pm | Comment

“There is no national opposition movement with a compelling alternative vision of how to actually run China and the human, economic, and political capital to actually do it. One thing that I’ve always been disappointed by when it comes to the Chinese reform movement is the fact that they never seem to talk about what they would do if they ever got to call the shots from Zhongnanhai. What are their ideas on institutional reform or new economic policy? How about foreign policy–will they be more or less hawkish than the CCP; what sort of relationship will they pursue with Australia/Japan/SKorea/the United States vs. India/Russia/Pakistan/Iran?

These are all things I wish they would think about instead of just focusing narrowly on the human rights abuses in front of them.
These are all things I wish they would think about instead of just focusing narrowly on the human rights abuses in front of them. Without knowing what they stand for, it makes it difficult for anyone to support them.”

You are joking right? What LXB and others have been proposing is that they should be allowed to propose an alternative. Which they aren’t. Just how do you expect anyone to come up with an alternative platform under the current circumstances? And then you criticise them for not having a comprehensive alternate platform ready? Charter 08 is about as much as you’re ever going to see from the reformist movement in China (that is: the real reformist movement, not the one which has had 10 years under Wen Jiabao and has acheived as near to nothing as makes no difference), because many of the people involved in it have suffered for their involvement.

July 6, 2012 @ 11:53 pm | Comment

t_co, I totally agree with Gil here. Think of any dictatorship that stifles dissent with an iron fist. Do they allow others to put forward plans for running the country? Do they invite debate from reformers outside the entrenched dictatorship? Would China’s leaders let such reformers announce their plans for reform in the government-controlled media? Come on.

July 7, 2012 @ 1:39 am | Comment

t_co

There is no national opposition movement with a compelling alternative vision of how to actually run China

As Gil and Richard have pointed out, the Chinese government doesn’t ALLOW such an opposition movement to form. In reminds me of how the Chinese middle and upper class snobs say that China won’t be ready for democracy until the peasants are educated – but they refuse to pay more in taxes to fund a decent education system for the poor. Not that the CCP would be open to dialogue with a reformist movement, regardless of how good its policies were.

I was actually surprised that Charter 08 came about at all. The people behind it were incredibly courageous. Even that mild-mannered project led to a crackdown. You can’t expect people to constantly keep campaigning for change if they get harassed and arrested every time they poke their heads above the parapet. But the fact there are Chinese people that don’t give up says to me that they care more about their country than what’s convenient for them – which is ironically the complete opposite of the CCP’s ethos.

July 7, 2012 @ 3:43 am | Comment

@ Gil, Richard, Raj–

The points all of you bring up can be summed thusly:

Party does not allow political dissent –> dissidents do not have an opportunity to speak –> dissidents have no obligation to propose alternative policies.

If it were true that the Party only squeezed dissidents when they talked about national-level policies and the future of China, and left them alone when they talked about human-rights abuses centered on themselves or on limited subsets of the population–then the above line of logic would be sound. But the Party is equally unhappy with both types of speech (possibly even more sensitive about the latter than the former, in fact.)

Therefore it is not the choice of anyone but the dissidents on what they use their “bandwidth” to speak up about. When I see the twitter accounts of Chinese political dissidents all lit up with tweets about other dissidents getting impounded or beaten by the police, my heart goes out to them–but my brain says that this is not the way to actually make a proper political impact in China. The average Chinese citizen (not the 50 million people or so who have 10-30x the median annual income), frankly, doesn’t care whether Ai Weiwei gets arrested on fraudulent tax charges or whether Chen Guangcheng gets into a vicious dispute with the local authorities or whether signers of Charter 08 are being watched by a three-letter ministry. The average citizen cares about inflation, jobs, housing prices, healthcare–and he or she isn’t reading tweets on Twitter, either.

The great danger of this approach isn’t that the Party will continue repressing things and therefore China will stagnate and her people will suffer. The danger is that when the reformers with new ideas limit their political base to the Chinese Twitterati, then it leaves a vacuum for a demagogue to step in a la Mao and use his command of the working class to lead China in a direction none of us want to see it go towards. Failure to actually communicate to the vast majority of Chinese people how their lives could be improved by genuinely new political innovations means that the politicians most likely to eventually gain support are those who utilize public debt to purchase votes and populism rhetoric to keep them (Bo Xilai).

I know this is a tough, and perhaps, unfair order for the beleaguered Chinese dissident class. But that’s the game–that’s how it’s played. Unfortunate as it may be, while most of us live lives where we ourselves bear the consequences for our mistakes, the signatories of Charter 08 and the apparatchiks in the Chinese Communist Party play a game where an entire country bears the consequences for their mistakes. If leadership in China is to bring a positive result, then it is imperative that those involved be held to a higher standard–no matter which side of the political fence they are sitting on.

July 7, 2012 @ 4:42 am | Comment

The borders of the existing Communist state will need to be redrawn, but it will be the Han that wields the pen and not some exile and his would be Western enablers. A rump state centered around Shigatse is a fair trade in exchange for getting rid of and keeping them out of Chinese cities in perpetuity.

Imagine a situation where people like LXB end up with the respect of, say, 10 million middle-class Chinese, and people like Jing some other hyper-nationalist fenqing end up with the adoration of the hotbloods in the streets. That would be an outcome no one wants to see–but if, say CGC or LXB started writing about topics that hit closer to home, like how the entire Chinese economy is rigged against the average citizen, or how China could possibly take care of its elderly once the one-child policy flips the population pyramid–then they could actually get some traction.

July 7, 2012 @ 5:10 am | Comment

but my brain says that this is not the way to actually make a proper political impact in China

So you would make an impact by doing what, exactly? It’s easy to say “you’re not doing a good enough job!” and quite another to explain what you can do differently. “Dissidents” can’t get organised or plan policies because as soon as they try to collaborate they get arrested (or worse). Indeed the more serious they get, the more they get persecuted. That’s one reason why people don’t pretend like they’re a government in waiting – they know the reprisals would be terrible.

The great danger of this approach isn’t that the Party will continue repressing things and therefore China will stagnate and her people will suffer

Maybe instead of blaming the victim, you should blame the CCP given it’s the reason China is in this situation.

July 7, 2012 @ 6:33 am | Comment

Completely with t_co with the lack of any substantive policy/platform offered by any democracy organizations.

What about those organizations overseas? Don’t tell me they are also suppressed by the CCP from offering alternatives?

Give me a site where detailed policy alternatives are being drafted and offered by any group wanting to overthrow the CCP. What is your alternative to managing the Chinese economy, on bridging the gap between rich and poor, on managing the real estate bubble, on upgrading Chinese economy from labor-intensive to innovation and technology intenseive? What about the environment. What environmental policies do you envision that’ll reduce CO2 emissions, improve air quality, yet still maintain economic productivity? What about problems with ethnic tensions? How would you manage relationship with Taiwan? How would you improve Chinese kids’ creativity if you think that’s an issue. How would you manage relationship with the US, EU, India, Japan, and remain competitive over them? etc, etc, etc.

I haven’t seen anything besides empty slogans and banners and just generally screaming about how evil the CCP is. Ok we get it, what is YOUR solution, can you be more substantive and policy oriented, other than shouting ‘democracy today! free elections today! Down with CCP!”

And I’m talking about overseas democracy groups.

July 7, 2012 @ 7:44 am | Comment

Until and unless a group comes forth (overseas) with substance and convince people it has the political and economic calibre to govern China, how do you expect the Chinese people to do, ‘let’s start a coup/revolution first, and worry about what happens afterwards next.? Like in Iraq, Afghanistan, Russia?

If you think you are up to the task, convince me. Show me some substance.

July 7, 2012 @ 7:47 am | Comment

So you would make an impact by doing what, exactly? It’s easy to say “you’re not doing a good enough job!” and quite another to explain what you can do differently. “Dissidents” can’t get organised or plan policies because as soon as they try to collaborate they get arrested (or worse). Indeed the more serious they get, the more they get persecuted. That’s one reason why people don’t pretend like they’re a government in waiting – they know the reprisals would be terrible.

The reprisals would suck either way–regardless of whether they were talking about voting/human rights all day or whether they were outlining an alternative vision of what China could look like. And moreover, if what happened in South Korea and Taiwan is any indication of what could happen in China, the moment when the opposition actually begins to outline alternative policies and organizes is the moment that people can actually work with them rather than just trying to deal with them or avoid them. I mean, honestly–can you imagine an ambitious Chinese person walking the cursus honorum wanting to have anything to do with someone like Ai Weiwei or LXB right now?

July 7, 2012 @ 8:03 am | Comment

What T-Co suggests that dissidents do (ie offer a tangible alternative) would be ideal. And dissidents are able to get some word out (ie they have a little bit of “bandwidth”), enough so that people outside of China (and even some inside) are aware of their plight. So I guess it comes down to whether you would fault them for how they’ve used what little air-time they have.

Personally, I wouldn’t. When basic rights and freedoms that we take for granted are arbitrarily removed by the CCP (and repeatedly), it would require quite an individual to remain focused on the cause, and not on the injustices he is being subjected to. It would simply be a variant of “blame the victim” to suggest that he isn’t being stoic enough to remain on message while absorbing repeated punishment. As Raj says, i think it’s more appropriate to apportion blame onto those who deserve it (ie the CCP).

But it does become a chicken/egg thing. In order for dissidents to do their work properly, they should do more than rage against the machine, and actually give people a vision. In order to have the time/space/freedom/physical safety to do any of that, in the current paradigm, the CCP has to allow it. And ironically, the CCP would really have to be “the bigger guy” to allow people the freedom to conjure up the CCP’s own demise. When was the first and last time the CCP struck anyone as having the capacity to be “the bigger guy”? Which is why I’ve always felt that the CCP will not be involved in any evolution of China’s governance system. The CCP will simply have to be removed. And given the limitations on dissidents, it also won’t be them who initiate any such change. Change is going to be propelled by the masses. It won’t happen until the general CHinese public gets sick enough and tired enough of the CCP schtick. That threshold might occur based on some combination of stagnating economic growth, worsening environmental degradation, mushrooming legal injustices, anger towards official corruption…and who knows what else.

July 7, 2012 @ 8:04 am | Comment

A nation is by its very definition a people that must exclude the outsider.

This is why the great civilizations in the world were not based on nationhood. These would include the Greek and Roman empires, and the Chinese. None of these were defined by ethnicity or ancestry, and they all seem to include at least a proto-universalism. The high point of Chinese civilization is usually considered to be the Tang Dynasty, a time noted for its openness and cosmopolitan nature.

On the other hand, consider a china which defines itself by exclusion. Even if China becomes the most rich and powerful country in the world, I can’t be attracted to it because as a non-Han it sets itself up against me (and a sizeable chunk of its own citizens). Instead it would be rational for me, together with others who share my “blood”, to form another exclusive nation which can counteract China’s power. Great civilizations are ones which all the world’s people are drawn to, so nations can never be truly great.

Jing’s ideas are very un-Chinese, although this hardly needs to be said because it is obvious where they came from.

July 7, 2012 @ 9:02 am | Comment

This is why the great civilizations in the world were not based on nationhood. These would include the Greek and Roman empires, and the Chinese. None of these were defined by ethnicity or ancestry, and they all seem to include at least a proto-universalism. The high point of Chinese civilization is usually considered to be the Tang Dynasty, a time noted for its openness and cosmopolitan nature.
On the other hand, consider a china which defines itself by exclusion. Even if China becomes the most rich and powerful country in the world, I can’t be attracted to it because as a non-Han it sets itself up against me (and a sizeable chunk of its own citizens). Instead it would be rational for me, together with others who share my “blood”, to form another exclusive nation which can counteract China’s power. Great civilizations are ones which all the world’s people are drawn to, so nations can never be truly great.
Jing’s ideas are very un-Chinese, although this hardly needs to be said because it is obvious where they came from.

You got it exactly right. China is not a nation-state–it’s a civilization-state. It is a completely different set of bonds that ties together Chinese people from Urumqi to Guangzhou, than, say, Italians from Milan to Naples or people living in colonial constructs such as Iraq.

July 7, 2012 @ 9:44 am | Comment

No Peter, that is why the great civilizations of the past are nothing more than dust and memories. People endure, empires fade. The vitality of greece and rome was born not from their cosmopolitanism but from the strength of their people. Greece peaked prior to the Hellenistic era. It was Alexander’s conquests that inadvertently set the foundation of their decline. Likewise Rome’s centuries long fall was precipitated by the insidious notion that to be roman was a commodity to be acquired. Cargo cult citizenship as it were. The tang, like her roman and Greek counterparts was founded by one ethnos. It’s glory and might was what attracted the parasites and barbarians. Not the other way around as the modern multiculturalist insists. We know how that sordid tale ended, with treachery by a hostile alien who thought he could take what he did not make. The bourgeoisification that prosperity induces is the bane of civilization. You are sadly mistaken if you think I care one iota about attracting the attention or praise of any other race. All I want is for the Chinese race to be free and sovereign. In case you haven’t noticed, other nations already exists. Some of them quite hostile already to any Chinese polity communist or not. It matters not to me though because the day the Chinese are free of the Bolshevik yoke and manifest their natural racial potential no one will he able to stand against us. No global coalition of third world never weres and first world has beens will ever be our equals.

July 7, 2012 @ 10:06 am | Comment

“You got it exactly right. China is not a nation-state–it’s a civilization-state. It is a completely different set of bonds that ties together Chinese people from Urumqi to Guangzhou, than, say, Italians from Milan to Naples or people living in colonial constructs such as Iraq.”

Wishful thinking. The problem with the notion of a “civilization-state”, which really is simply another term for empire (one hesitates to mention that area around Urumqi), is that one actually needs to have not only a coherent understanding of what constitutes a distinctive civilization, but also an argument for how that “state” part (because it is still included in the package) best represents the civilization. Neither of these is even remotely achieved in contemporary China, which offers its citizens the benefits of modernity, not Chinese civilization. Historically speaking, China has always been an empire. No more, no less.

July 7, 2012 @ 10:32 am | Comment

Jing: It matters not to me though because the day the Chinese are free of the Bolshevik yoke and manifest their natural racial potential no one will he able to stand against us.

Sieg HEIL!

July 7, 2012 @ 10:33 am | Comment

Jing is just your typical eugenics cross-burner. The only thing unusual about him in that regard is that he is likely not blond-hair/blue-eyed.

Clock actually makes some sense in #36/37. While it is a bit much to expect dissidents within CHina to come up with a plan and broadcast it while under the thumb of the CCP, it is reasonable to expect same from those who have left the CCP’s grasp. Of course that opens up the potential FQ criticism of foreigners telling Chinese people what to do, but presumably Clock will overlook that aspect lest he be talking out of both sides of his mouth. The only part where Clock gets tripped up here is that the task is not to convince him. I mean, who cares about him, he doesn’t even live in China. The task would be to offer a compelling alternative that passes muster with Chinese people in China.

July 7, 2012 @ 1:05 pm | Comment

It’s frequently the same people who defend the CCP, or suggest in other ways that its rule were essential; and who, on the other hand, deplore the unprepared state of society in Russia and its former colonies when the CPSU faltered. You can’t have it both ways. If you subscribe to the defense of the CCP’s role, you will have to go through thick and thin with the dictators, you will have to bet on their success in “re-writing China’s software” (i. e. the individual mind), and obviously, you will never have a society really prepared for its own freedom.

I’ve heard countless people advocating the role of the Syrian regime, in the past. It’s true that women, religious, and other minorities had a better life in Syria than in many other Arab countries (if you wonder why the Arab League is so firmly in the “Friends-of-Syria” camp, you might find a clue there.

But the Syrian regime created no sustainable “stability”. It simply suppressed the majority. And you can blame the Saudis, the Turks, Europe or America, for the state Syria is in, as much as you like – the truth is that there is no general loyalty to the regime, once it comes to the crunch.

I don’t even think that a Chinese public would be similarly radical as many of the Syrian opposition are. The country is growing old, and people like “Jing” will simply get a slap on their mouth if they start spewing bullshit. But nobody should ignore the chance that Chinese society is traumatized from CCP rule – that means a lot of insecurity. However, prolonged totalitarian rule over China won’t make things better.

The real problem are areas like Xinjiang and Tibet, where relations between the original inhabitants and Chinese settlers are hard to assess. We may see civil war there. But in my view, that’s no reason to support a situation where the CCP continues to create further problems. By its very nature, China’s current political system will never feel “safe” enough to care about ethics – not even where ethics would be practical.

Therefore, it is unrealistic to suggest that Chinese opposition should build visible platforms. Some do – and some actually try to build understanding between Tibetans and Han-Chinese (which involves the most difficult factors of the future). Frequently, this happens abroad, rather than at home. But whoever tries, is considered to be in the dissident camp. That’s not their choice – it’s Beijing’s.

July 7, 2012 @ 1:48 pm | Comment

I would recommend that China bloggers – me included – should care more frequently about what the small share of the Chinese public who aren’t quite within the CCP’s control actually do. Obviously, the share of them is so small that they are often – and conveniently – referred to as “too irrelevant” to care. When they are abroad, rather than in China, that’s a handy explanation to justify why nobody cares, and when they are in jail (i. e. “at home”), you can’t expect a real discussion either.

Whenever Zhou Yongkang farts, Associated Press or the Times will be there with a microphone. If the Chinese opposition got just one tenth of the publicity the CCP does, we may actually see politics at work there. Wang Lixiong (王力雄), for starters, ought to be heard and discussed much more frequently – that could be a truly great debate. But then, we’ll probably soon hear foreign reporters criticizing themselves, once those who have talked to them (or to RFA, or what have you, have been arrested, too.

One more thing: forget Eric Li. He may be a great businessman, but he has no idea about politics – he only knows how to make politics useful to himself, and how to make himself useful to politics.

July 7, 2012 @ 2:15 pm | Comment

China and Democracy
US and China-who will win?
US
-A relatively stable uncorrupt government (for the most part).
But polarized domestic politics,. political leaders bicker over everything they can possibly bicker over,corrupted by lobbyists,bureaucracy and inefficiency.

-A highly proficient military that will be matched in effectiveness as the Chinese at their peak.
But military overextension and moral failure

-alarming” deficits(trade and budget), sluggish economic recovery
But business leaders enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else,
infrastructure crumbles, educational system deteriorates and failure to embrace new technologies like high-speed rail

-A slightly happier”upper” and “underclass”.(in comparison to China)
But middle class stagnation and a widening gap in personal income.

-Demographic Stability
-Environmental protection that is fairly good.
-US most powerful weapon: its soft power,best educated and most creative population on earth

China
There are currently two groups of Chinese intellectuals
Some Chinese intellectuals(the glass is half empty group) do see the following pending problems:
-Corrupt politicised bureaucrats.
-Demographic disaster in the next 10-20 years.
-environmental degradation (Desertification, urbanization, higher dependence on foreign oil)
-Rebellious and resentful underclass that results in social instability.

Other Chinese intellectuals(the glass is half full group) are looking at the following bright prospects:
-China to be No.(1)in GDP.
-China to become the world No.(1) super power.
-The sheer size of the Chinese economy and its dynamism which is missing in USA and EU.
-Many positive factors such as China graduate more engineers every year than are in the entire US workforce,other achievements in defence,space,R&D,etc
-The “average” Chinese citizen views US as not trustworthy, a threat to China and a threat to world peace, and declining in military and economic power.

After the cultural revoluation,quite a large number of Chinese intellectuals were impressed with USA and visualised that USA could be a useful model for a new China,alas it has changed now,very few thinking Chinese could now imagine using USA for the way forward.
Personally,as an overseas Chinese,I am always impressed with USA as a beneign super power,but it ceased to be a model after 9.11 and the subsequent Wall Street scandels.
US is currently managed by ACP,the America capitalist Party which is of little difference to CCP.

July 7, 2012 @ 5:08 pm | Comment

“jack” – #48 – is cut and paste.

July 7, 2012 @ 11:16 pm | Comment

Good find, JR. The trolls come out of the woodwork.

July 8, 2012 @ 12:38 am | Comment

#48 would be a great (ok, more like middling) argument that China shouldn’t strive to be just like the US of A. Has anyone stated/suggested/implied/intimated/opined that China should become just like the US of A? If not, then why do so many of a certain type of folk so often choose to argue against something that no one has proposed?

July 8, 2012 @ 12:44 am | Comment

@ SK

#48 would be a great (ok, more like middling) argument that China shouldn’t strive to be just like the US of A. Has anyone stated/suggested/implied/intimated/opined that China should become just like the US of A? If not, then why do so many of a certain type of folk so often choose to argue against something that no one has proposed?

Jack’s just lazily copying/pasting comments here–that’s why it seems irrelevant.

Jing is just your typical eugenics cross-burner. The only thing unusual about him in that regard is that he is likely not blond-hair/blue-eyed.
Clock actually makes some sense in #36/37. While it is a bit much to expect dissidents within CHina to come up with a plan and broadcast it while under the thumb of the CCP, it is reasonable to expect same from those who have left the CCP’s grasp. Of course that opens up the potential FQ criticism of foreigners telling Chinese people what to do, but presumably Clock will overlook that aspect lest he be talking out of both sides of his mouth. The only part where Clock gets tripped up here is that the task is not to convince him. I mean, who cares about him, he doesn’t even live in China. The task would be to offer a compelling alternative that passes muster with Chinese people in China.

Jing’s views are pretty much a rehash of National Socialism. What’s important though is to realize that these views do exist in Chinese society and need to be addressed if China is to make the leap to popular representation rather than sliding into populist demagogery.

As for the task of convincing the people in China, I think the better thing is to actually start by writing something a bit more specific than Charter 08. The issue with Charter 08 is that it offers no carrot out to any part of the Chinese state to actually work with it. Instead, activists would probably do much better to start by advocating smaller chunks of reform at a time:

For example,
1. Loosening the Party Organization department’s grip on newly privatized SOEs
2. Pushing for local elections to automatically trigger if a city/county government has a history of fiscal mismanagement/deficits/violates Party Center directives/is publicly exposed as a “rotten borough”
3. Pushing for increased provincial rotation amongst judiciary and public security personnel, to reduce the likelihood of long-term corrupt relationships forming within a particular area

etc. etc.

@ JR

I would recommend that China bloggers – me included – should care more frequently about what the small share of the Chinese public who aren’t quite within the CCP’s control actually do. Obviously, the share of them is so small that they are often – and conveniently – referred to as “too irrelevant” to care. When they are abroad, rather than in China, that’s a handy explanation to justify why nobody cares, and when they are in jail (i. e. “at home”), you can’t expect a real discussion either.
Whenever Zhou Yongkang farts, Associated Press or the Times will be there with a microphone. If the Chinese opposition got just one tenth of the publicity the CCP does, we may actually see politics at work there. Wang Lixiong (王力雄), for starters, ought to be heard and discussed much more frequently – that could be a truly great debate. But then, we’ll probably soon hear foreign reporters criticizing themselves, once those who have talked to them (or to RFA, or what have you, have been arrested, too.
One more thing: forget Eric Li. He may be a great businessman, but he has no idea about politics – he only knows how to make politics useful to himself, and how to make himself useful to politics.

There are a lot of good people putting out viewpoints now. Wang Lixiong is good, Andy Xie is better (although both are prone to histrionics/hysterics.) Michael Pettis is very very good. As for overcoverage of Chinese leaders, I don’t think that’s actually the case–compared to Western politicians, Chinese politicians are actually undercovered by the international media–which I think is partly intentional from the Chinese side (a lot of other CCP officials found Bo Xilai’s preening to Western journalists fairly offensive, for example.)

It’s frequently the same people who defend the CCP, or suggest in other ways that its rule were essential; and who, on the other hand, deplore the unprepared state of society in Russia and its former colonies when the CPSU faltered. You can’t have it both ways. If you subscribe to the defense of the CCP’s role, you will have to go through thick and thin with the dictators, you will have to bet on their success in “re-writing China’s software” (i. e. the individual mind), and obviously, you will never have a society really prepared for its own freedom.

Actually, that assumes that the only exit out of a status quo CCP role is the Gorbachev solution. But when one examines South Korea’s break from the DRP, Japan’s change from the LDP, Singapore’s relationship with its ruling coaltion, Taiwan and KMT; etc it becomes quite easy to see that a different sort of transition is possible, that does not result in either the dissolution of the Party nor political upheaval.

July 8, 2012 @ 9:41 am | Comment

The tang, like her roman and Greek counterparts was founded by one ethnos. It’s glory and might was what attracted the parasites and barbarians. Not the other way around as the modern multiculturalist insists.

I’ll grant that the essential genius of the great world civilizations mostly came from one “ethnos”, in the sense that it came from a particular way of looking at the world – ie the product of a particular culture. Multiculturalism as we understand it would have had very little to do with it. IMO multiculturalism means well but it is intellectually bankrupt. It sees culture as a smorgasbord of experiences, colourful clothes and exotic food. Advocates of multiculturalism love those experiences but in terms of real culture, theirs is very particular and specific and is mostly shared only by a subset of white people. It also tends to be narrow and legalistic. That’s my opinion anyway.

This doesn’t change the fact that the appeal of the great civilizations was precisely because they had something to offer to the whole world, not some ethnic subset. That is what they were justly proud of.

You are sadly mistaken if you think I care one iota about attracting the attention or praise of any other race.

Well, it would be even sadder if you did care that much about those things. If something is praiseworthy or worth noticing, that will happen without you needing to do anything.

By the way you should capitalise Tang and Roman, unless you are subconsciously belittling them?

The problem with the notion of a “civilization-state”, which really is simply another term for empire.

Handler gets it. Empire is a dirty word today, but IMO nationalisms are worse. More blood is spilt by nationalists, and states founded on nationalism tend towards totalitarianism, because unlike empires which only demand that you pay your taxes and don’t rebel, nation states demand your heart and soul. Hence they make you learn the poetry and writing of people alien to you, and try to shoehorn you into their mode of being. I can’t speak from experience, but I think it might be more tolerable to be a minority in China in certain areas if China just accepted that it is an empire and didn’t try to be a nation-state.

At least intelligent Chinese should leave it to others to denounce imperialism, because if there was no imperialism in the world there would be no China.

July 8, 2012 @ 10:18 am | Comment

Ladies and gentlemen,I am Jack here,AKA Dreamer-Sg
Yes,I did make exactly the same comment in Economist under “Chen, China and America”
Sorry if I have created misunderstanding.
May I add that I also believe that Obama will be re-elected and lead USA to the Golden Age and the shall be the global leader.

July 8, 2012 @ 10:51 am | Comment

I accept the point by (51)SK Cheung that my points may be irrelevant here.
The reason why I put them up is because whenever the issue of “democracy in China” is being discussed by Chinese intellectuals,they would invariably bring up the example of USA to justify why Democracy would not work in China,as reflected by many comments in FT Chinese edition.
http://www.ftchinese.com/

July 8, 2012 @ 11:48 am | Comment

t_co:

Wang Lixiong is good, Andy Xie is better (although both are prone to histrionics/hysterics), you wrote in #52.
Prone to histrionics/hysterics? Can you explain a bit further?

You also suggest in the same comment that what I wrote before suggests that there needed to be a Gorbachev. That surprises me – nothing in what you quoted from me suggests that, t_co. It might as well be a number of people of Chiang Ching-kuo’s kind. The only problem: they are unlikely to emerge within the CCP. The CCP’s ambitions are quite different from Chiang jrs.

Ai Ping, vice-director of the party’s international department, was quoted as saying last year that the key to having a good knowledge about China lies in a better knowledge of the Communist Party. I agree, though arguably for reasons different from his.

I suggest that people who discard Ai Ping’s suggestion as more or less irrelevant for daily life in China should try to study the party anyway – the central committee’s “cultural decision” may be a good start. It’s pretty ambitious, and it affects many aspects of daily life in China.

When you do a google search with this combination – “Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party Decision Concerning Deepening Cultural Structural Reform” -, you’ll find a series of translations on my blog, and a translation in one go on China Copyright and Media.

In these terms, I agree that there is too little coverage both on the CCP and on the public outside its control. What I do not agree with is that the CCP gets little attention. Zhou Yongkang‘s alleged fall from power has been a hot topic for months, without much substance. Party decisions that might affect business usually become hot topics, too. And you will hardly find a copy of the Economist these days that doesn’t quote party officials or papers operated by the party.

July 8, 2012 @ 1:13 pm | Comment

Richard
And if the people so adore the CCP, why do Li and other shills so strongly oppose free elections?

I would laugh if the Chinese electorate voted for an actual hardline, xenophobic, militaristic government.

July 9, 2012 @ 12:58 am | Comment

Gil
All the Central and Eastern European countries states for which the OECD reports statistics (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Estonia, Turkey) have Gini income coefficients lower than the latest reported for China (

ROFL, someone actually thinks declared income actually means something when measuring inequality.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_distribution_of_wealth

July 9, 2012 @ 1:01 am | Comment

Richard
The two issues are glued at the hip. The economy is the only justification used to keep China a one-party state under the unquestionable rule of the CCP.

No, it isn’t. It’s the only metric you are aware of because presumably that’s where your focus lies.

Handler
The problem with the notion of a “civilization-state”, which really is simply another term for empire (one hesitates to mention that area around Urumqi)

China’s “empire building” is an exception in all of history and to deny it is to proclaim ignorance. The core of China was acquired slowly by cultural diffusion and marriages, and (generally) not through military campaigns as in the case of the Romans, Persians, Arabs, Akkadians/Assyrians/Babylonians, Incans, etc. India would count if the people actually cohered, but they don’t and never did.

justrecently
Chinese society is traumatized from CCP rule – that means a lot of insecurity. However, prolonged totalitarian rule over China won’t make things better.

Some evidence of this “trauma”, please. Anyone who resorts to nonsense like this has no right to use the word “bullshit”.

The real problem are areas like Xinjiang and Tibet, where relations between the original inhabitants and Chinese settlers are hard to assess.

There is no problem. There can be a “Westernization” of Chinese efforts to cement their rule over these areas, if you wish. I refer to Australia, Canada, the United States and other self-proclaimed moral paragons.

But reality tells us the Uighur are not at all “native” to Xinjiang, and your pretenses to this revisionist history are offensive to anyone with even a basic understanding of Xinjiang’s history.

because if there was no imperialism in the world there would be no China.

Disagree. If there was no imperialism in the world China would be preeminent. America and Europe would collapse.

SK Cheung
Has anyone stated/suggested/implied/intimated/opined that China should become just like the US of A?

No, but they’re (you’re) suggesting China should be more like America. They should do just the opposite.

Peter
This is why the great civilizations in the world were not based on nationhood. These would include the Greek and Roman empires, and the Chinese. None of these were defined by ethnicity or ancestry, and they all seem to include at least a proto-universalism. The high point of Chinese civilization is usually considered to be the Tang Dynasty, a time noted for its openness and cosmopolitan nature.

The Tang was great, as said above, because it was predominantly Chinese. The foreigners in (Southern) China were a tiny subset of trading or intellectual elites that were drawn to China because she was rich. They didn’t make China powerful – in fact they brought about the downfall of the Tang as an unrestricted flow of foreigners from Central Asia created chaos when An Lushan led an army of ingrates and usurpers in an attempt to destroy Chinese civilization.

Multiculturalists have warped the history of the Tang and Song Dynasties to suit their agenda, but they neglect to mention that ethnic conflict essentially defined their existence. Pogroms against arrogant minorities were frequent and the wars with the Jurchen, Turks, etc basically forged much of Chinese identity today.

July 9, 2012 @ 1:25 am | Comment

“I would laugh if the Chinese electorate voted for an actual hardline, xenophobic, militaristic government.”
— I wouldn’t find it funny. But if that’s what Chinese people chose for themselves, I’d respect it as their choice even if I disagreed with it.

” It’s the only metric you are aware of because presumably that’s where your focus lies.”
—I think that’s where most Chinese people’s focus lies. But then you’re not a chinesecitizen. I agree with whoever mentioned earlier that the average Chinese person probably doesn’t lie awake at night distraught over the rights they don’t have. As Richard says, people don’t usually miss their rights until they no longer have it, so the average Chinese person probably doesn’t get too exercised until its their turn to get screwed over. Then they probably wish the Ccp was different. But for the average person, I think the economy is where it’s at. You might try to suggest that Chinese are thankful to the Ccp for keeping them “safe”, or maybe for getting a strong military to satisfy their inner Rambo. But I think those are peripheral “benefits”, and they don’t pay the freight literally or figuratively.

” but they’re (you’re) suggesting China should be more like America”
—seriously lol. Show me one (1) occasion where I have done this. But anyway, it’s the straw man that apologists like you have to resort to, I guess. And you folks probably come by it honestly, since it’s a perspective that comes directly from the mother ship. A blogger sent me this:

http://thediplomat.com/china-power/for-china-its-all-about-america/

Might explain the mindset of folks like you.

July 9, 2012 @ 3:03 am | Comment

SK Cheung
But if that’s what Chinese people chose for themselves, I’d respect it as their choice even if I disagreed with it.

I highly doubt Chinese people would do something similar, but logically this means you support the historical election of the Nazi Party in Germany. This, clearly, is wildly irrational.

But for the average person, I think the economy is where it’s at.

According to most “happiness” surveys, the nation’s household balance sheet matters the most to the average person. Technology would probably come pretty close. I’m pretty sure shutting down people’s TVs/internet connections would create a revolution far faster than a 5% contraction in GDP.

As Richard says, people don’t usually miss their rights until they no longer have it

That’s an untested theory. People who live in countries that have gone from democratic to fascist were typically no less content as long as employment and GDP was up. As long as the “taking away of rights” doesn’t infringe on individual comforts, they usually will not protest.

As for your link, it’s tripe written by a propagandist, and I’m not surprised you stand by it.

Show me one (1) occasion where I have done this.

All the times you have implied democracy would benefit China without ever offering a single shred of proof supporting your claim.

July 9, 2012 @ 3:25 am | Comment

“ROFL, someone actually thinks declared income actually means something when measuring inequality.”

This from the guy who’s quoting the 2000 stats for wealth inequality (which by strange co-incidence, are the only metrics for inequality that don’t make China look massively unequal) and trying to make out that they count today. The Chinese government hasn’t published these statistics in meantime because, errrm, what?

And if inequality isn’t a problem in China, then why does the Chinese government’s own experts, refering to the Gini income figures, say it is? Again, here’s that China Daily piece just in case you missed it the first time round:

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-05/12/content_9837073.htm

July 9, 2012 @ 5:48 am | Comment

The core of China was acquired slowly by cultural diffusion and marriages, and (generally) not through military campaigns.

To the extent that that is true, it supports my thesis that great civilizations are based on culture and ideas. I do question the claim that China is different from every other empire though. Certainly the ideal empire as envisaged by Chinese sages grows through something like “cultural diffusion” as people are drawn to a just and humane ruler, but Qin Shihuang set the tone for the rest of Chinese history and he did so in a very different fashion. Chinese history is a history of military campaigns; one of China’s most well-known cultural products is a book on warfare. The Vietnamese fought China much longer than they fought the French and Americans, and rejected military support from China during the Vietnam War – because Ho Chi Minh thought that Mao Zedong might see Vietnam (once known in China as “Pacified South”) as another Tibet, former Chinese territory to be recovered. Today, China has had wars or shooting incidents with nearly every country on its border. I suspect that Cookie Monster’s comparing China with the other great empires is a case of comparing an ideal apple with real-world oranges.

I repeat: China was and is an empire. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing on balance; in many ways it’s better than the alternatives. But you don’t get empires without imperialism.

July 9, 2012 @ 5:49 am | Comment

FOARP
which by strange co-incidence, are the only metrics for inequality that don’t make China look massively unequal

Wait what? What other metrics are there? Home ownership? China has a relatively high rate for its level of wealth. Indebtedness? Check. China has among the fewest people in debt (or negative net worth) in the world. Childhood malnutrition? Lower than 7% for China, 47% for India. Crime rates? Among the lowest in the world.

All of these, especially crime rates, are good indirect measures of inequality. And there are more recent figures by Credit Suisse but it’s in a huge PDF that no one is going to look at: https://www.credit-suisse.com/news/doc/credit_suisse_global_wealth_databook.pdf

And if inequality isn’t a problem in China, then why does the Chinese government’s own experts, refering to the Gini income figures, say it is?

What kind of argument is that? First of all, I didn’t say it wasn’t a problem. It’s a problem everywhere. It’s just one that China has handled “better” than many others. Low rates of taxation for the poor, government housing, subsidies for food and healthcare. What else do you want them to do? Raid people’s bank accounts?

but Qin Shihuang set the tone for the rest of Chinese history and he did so in a very different fashion.

The Qin Dynasty focused most of its energy on other Sinic states, in response to pressure from the frontiers by nomadic confederations. They didn’t pursue an active policy of conquest of “foreigners”.

The Vietnamese fought China much longer than they fought the French and Americans

They also coexisted with China far longer than any two major neighboring European states have. Likewise, they were not actively rebelling for the full 1,000 years or so they were “ruled” by China. Lastly, even despite being “occupied” for a thousand years Vietnam’s genetic profile is largely the same, they speak their own language and have their own culture. Doesn’t look like Tibet is going to disappear any time soon.

Today, China has had wars or shooting incidents with nearly every country on its border.

Every country on China’s border has had even more shooting incidents with every country on their border than China has with them. But you don’t hear the West’s media shrieking hypocritically about skirmishes between the Philippines and Vietnam, or disputes between Japan and Korea over Dokdo/Takeshima, and especially not about India’s campaigns in Kashmir which have killed untold thousands of civilians.

I’m definitely not saying that China doesn’t have a military tradition, it’s just that they don’t really have much of an expansionist impulse. China has always been surrounded by weak states they could have easily predated on, but they didn’t bully them – even if a few revisionist China scholars in the West like to propagate the notion that the tributary system was extractive.

July 9, 2012 @ 6:55 am | Comment

The latter part of that comment was to Peter, of course.

Likewise FOARP, the CCP (stupidly) uses income Gini as a measure of inequality. That’s why any policies aimed at fixing the problem based on this (aside from lowering the threshold for paying income tax) have been failures.

July 9, 2012 @ 6:58 am | Comment

“but logically this means you support the historical election of the Nazi Party in Germany.”
—ahhh yes, it is ironic that it is folks like you who never tire of the Nazi references. Yes, the Nazi’s were elected by Germans back in the 1930s, BEFORE the Nazis became…well…the Nazis. Of course, you overlook the fact that by the time the Nazis became the Nazis, Germans probably wouldn’t have supported them any longer, but by then they no longer had the choice. Actually, might be some parallels in there with the CCP. Sure, Chinese people supported the CCP back in 1949. But do they still? And do they have any choice in the matter? The isolated use of “Nazis” without the complete historical context is beyond stupid.

“According to most “happiness” surveys…”
—are you dragging up the Pew stuff again? Haven’t we been through this before?

“the nation’s household balance sheet matters the most to the average person.”
—gee, I wonder if the economy has anything to do with that?…

“I’m pretty sure shutting down people’s TVs/internet connections would create a revolution far faster than a 5% contraction in GDP.”
—that might be true. And if the CCP started randomly shooting kids in the street, or if they randomly started to force feed melamine milk to kids…and a whole bunch of other things that might have a more immediate effect in turning people against them. Are those plausible scenarios? Nope. So one wonders why you would bother with such a stupid argument. Presumably, the CCP isn’t out to piss off people and have them turn against it. But if the economy tanks despite the CCP’s best efforts and people then turn against it, that would be what Richard is talking about, and quite separate from your idiotic example.

“People who live in countries that have gone from democratic to fascist were typically no less content as long as employment and GDP was up.”
—jesus christ, dude. I said this in the very next sentence (in fact, it’s the same sentence, separated from what you quoted only by a comma): “so the average Chinese person probably doesn’t get too exercised until its their turn to get screwed over”. You take selective quoting and cherry picking to retardedly low levels. Well done.

“it’s tripe written by a propagandist”
—but it’s tripe that squarely pegs tripe like you. If the shoe fits, sing it loud and wear it proud, buddy.

“All the times you have implied democracy would benefit China ”
—LOL. The challenge was for you to back up your contention that I have been “suggesting China should be more like America”. And this is all you’ve got? Truly pathetic stuff. But you do what you gotta do, as I always say. You should be ashamed…except you are probably incapable of that level of self-reflection.

July 9, 2012 @ 7:25 am | Comment

SK Cheung
the Nazi’s were elected by Germans back in the 1930s, BEFORE the Nazis became…well…the Nazis.

Uh nope, they were the same people before and after. They openly despised Slavs and Jews and few Germans did anything to stop their atrocities.

Actually, might be some parallels in there with the CCP.

Uhh, nope.

are you dragging up the Pew stuff again? Haven’t we been through this before?

The part where you were wrong? No, these are different surveys done by other groups and another by Pew again.

gee, I wonder if the economy has anything to do with that?…

Gee, I wonder if you are capable of common sense or logic? The economy is second to it. But to manage a nation’s finances is entirely different from managing the economy. The latter feeds into the former, but GDP could drop 30% and China could likewise still accumulate with.

one wonders why you would bother with such a stupid argumenter.

I ask this to myself constantly. My point is that they care more about technology (something the CCP has been key in proliferating due to contracts, buying IP, investment plans) than “the economy” as you seem to understand it.

But if the economy tanks despite the CCP’s best efforts and people then turn against it, that would be what Richard is talking about, and quite separate from your idiotic example.

Except that’s not going to happen, your idiotic fantasies aside.

The challenge was for you to back up your contention that I have been “suggesting China should be more like America”

Should I dig through your posts and provide proof that the sun is hot? No, I’m not going to waste your time. All of your posts are about how great democracy is and how America’s system is so wonderful and flawless. If you have changed that attitude, then I’m glad you’re making progress – kinda like how I had to explain to you the difference between wealth and income, the fact that Gini is not indeed spelled GINI and is not strictly a measure of income inequality, etc.

Again, your post proves you can only throw crybaby tantrums when facts prove you wrong.

July 9, 2012 @ 7:41 am | Comment

the economy is secondary to household balance sheets *

July 9, 2012 @ 7:41 am | Comment

“Uh nope, they were the same people before and after”
—lol again. How many elections did Germans have after hitler became chancellor in 1933? (until 1945 of course). How many mandates did the nazis receive after they showed themselves to be the nazis as we know them? Similarly, how many mandates have the Ccp received since they showed themselves to be the Ccp as we know them?

Love how you dragged up credit Suisse again. That would be the study showing chinas wealth Gini to be increasing. Great stuff.

As for pew, I admit I haven’t looked it up this year. Has their methodology improved, or is it the same old stuff I’ve gone on at length about before? And these “other surveys”… Any of them worth the paper they’re written on?

” but GDP could drop 30% and China could likewise still accumulate with.”
—such a basic concept you’ve yet to grasp. China as a country is already reasonably rich. It’s Chinese the people who remain generally poor. Sure, china could still accumulate wealth if GDP declined. But Chinese people, not so much. Obviously, the needs of Chinese people are not front of mind for you. But they’re the ones who will ultimately decide if the Ccp stays or goes…and a GDP drop of 30% would go a long way.

Yes Chinese people like the rest of us rely more and more on “technology”. But is the Ccp about to shut off their tech access? If not, then your point is irrelevant. You’re trying to deny that economy reigns supreme when it comes to the ccp’s raison d’etre among chinese, by bringing up potential Chinese anger with removal of tech like Internet access. You then say that Ccp is investing here. So yes, Chinese people value their tech, but that has nothing to do with their motivation for keeping the Ccp around, since (a) the Ccp isn’t threatening to take it away, and (b) any other governance system could provide the same thing. In fact, I would love to see the day when Chinese people realize you don’t need an authoritarian government to manage a market economy. One really wonders about the source of your stupidity to come up with these idiotic arguments.

“All of your posts are about how great democracy is and how America’s system is so wonderful and flawless”
—for once, you could just admit you put your foot into your mouth, then move on. But nope, obfuscate away. Such a lack of character and evidence of poor upbringing. Recurring character trait/flaw when it comes to folks like you. It still amazes me that the Ccp collects such a sampling of winners like you to do their bidding. Birds of a feather, I suppose.

July 9, 2012 @ 9:33 am | Comment

That would be the study showing chinas wealth Gini to be increasing.

Moronic argument. It’s increasing everywhere.

Any of them worth the paper they’re written on?

Well one is affiliated with BBC, so maybe not.

http://www.globescan.com/images/images/pressreleases/bbc2012_country_ratings/2012_bbc_country%20rating%20final%20080512.pdf

China as a country is already reasonably rich. It’s Chinese the people who remain generally poor.

You have no idea what you’re talking about.

But they’re the ones who will ultimately decide if the Ccp stays or goes…and a GDP drop of 30% would go a long way.

Nice fantasy. In that case, the fact that the CCP is still in power is testament to widespread approval. I agree.

But is the Ccp about to shut off their tech access? If not, then your point is irrelevant.

Learn how to read.

by bringing up potential Chinese anger with removal of tech like Internet access.

No. Learn how to read. My point was that Chinese people enjoy the benefits of technological advancement (that which doesn’t show on GDP or unemployment figures) brought to them faster by CCP policies, including solar water heating/power as part of the rural electrification project, etc.

(b) any other governance system could provide the same thing.

Prove it. China has seen faster proliferation of internet/mobile/energy tech than any country in the history of the world.

I would love to see the day when Chinese people realize you don’t need an authoritarian government to manage a market economy

I would love to see the day when you have half a clue and realize that a market doesn’t operate independently of the rest of the nation. CCP policies have created an efficient military doctrine to defend Chinese economic interests, have set decent policies in place for the growth of wealth, has a taxation scheme favorable to the poor, and has presided over the greatest boom in scientific publishing and IP that the world has ever seen.

You, on the other hand, have only eaten more of your paste, made empty threats, generally contributed nothing to humanity and made ad hominem posts on the internet. Congratulations.

Such a lack of character and evidence of poor upbringing.

When you’re too incompetent to present real arguments supporting your idiotic claims, resort to personal attacks.

You’re the perfect argument against democracy. People who support it for China are similarly delusional or mentally ill.

July 9, 2012 @ 9:51 am | Comment

“China’s “empire building” is an exception in all of history and to deny it is to proclaim ignorance. The core of China was acquired slowly by cultural diffusion and marriages, and (generally) not through military campaigns as in the case of the Romans, Persians, Arabs, Akkadians/Assyrians/Babylonians, Incans, etc. India would count if the people actually cohered, but they don’t and never did.”

Since China’s own military researchers claim that China fought over 1/3rd of the total number of battles in the world on historical record until the end of the Qing, your comments here have roughly the value of a stray cat trying to lick tidbits from an empty can.

July 9, 2012 @ 10:29 am | Comment

Nice try, but lets try to actually think for a second – you do realize that wars can be defensive in nature, correct?

July 9, 2012 @ 10:46 am | Comment

“China’s “empire building” is an exception in all of history and to deny it is to proclaim ignorance. The core of China was acquired slowly by cultural diffusion and marriages, and (generally) not through military campaigns as in the case of the Romans, Persians, Arabs, Akkadians/Assyrians/Babylonians, Incans, etc. India would count if the people actually cohered, but they don’t and never did.”

Uh huh. So this Qin johnny first emperor was basically a hippy that invited the other states to join his in some sort of love-fest?

July 9, 2012 @ 11:22 am | Comment

“I’m definitely not saying that China doesn’t have a military tradition, it’s just that they don’t really have much of an expansionist impulse. China has always been surrounded by weak states they could have easily predated on, but they didn’t bully them – even if a few revisionist China scholars in the West like to propagate the notion that the tributary system was extractive.”

So when the Orkhon inscriptions provide an account of the Chinese enslaving them, it was just an exception. This was, after all, merely cultural diffusion.

The desire for self-purification. It’s a beautiful thing, especially when China’s military authors argue that China has no original sin.

July 9, 2012 @ 11:43 am | Comment

“Nice try, but lets try to actually think for a second – you do realize that wars can be defensive in nature, correct?”

Well, that’s a surprising argument. Poor China. More than one third of all the wars noted in the historical record. Surely China is an exceptional victim.

July 9, 2012 @ 12:14 pm | Comment

“My point was that Chinese people enjoy the benefits of technological advancement (that which doesn’t show on GDP or unemployment figures) brought to them faster by CCP policies, including solar water heating/power as part of the rural electrification project, etc.”

It would be best to consider China’s urban/rural energy consumption if you want to apply this argument to the hinterlands.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421509003413

Considering the urban/rural population ratio, the difference in energy consumption is astounding. You can’t be using technology if you are not consuming energy.

July 9, 2012 @ 12:39 pm | Comment

Great, yeah, why not, let’s keep arguing with a guy who quotes statistics that the Chinese government themselves hasn’t dared publish in more than 12 years for fear of what they show. Look, by the metric which China’s own government scientists use to measure inequality (income Gini – something they haven’t published properly for a few years as well, again, because they’re afraid of what the figures show) China has inequality problems comparable to those of basket-cases like Venezuela and Sri Lanka, and greater than those of India, Turkey, or Thailand.

Oh, and the OECD’s developing democracies I listed above have, by-and-large, seen decreasing income inequality over the last decade.

July 9, 2012 @ 1:37 pm | Comment

To the idiotic #70:
“It’s increasing everywhere.”
—that’s nice. But once again, I’m not comparing; only you are. I’m just saying that China’s is increasing…right there…courtesy of your own link. LOL.

“In that case, the fact that the CCP is still in power is testament to widespread approval. I agree.”
—you are special even among morons. The GDP hasn’t dropped 30%…yet. It was a supposition on your part. Where is this testament to widespread approval? How do you not fall down more? IF it fell 30%, AND the CCP still remained in power, THEN you might have something. But it hasn’t…so right now, you have nothing…which is becoming habit-forming for you.

“My point was that Chinese people enjoy the benefits of technological advancement (that which doesn’t show on GDP or unemployment figures) brought to them faster by CCP policies, including solar water heating/power as part of the rural electrification project, etc.”
—ahh, so once again, when your stupidity gets called out, the point changes. No longer is it the “TV/internet connections” crap you tried to pull in #61, but it’s solar heating and solar electric…the latter of which is a highly subsidized industry that the CCP can afford to pay for because of…you guessed it…the economy. Which again comes back to the inescapable fact that the economy is the CCP’s only means of legitimacy, try as you might. But please, change your point again. It’s fun to watch.

“China has seen faster proliferation of internet/mobile/energy tech”
—and what has the CCP got to do with that?

“CCP policies have created an efficient military doctrine to defend Chinese economic interests, have set decent policies in place for the growth of wealth, has a taxation scheme favorable to the poor, and has presided over the greatest boom in scientific publishing and IP that the world has ever seen.”
—wow, that sounds fantastic. THe IP part is a bit much, considering what she has stolen and what little of other people’s IP the CCP protects. But still, that’s a fantastic package. The CCP should be so proud of being able to go before the public and be judged based on her accomplishments…except the CCP isn’t quite so keen to go before the public and be judged. Why is that?

“resort to personal attacks”
—oh please. I’ve had you pegged as someone with shoddy character and lousy quality of upbringing since the very beginning. Like I said before, if the shoe fits, wear it proud and sing it loud. It’s not just the stupidity and crappy logic. Everyone has their limitations. But it’s the repeated inability to own it that earns you the more damning assessments. For instance, so far you’ve gone from internet access to solar energy. I wonder where you’ll waffle towards next…

July 9, 2012 @ 3:00 pm | Comment

Great, yeah, why not, let’s keep arguing with a guy who quotes statistics that the Chinese government themselves hasn’t dared publish in more than 12 years for fear of what they show.

It’s these kinds of discussions that never cease to amaze me. Time in a boxing club is, as a rule, much better spent. Don’t get me wrong – I do believe there are debates that are worth all the CO2, but exchanges with CM rarely fall into that category.

July 9, 2012 @ 7:44 pm | Comment

Great, yeah, why not, let’s keep arguing with a guy who quotes statistics that the Chinese government themselves hasn’t dared publish in more than 12 years for fear of what they show.

It’s these kinds of discussions that never cease to amaze me. Time in a boxing club is, as a rule, much better spent. Don’t get me wrong – I do believe there are debates that are worth all the CO2, but exchanges with CM rarely fall into that category.

July 9, 2012 @ 7:46 pm | Comment

This is actually a pretty good sign–China’s youth are awakening in terms of having a sense of civic responsibility.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/4fcbab6c-c67d-11e1-963a-00144feabdc0.html#axzz209D4Czfg

If the pieces are coordinated correctly, there may exist the possibility to forge a civil society out of this. Good news all around.

July 10, 2012 @ 1:31 am | Comment

Cookie is a borderline troll, but I’d like us to avoid calling each other stupid and other names. I believe his words speak for themselves.

July 10, 2012 @ 2:15 am | Comment

Handler
So when the Orkhon inscriptions provide an account of the Chinese enslaving them, it was just an exception. This was, after all, merely cultural diffusion.

The Orkhon inscriptions, by the Gokturks? The same Gokturks that raided Chinese territory for hundreds of years? The same Gokturks that enslaved their own people and those of China’s allies and sold them?

Well, that’s a surprising argument. Poor China. More than one third of all the wars noted in the historical record. Surely China is an exceptional victim.

Yes, common sense and real history are no doubt a surprise to you. You seem you think you’re an expert, but you’re shocked that nomads invade sedentary civilizations? Oh those poor Mongols, Huns, Gokturks, Avars, etc.

Considering the urban/rural population ratio, the difference in energy consumption is astounding. You can’t be using technology if you are not consuming energy.

So you’re neither a historian nor an economist – got it. The cities use more power because industry is concentrated in urban areas. Do you really think a nation expends most of their power heating water and run mobile devices and television sets?

SK Cheung
I’m just saying that China’s is increasing…right there…courtesy of your own link. LOL.

All I’m saying is that your “point” is irrelevant. LOL. Answer my question, how do you think the CCP should reverse or stop the increase? Do you even know how taxation works in China? And since you reject comparisons, we can now throw out democracy from the discussion altogether as unproven theory. China just is.

But it hasn’t…so right now, you have nothing…which is becoming habit-forming for you.

Learn how to read and follow an argument, and stop whining like a little baby. Your argument was that if GDP slows to any significant degree (not my illustrative exaggeration) the people will overthrow the CCP. My argument is that your childish wet dream will never come to fruition – but since you think the Chinese people will overthrow the CCP whenever they are mad enough, the fact that they haven’t is clearly a 30 year endorsement of CCP rule.

ahh, so once again, when my stupidity gets called out, the point changes. No longer is it the “TV/internet connections” crap you tried to pull in #61, but it’s solar heating and solar electric…the latter of which is a highly subsidized industry that the CCP can afford to pay for because of…you guessed it…the economy.

Learn how to read. I used TV/internet as an example. The fact that you don’t know anything else about China’s technological advancements is not my problem. The fact that you’re not smart enough to follow simple logic is also not my problem.

China could afford subsidizing solar even if GDP slowed to 0% growth, my economically/financially challenged friend. Learn what net worth means.

and what has the CCP got to do with that?

lol.

THe IP part is a bit much, considering what she has stolen and what little of other people’s IP the CCP protects.

What an incredibly stupid statement. China buys most of their IP, and the ones they “steal” don’t get counted as domestic patents. Regardless, the CCP isn’t exceptional in “stealing” technology. The only difference is that the CCP is sophisticated enough to pull it off and get away with it. They use their market as a weapon just like America and the EU do. Any other nation in China’s position and with China’s capabilities would do the same.

I’ve had you pegged as someone with shoddy character and lousy quality of upbringing since the very beginning.

Meaningless, as your opinions and judgments are usually incredibly retarded.

justrecently
but exchanges with CM rarely fall into that category.

I’m sure – me arguing with you is like a Mike Tyson punching a little girl’s face in. You are horribly outclassed.

July 10, 2012 @ 9:32 am | Comment

“And since you reject comparisons, we can now throw out democracy from the discussion altogether as unproven theory. China just is.”
—if only that were true. I’m all for letting Chinese people be, and letting them make their own decisions. Sadly, the CCP is not so open-minded. So Chinese people are stuck with the CCP’s version…for now.

“but since you think the Chinese people will overthrow the CCP whenever they are mad enough, the fact that they haven’t is clearly a 30 year endorsement of CCP rule.”
—actually, the fact they haven’t, using your own logic here, is simply because they aren’t mad enough…yet. THere is no endorsement of CCP rule…i mean, how can there be any endorsement? In fact, if the CCP wanted an endorsement, she would actually need to put the choice to Chinese people, which the CCP is too chicken shit to do. However, if the GDP starts to drop, then people may well get mad enough at the CCP to demand a change in scenery. And it won’t be a moment too soon.

“I used TV/internet as an example.”
—LOL. An example of what? Oh, that’s to be determined later when you need to start waffling and obfuscating as per standard procedure.

“China could afford subsidizing solar even if GDP slowed to 0% growth,”
—is that an “example”, or a “point”? With your low-rent style, one can hardly tell. Sure, China can finance stuff even without growth. Like I said earlier, China the country is fairly rich. Chinese the people, however, are not. Hey, but you never know, if China’s GDP growth stalls, perhaps the average Chinese person can be placated with most excellent internet connections and not demand removal of the CCP. Good luck with that.

“and what has the CCP got to do with that?…
lol.”
—you’re right, for once. Cuz the CCP has sweet jack all to do with it.

Anyway, nice to see you justifying CHina stealing IP. Goes to character, like I’ve pointed out before. You seem to have ignored the rest of the paragraph though: “But still, that’s a fantastic package. The CCP should be so proud of being able to go before the public and be judged based on her accomplishments…except the CCP isn’t quite so keen to go before the public and be judged. Why is that?”. I think the CCP being chicken-shit has much to do with it. Perhaps you have other “insights”.

BTW, one wonders if you even bother to read your own links, like that BBC survey from #70. On the other hand, we can always rely on you for inadvertent comic value. Anyhow, the BBC survey actually reports 95% confidence intervals. Basic stuff, but something Pew even fails to do. In the methods and elsewhere, you’ll see that the Chinese sample came only from urban centers – same flaw of non-randomness as Pew. But at least stated clearly; they didn’t try to hide it. But the main problem for you is that it is NOT a survey of the satisfaction of Chinese people with China/CCP, the aforementioned methodological limitations notwithstanding; it is a survey of international views of national influence. So it’s asking what respondents thought of China’s influence in the world; it’s not asking how content Chinese people are within China. It is most definitely not a “happiness” survey that you alluded to in #61. Anyway, in the future you might want to run it by me first to see if a study says what you’re hoping it would say, rather than having me tell you in no uncertain terms after you’ve already put it out there. Then again, for someone in your position making the arguments that you make, i guess there is no room for being thin-skinned and shy, eh?

July 10, 2012 @ 10:17 am | Comment

SKC – CM is clearly logic-proof, what point is there in continuing?

July 10, 2012 @ 2:22 pm | Comment

I think it’s good to make CM talk – to shed some light on how people like him think -, but it’s also good to leave it at some point – let the readers judge by themselves. I don’t think that, as a rule, people who drop by without taking part in a discussioon will read much more than a dozen or so comments anyway.

July 10, 2012 @ 9:47 pm | Comment

“The Orkhon inscriptions, by the Gokturks? The same Gokturks that raided Chinese territory for hundreds of years? The same Gokturks that enslaved their own people and those of China’s allies and sold them?”

You mean the Insubrian Gauls? The same Gauls that raided Roman territory for hundreds of years? The same Gauls that enslaved their own people and those of Rome’s allies and sold them?

It seems the phrase you are reaching for is “Nice one, Centurion!”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URTj4naIdAs

“Yes, common sense and real history are no doubt a surprise to you. You seem you think you’re an expert, but you’re shocked that nomads invade sedentary civilizations? Oh those poor Mongols, Huns, Gokturks, Avars, etc.”

I’m not. Nor am I shocked that sedentary civilizations expand and take over more territory. What I am bemused by is your attempt to claim the military wasn’t extraordinarily active in expanding the Chinese empire (and holding it together), and not only because it is still necessary to hold it together today.

“So you’re neither a historian nor an economist – got it. The cities use more power because industry is concentrated in urban areas.”

Naturally the cities use more power, but the divide between China’s urban and rural areas is enormous, and the fact that industry is concentrated in cities doesn’t help your argument that rural areas are enjoying the fruits of China’s technological advancement.

“Do you really think a nation expends most of their power heating water and run mobile devices and television sets?”

Are you are limiting technological advancement to those provisions? A nation whose citizens are technologically empowered will witness an increase in the consumption of energy in the form of residential and electrical use. One needs to use both categories to account for the potential consumption of residential energy in highly untechnological forms like cheap biomass rather than things like refrigerators, air conditioners, adequate public and private lighting, appliances, computers and electronics. The US consumes roughly 10% of its energy in residential and commercial use and 40% in electric power. Yes, we know China is a developing country. Let’s just not try to exaggerate the degree to which the rural populace is “enjoying the benefits of technological advancement” brought to them so rapidly by the CCP.

JR

Is this talking?

July 11, 2012 @ 12:38 am | Comment

Is this talking?

No. I suppose it’s a speech.

July 11, 2012 @ 1:56 am | Comment

S.K Cheung
I’m all for letting Chinese people be, and letting them make their own decisions.

Again with your “letting Chinese decide” BS. No, 51% of Chinese decide for the other 49%. I see no problem with local democracy (for cities and prefectures), but the concept does not scale well.

However, if the GDP starts to drop

Whoops, it already dropped in several quarters. Or do Chinese people only care about YOY figures?

Like I said earlier, China the country is fairly rich. Chinese the people, however, are not.

I take this as a simplistic point about China’s aggregate net worth being high but the “people” being relatively poor because there are so many to divide the assets among, correct?

I don’t see the point here. Per capita wealth in China is growing faster than anywhere in human history.

I think the CCP being chicken-shit has much to do with it.

The CCP doesn’t give referendums because it sees no need to.

Handler
It seems the phrase you are reaching for is “Nice one, Centurion!”

Your failed attempt on a point presumes, with no evidence, that Imperial China was anywhere near as evil as Rome was. There is no comparison.

What I am bemused by is your attempt to claim the military wasn’t extraordinarily active in expanding the Chinese empire

I said China wasn’t expansionist. Holding fiercely on to territory already incorporated into the state is a different matter.

the divide between China’s urban and rural areas is enormous, and the fact that industry is concentrated in cities doesn’t help your argument that rural areas are enjoying the fruits of China’s technological advancement.

Yes, it does. Cities simply require that much more power to function. It doesn’t explain all of the difference, but the fact that TVs are near universal and cell phones have such a high penetration rate in rural China would crush your point – if you had any facts to back it up in the first place.

A nation whose citizens are technologically empowered will witness an increase in the consumption of energy in the form of residential and electrical use.

Are you saying China hasn’t “witnessed an increase in the consumption of energy”? Please explain why technology is proliferating in the Chinese countryside faster than anywhere else.

July 11, 2012 @ 10:10 am | Comment

“I see no problem with local democracy (for cities and prefectures)”
—hey, that’d be a start. Assuming that local jurisdiction is actually respected and not run roughshod over at the whim of higher levels of government. But baby steps, I suppose. Yet even with baby steps, the CCP hasn’t gotten very far.

“Whoops, it already dropped in several quarters.”
—indeed. If the trend continues, or accelerates, Xi will be in for a nice coronation.

“China’s aggregate net worth being high but the “people” being relatively poor because there are so many to divide the assets among”
—I suppose that’s part of it, but I was actually referring to the assets the CCP owns versus the assets Chinese people own. Or you can think of it as public vs private.

“Per capita wealth in China is growing faster than anywhere in human history.”
—perhaps, but the distribution remains skewed, and is getting progressively more skewed. And if the economy/GDP growth drastically slows, the per capita effect might be blunted (because of the population size), but the have-nots will quickly approach ‘have-nothing’. And that could be a powerful motivator for such people.

“The CCP doesn’t give referendums because it sees no need to.”
—hey, you’re the one talking about “endorsement”. I’m not surprised if the CCP sees no need to obtain “endorsement”, since it only cares about its own survival and the approval of her people is of no importance. Of course, even a dog-and-pony show of “endorsement” is something authoritarian regimes love to put on (N. Korea comes to mind). So i guess the CCP doesn’t have quite the iron grip of the Kim’s (a good thing), and it doesn’t want to know. I don’t blame them for being leery of what people might say.

Anyway, hope you now have a better understanding of your own BBC study.

July 11, 2012 @ 11:03 am | Comment

“Your failed attempt on a point presumes, with no evidence, that Imperial China was anywhere near as evil as Rome was. There is no comparison.”

Actually, there are many areas of comparison (cultural diffusion, enslavement, chauvinism, etc.)–some even raised by your claim about China’s imperial exceptionality above. I take it you are not familiar with Tarquinius Priscus and Rome’s core, are you?

“but the fact that TVs are near universal and cell phones have such a high penetration rate in rural China would crush your point – if you had any facts to back it up in the first place.”

Not surprisingly, it wouldn’t. It would, however, explain your obsession with two pieces of technology while 50% of China’s population makes do with 15% of its energy.

July 11, 2012 @ 1:27 pm | Comment

If no one minds, I think I’ve had enough of this thread. Use the new post on A Confucian Constitution as an open thread if you want to carry on.

July 11, 2012 @ 1:47 pm | Comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.