Open thread

There are some shouting matches going on down below. I need to close those threads as they are way too congested; if you think there’s still more to say you can put it here.

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

The Discussion: 97 Comments

I thought the discussions (at least the ones I participated in) remained completely on topic, despite the fact that there were disagreements.

Look, if everybody agrees, you’d be writing a book instead of debating?

Going back to the grand debate of whether single-party meritocracy ala China’s SWCC, or democracy, is better for the Chinese and China, the biggest weakness in the democracy camp is that there are no facts and no evidence supporting the arguments that democracy would be “better”. The FACTS are that the Chicoms led SWCC has outperformed EVERY SINGLE SYSTEM in human history in the last 34 years, as far as economic performance and bettering-of-the-lives-of-citizens are concerned. So the democracy camp has a serious uphill battle – today, to believe that democracy is better than SWCC is to rely solely on FAITH, much like one would believe that there is a God.

I know, for most Americans today, they truly and sincerely believe that there IS an ALMIGHTY GOD, and that is despite thousands of years of science and total lack of provable evidence to support that assertion. But that has not stop the Americans (who would at least like to think of themselves as rational) from demanding that others also believe that there is a GOD, and that their God is THE GOD. Most Chinese believe that belief to be irrational and lame-brained. I will stick my snout out and posit that “democracy” is just yet another one of these “God”, and “my God is more powerful than yours” was in recorded history (and in the Bible) for thousands of years, and there is not going to go away.

I just present the facts and my interpretation of the facts. There is no need to call the pigheaded names. If you have better facts, present them. If you have better arguments, argue away.

November 28, 2012 @ 6:10 am | Comment

Those are not facts. Those are your opinions. Since you seem to feel you’re entitled to them, then why do you insist on denying Chinese people the opportunity to express theirs? As I and others have said, if the ccp has been as successful as you claim, you should have little doubt that others would agree. The fact that you’re still too chicken to submit your “facts” to the test suggests you’re not so confident in them after all. Oh, and you’re still confusing correlation ( which is all you and the ccp have) and causation (which you have not even come close to establishing). But I guess you’re not a particularly quick study.

Here’s the logic again. Chicom- led communism gave you crap. Chicom-led capitalism gave you growth. Growth trended with capitalism, not chicom leadership. Simple as that.

November 28, 2012 @ 6:45 am | Comment

@S.K. Cheung:

You got it wrong. I am NOT a Chicom, and I am NOT part of the elite that have the power to insist on denying anything. I am but a lone voice on this forum, it seems, whose only power is that to convince, through enlisting facts and reasoned arguments.

Productions figures are not facts? Illiteracy rates in 1949 compared to today, not facts? I can’t accept that.

It is a non sequitur that if Zhuubaajie is right, there should be no fear of submitting the rule of China to a “test.” The fear is real, and justified, seeing for the last 34 years how the performance of the two governments diverged: China under single-party SWCC, peace, prosperity, unity; America under democracy, interminable wars (new job description for the President: getting up in the morning and finalizing the death by drone list for the day, over coffee), stagnation, house divided. Those are not just opinions. Those are evidence that supports a justified fear that Beijing may be silly enough to succumb to foreign pressure, and adopt guaranteed decline.

Throwing a monkey’s wrench in your “logic” – NOBODY else was able to deliver what the CPC did for the Chinese nation in the last 34 years. Therefore it is irrefutable that the CPC led SWCC one-party meritocracy is the reason, or at least one of the reasons for the No. 1 performance. NONE, not even the largest democracy that is India, which has higher growth than America, but lags far behind China (even though it had a slightly higher GDP than China in 1978).

November 28, 2012 @ 6:58 am | Comment

The superiority of democracy is a “faith” that cannot withstand the trial by facts. It is nothing more than a dogma, much like the insistence that there is a GOD.

November 28, 2012 @ 7:01 am | Comment

WHAT ELSE DON’T your bunch believe in? Zhuubaajie’d be happy to offer a different perspective – I promise to support my perspective with facts and reasoned arguments.

November 28, 2012 @ 7:05 am | Comment

After 34 years of incomparable growth:
China GDP 2011: $7,318,499,000,000

After 34 years of incomparable growth:
US GDP [difference 2011-1978(adjusted)]: $9,200,000,000,000

Since so much of your argument boils down to GDP dick waving, I would wait a few years to speak if I were you. You know, for further growth. Starting small is nice and all, but the numbers don’t add up.

Of course, your argument doesn’t have to be all about the economy. China does sit atop the Human Development Index at #101. That’s two number 1′s!

November 28, 2012 @ 7:19 am | Comment

@Handler: Comment 6

You are trying to change the topic. The issue is NOT whether the growth over 34 years was higher in absolute numbers under SWCC as vs. democracy. The issue is WHICH system is better for the Chinese. NO OTHER SYSTEM was able to produce that sort of growth rate (almost 10% for 34 years). Besides, the American population is much smaller than that of China for reasonable comparison.

But I do like to point out that 8.4% (China growth rate in 4th qtr. 2012) of $7.3 Trillion is perceptably HIGHER than 2.3% (American growth rate in 4th qtr., hopefullly) on the $14.7 T.

If China had democracy, China would at best have Indian type growth. When Deng picked up the reins in 1978, India’s GDP was actually a bit higher than China, a comparable stage of development, and comparable population. 34 years later, China’s is 3 times as large. The ONLY difference is that China has one party efficiceny, and India had democracy.

I am not familiar with this “Human Development Index”. I do know that China graduates more scientists and engineers than the next 10 nations combined, and doing R&D in China cost 1/5th that in the West – that is given as reason why most Fortune 500s are in China doing R&D.

November 28, 2012 @ 7:42 am | Comment

No, I’m addressing the “facts” which support your argument that a one party system is better. I don’t have to make a case for democracy. When you say no economy performed better over the past 34 years as measured by GDP (remember your insistence on 6% growth to entertain an argument?), you are wrong. Because you start small you are amazed by every inch and lose sight of the world around you.

Yes, we know you base much of your argument on growth. The problem is the growth numbers have to add up, and yours don’t for the 34 years in question. Time to change your arguments. The US economy as measured by GDP has outperformed China’s over the past 34 years. Facts don’t tell the whole story, of course, but this is simply fact.

You should familiarize yourself with the HDI. It’s widely considered the best assessment of the overall health of a country, particularly for those who cite people power. Amazingly, You can even find links to it on Google.

November 28, 2012 @ 8:01 am | Comment

Yet another government official involved in some scandal.

How will this look in light of the new leadership transition, promise government transparency, fighting corruption, and harmonious society? Truly a embarrassing scandal for this new generation of leaders after a seemingly peaceful power transition.

Full story here:
http://tinyurl.com/d6ju5w4

November 28, 2012 @ 8:42 am | Comment

Yes, we know you base much of your argument on growth. The problem is the growth numbers have to add up, and yours don’t for the 34 years in question. Time to change your arguments. The US economy as measured by GDP has outperformed China’s over the past 34 years. Facts don’t tell the whole story, of course, but this is simply fact.

US GDP in 1978 was nearly 40x that of Chinese GDP. Now it’s only 30% larger. Chinese GDP grew much, much faster than US GDP over the past 34 years, and to think that the American economy outperformed China’s over this past period flies in the face of what most reasonable economists think. Handler, I think you’re being deliberately stubborn here.

What’s important to note, though, is that the past performance of the CCP ought to have no normative bearing on China’s political future. China is not Singapore; it is not a microstate propped up by massive FDI flows relative to the size of its economy. Over the next ten to twenty years, China will have to undergo a South Korea or Taiwan-style shift in order to fully decouple its economy from domestic investment and exports, and it may possibly have to introduce a federal structure to handle the very real disconnect between provinces as rich as Guangdong and Fujian and as poor as Anhui.

Xi was somewhat right when he said that China cannot afford to rest on the laurels of its success; whether he is willing to carry that statement to its logical end of making sure the CCP “starts from scratch” in building its own domestic mandate will be an early sign as to whether he is merely a good Party leader or a true visionary who can unlock China’s potential.

November 28, 2012 @ 8:47 am | Comment

“Productions figures are not facts? Illiteracy rates in 1949 compared to today, not facts?”
—no no, those are facts. What isn’t fact: that Chicom leadership causally led to those things. What also isn’t fact: that those things could not be attained without Chicom leadership. And the most important fact of all: future progress of Chinese people from here onward is not predicated on, and does not require, CCP/single party rule.

If your “real” fear is in fact real, then it should be shared by Chinese people, in which case, once again, there should be no doubt as to what they would choose. But unfounded fears, such as yours, may not be shared by Chinese people. Hence your reluctance to put your cherished CCP to the test. There is no way around that obvious fact.

“NOBODY else was able to deliver what the CPC did for the Chinese nation in the last 34 years. Therefore it is irrefutable that the CPC led SWCC one-party meritocracy is the reason,”
—logic isn’t your thing, cuz every time you try, you screw up. Nobody else was able to do it, because nobody else was given a chance. You simply need to learn to differentiate correlation and causation. CCP happened to be around during the last 34 years, but it wasn’t the reason the growth of the last 34 years occurred, since we already know the cluster-fuck that happened in the first 30 years when the CCP was around as well. If CCP is the constant, and things changed, then clearly the CCP wasn’t the agent of that change. What was? Obviously, it was opening up and the free market economy. As much as you would like to selectively ignore the facts of the first 30 years, they are what they are, and your argument is completely torpedoed because of them. And I’m happy to point them out to you each and every time, cuz you seem to be a slow learner.

And seriously, time to give the fixation with the US a break. Time to open your mind, and broaden your horizons.

November 28, 2012 @ 9:03 am | Comment

“US GDP in 1978 was nearly 40x that of Chinese GDP. Now it’s only 30% larger. Chinese GDP grew much, much faster than US GDP over the past 34 years, and to think that the American economy outperformed China’s over this past period flies in the face of what most reasonable economists think. Handler, I think you’re being deliberately stubborn here.”

And I believe you are being deliberately obtuse, though I’m not surprised to find you tangentially supporting a quack like Zhuubaajie who thinks unicorns could be real yet claims democracy is a faith. Using GDP as a guideline, as I said, we have to acknowledge that the PRC grew faster, but it hasn’t grown more. One doesn’t have to use GDP as a guideline, but this was Zhu’s choice and he made it with great confidence, clearly lacking an understanding of gear ratios. I would only be stubborn if I insisted on using GDP as our chief criterion.

“What’s important to note, though, is that the past performance of the CCP ought to have no normative bearing on China’s political future.”

But ought to does not mean will. While I appreciate your perspective here, it bears mentioning that Singapore is actually reforming at a faster pace than China, and China has shown little if any ability to institute the reforms you suggest. If anything, the conservative selection of the standing committee (you aren’t really going to make an argument based on their pending retirement) and the excessive confidence of Chinese mouthpieces indicates that ought to will not apply.

“Xi was somewhat right when he said that China cannot afford to rest on the laurels of its success”

Yes, so we’ve transitioned from Communist lexicon saturated pablum to just standard pablum. If real political reform begins, we’ll have something to base our discussion on.

November 28, 2012 @ 9:35 am | Comment

What SKC said right above. It’s frustrating, trying to convince a fanatic that the CCP was responsible for the explosion of growth mainly because it stood out of the way and stopped meddling. For doing that, for getting out of the way, they do deserve credit- it took a lot of courage for Deng to throw Mao Zedong Thought into the trash heap and allow the Chinese people to be the incredibly productive, industrious entrepreneurs that they are. But to say the CCP caused the “economic miracle” is going way too far; maybe we can say they facilitated it by letting it be and helped keep it on track.

November 28, 2012 @ 9:50 am | Comment

Precisely. The CCP after 1980 allowed economic progress to happen. If they want credit for being a bystander, they can have it, cuz that’s all they were: bystanders. What the CCP isn’t, is being an essential and necessary element of that progress. More importantly, what the CCP isn’t is being an essential and necessary element of future progress. Now, that’s just my opinion. I’m more than happy to let Chinese people be the ultimate judge of that.

I don’t think we need to try to convince a lunatic, since crazy people by definition are impervious to logic and reason. Nor is there any value in converting a crazy person. But it’s always useful to shine a light on craziness, just so the threshold of sanity remains visible for everyone else to see. Plus, it’s a fun way to pass the time.

+++++++++++++++++

Earth to Clock:
have you been living under a rock? Cuz that’s pretty old news. Of course, just another tu quoque from you. Prominent Americans have sex scandals. And your point is? Do you ever have one? Man, slapping you around is like shooting fish in a barrel. Between you and the zookeeper, i gotta say the quality of CCP apologist ain’t what it used to be.

November 28, 2012 @ 10:05 am | Comment

The CPC did no less (actually much more, since China’s remains largely a command economy, and big companies, even foreign funded, are required to have Party Committees) than any government in plotting and planning and providing a business environment conducive to growth and job creation – these are not things that individual free market entities or persons can do themselves. By making funds available, by putting in the needed infrastructure and transportation, by providing the learned personnel (college educated), etc., the CPC clearly had a heavy hand in formulating what would make China tick. And tick it did.

It is not scientific to suggest (except in a demagogic way) to argue that the Chicoms “merely stood out of the way” – the Chicoms BUILT the way.

November 28, 2012 @ 10:09 am | Comment

WHAT made the 300% difference between the Indian and China GDP by 2011? In 1978 the Indian economy was slightly larger than that of China.

The Indian govt. was famous for being “laissez faire” (in fact it was more like they did nothing). So if SKC and Richard are correct, India should have 3 times the GDP of China, and not the other way around.

The CPC was EVERYWHERE in the growth of the Chinese economy. By concentrating scarce resources where there is purchase, by enabling the build up for expertise, the Chicoms planned and guided the rapid growth. There was no standing aside. If the CPC had stood aside, very little of the infrastructure would have been built (Hong Kong money – Wu -was literally the only exception, funding certain toll roads – but the rest of the infrastructure projects were all funded by the CPC government. Without the rails, the roads, and the multiple airports and seaports, China could not have exported so much and urbanized so quickly.

November 28, 2012 @ 10:17 am | Comment

@Handler: 12

Singapore is not a democracy. It is as much a de facto single-party meritocracy as China. Your assertions prove my point.

Of major economies in the world (more than say $2 Trillion GDP a year), China’s CPC concocted single-party meritocracy grows the fastest both percentagewise and in absolute terms, TODAY (this 4th qtr. of 2012). Again, 8.4% (China growth rate in 4th qtr. 2012) of $7.3 Trillion is perceptably HIGHER than 2.3% (American growth rate in 4th qtr., hopefullly) on the $14.7 T.

November 28, 2012 @ 10:22 am | Comment

They did help with infrastructure — that’s what i mean by facilitating. And I give them credit for that. But the explosion didn’t come about by any grand vision or design. Deng gave an inch to some industrious entrepreneurs in places like Wenzhou and they grabbed a mile. Period. When Deng saw what they did he stood aside more and encouraged others to copy that model. So I do give Deng a lot of credit, and he certainly helped facilitate the growth. But I give the CCP little to no credit for planning this explosion.

November 28, 2012 @ 10:57 am | Comment

“these are not things that individual free market entities or persons can do themselves.”
—sure. AGain, as I said previously, you do need government to enact laws, lay down regulations, and provide oversight of such free market entities and their activities. But what you don’t need, and what you’ve repeatedly, pointedly, and painfully, failed to establish is that you need an authoritarian/CCP one.

This might be a good time to introduce you to the concept that democracy is more than just voting, but requires (among other things) an independent judiciary and rule of law. And yes, there is a role for government in those things. But again, it needn’t be an authoritarian one. Is that too many concepts for you to grasp all in one sitting?

Sure, as the government, the CCP spent money on infrastructure. Roads, airports, the whole enchilada. But (once again) you don’t need to be an authoritarian government to spend money on infrastructure. If you’re detecting a pattern, you should. Every point you make merely reinforces the fact that the authoritarian aspect was unnecessary. It’s that cautionary tale again of what you should and shouldn’t do when you find yourself in a hole. Quick study, you are not. It’s almost like you’re arguing against the premise that government is not necessary…which is not the premise at all. And btw, since you are making the affirmative argument that the CCP was essential, the burden is on you to establish that…which you repeatedly fail to do (partly because it can’t be done). I should start charging you tuition soon.

November 28, 2012 @ 11:58 am | Comment

@Zhu

And your comments continue to declare your stupidity. Do you even understand why t_co brought up Singapore? No assertion of mine proves any point you want to make. You really seem to have a problem comprehending relative movement.

“The CPC did no less (actually much more, since China’s remains largely a command economy, and big companies, even foreign funded, are required to have Party Committees) than any government in plotting and planning and providing a business environment conducive to growth and job creation.”

Yet even in the peak growth years of 2005-2006, China effectively had 20% unemployment. Read the second and third paragraph under “Unemployment rates” for a brief explanation.

http://www.clb.org.hk/en/node/100060

“By making funds available, by putting in the needed infrastructure and transportation, by providing the learned personnel (college educated), etc., the CPC clearly had a heavy hand in formulating what would make China tick.”

The CCP actually has a very poor record funding education in general. Its primary school funding is abominable, and it has been taken to task by the World Bank, which provides tens of billions for education in the PRC, on this issue a number of times. The CCP’s tertiary educational funding overwhelmingly benefits a very small number of schools (nearly 3/4ths of all research funding going to National Key Universities), serving to increase inequality, and it remains thoroughly mired in corruption. Yes, the PRC educational system produces some talent, but it utterly fails the vast majority of students.

“Of major economies in the world (more than say $2 Trillion GDP a year), China’s CPC concocted single-party meritocracy grows the fastest both percentagewise and in absolute terms, TODAY”

And yet you based your argument on the CCP’s (arbitrarily selected) 34 year track record. Indeed, your argument demands duration, otherwise you’d have to point directly to the policies enacted TODAY which allow for that growth. It’s nice to be able to change the focus of your argument when you prove to be a fool, but unfortunately we can still look at your record. And in this you and the CCP are a great fit: you both have a lot of stupidity on your record you don’t want us to explore. Now you want us to just look at the facts, but only those which support one “inevitable” conclusion in favor of your view. It ain’t happening. By the way, you still haven’t found a suitable set of criteria to justify the use of the word meritocracy.

@Richard

Have you asked yourself why Zhu, who has been all over major news sites on China for the past 4 years, only stumbled on your blog recently? Would you be able to confirm that he is posting from China?

November 28, 2012 @ 12:12 pm | Comment

Handler, he’s posting from California.

November 28, 2012 @ 12:46 pm | Comment

Guess his profile needs updating and contains more than a few inaccuracies, then, perhaps including identity theft.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/discussion/user/zhubajie

November 28, 2012 @ 2:27 pm | Comment

Guess his profile needs updating and contains more than a few inaccuracies, then, perhaps including identity theft.

Not sure if witch-hunting online identities is the best use of your time…

November 28, 2012 @ 2:51 pm | Comment

witch-hunting online identities?

November 28, 2012 @ 2:54 pm | Comment

T_co

Considering how prolific his writing is and his willingness to put his profile up as public information, I was pretty sure he wouldn’t mind.

@Zhu

Which ancient languages do you know?

November 28, 2012 @ 4:03 pm | Comment

What SKC said right above. It’s frustrating, trying to convince a fanatic that the CCP was responsible for the explosion of growth

Just as frustrating as trying to convince the Pope that the Virgin Mary wasn’t so virgin after all, Richard. But why are you trying?

November 28, 2012 @ 8:18 pm | Comment

Let me try something different.

What is most offensive about the CCP is its Mafia-like tendency to beat up, torture, imprison, blackmail and kill its opponents. This kind of behavior is primitive and illegitimate.

What is least offensive about the CCP is its practice of recruiting talented young people.

Why not get rid of the first and keep the latter? That does not mean moving to elective democracy. It means moving to a rule of law, with independent courts, civil rights enforced by the courts, and freedom of speech and association. Many senior Party members have said that they think that China will ultimately be democratic but that it’s not ready now. The first step on the transition to creating a civil society that can rule itself democratically is to create institutions of law, independent courts, accountability of officials under the law and freedom. Those do not exist in China today. Creating a rule of law and a genuine civil society in China would not require the CCP to give up recruiting talented young people.

Hong Kong under British rule was not a democracy in any sense. It was ruled by a Governor appointed by the Queen of England. But it was a free society, with independent courts, civil rights and freedom of speech and association. It delivered prosperity unimaginable to those who fled to that little island in the wake of the Communist Revolution. That seems to me to be a realistic goal for China in the near term.

November 28, 2012 @ 9:22 pm | Comment

What has been achieved so far has been under a VERY different international and domestic economic situation. China AND America’s economic prowess will be tested on how well they adapt to change and how well they can learn from their mistakes and take the appropriate measures.

Furthermore, what ever China did up to now was based on an economic model which is now widely accepted by all sides as having run it’s course and has had it’s fair share of failed policies and related consequences.

Stat bashing is largely irrelevant where the world is economically right now. For the past decade, China has just had to keep doing what every it was doing and tweaking a few things here and there. There has been no major policy shift in the way industries and capital have been handled (or not handled). It’s been like a bad ballroom dance between China and the states. A whole slew of 2nd world economies got to this point in their economic development and then stagnated or went backwards. Only a few made the difficult transition to 1st world.

What China’s leaders are going to have to do to continue the country’s path to prosperity will be very different to what they’ve done up to now. The party knows this. Whether they CAN do it will show the party’s effectiveness.

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”

November 28, 2012 @ 9:42 pm | Comment

Holy f^^^! http://i.imgur.com/vcYuy.png

November 28, 2012 @ 10:08 pm | Comment

@Zhuubaajie,

You still have not answered my question:

“But let me ask you just one question: If the CCP is so great, surely they can allow opposition political parties at any time, and everyone will still love them, right? Surely they can end censorship of the media at any time, because they are so great, and the truth will just shine through and everyone will still love them, right? And while they’re at it, since the ‘Chicoms’, as you like to call them, are the world’s greatest, they could also have multi-party elections, since they are so perfect, that hardly anyone at all would ever vote for anyone else, isn’t it? Liu Xiaobo has no need to be in jail because no one would ever listen to him anyway.

So I suggest you march on over to the Party HQ and tell them about how great they are, and that there’s no need to censor, suppress, arrest! I suspect they will wholeheartedly agree.”

November 29, 2012 @ 12:38 am | Comment

Doug (#27) – your comments are getting stuck in my spam filter, sorry it got lost up above. I’ll try to fix the problem.

Curl, thanks for the very intelligent comment.

November 29, 2012 @ 1:21 am | Comment

Since this is an open thread… Time’s Asia blog has a story on the People’s Daily falling for an Onion spoof of Kim Jong On, and it quotes me at the end. Check it out: http://world.time.com/2012/11/28/no-joke-chinas-peoples-daily-cuts-report-on-sexiest-kim-jong-un/

November 29, 2012 @ 1:41 am | Comment

@By curl of the burl 28

“What has been achieved so far has been under a VERY different international and domestic economic situation.”

How is it different? The world economy was pretty much “led” from America, which led it down the garden path of extreme dominance by banksters and derivatives, with the casino reaching $600 Trillion up to the 2008 debacle and almost-meltdown around the globe. Since then, not much have changed. America continues to feed the monster, and funded its corrupt to the core financial industry to the tune of US$10 Trillion in low and no cost loans (so there wouldn’t be a total collapse, but WITHOUT any major reforms. Result? The derivatives casino grew to over $700 Trillion since.

The economic situation has not changed. China, under the capable leadership of the CPC, was one of the few major economies that escaped the financial holocaust since the Chicoms banned their large banks from gambling whole hog in derivatives. Germany also made that same smart decision after 2008, and those two economies are among the few that did well.

“China AND America’s economic prowess will be tested on how well they adapt to change and how well they can learn from their mistakes and take the appropriate measures.”

Again, on the issue of whether democracy or one-party meritocracy is better in terms of adapting to changes, the jury has long been out. The fewer the number of parties, the better is the government able to adapt to changes. Even when faced with the fiscal cliff, Americans cannot set aside the gridlock and address important issues of national interest. A multi-party state like America is systemically condemned to interminable political bickering and sub-par economic performance. Even India, which economy picked up in recent years, sees its political process drag on the economy.

The ECONOMIST Magazine’s projection of economic growth for 2013:

China 8.4%
India something like 5%
America 2%

“what ever China did up to now was based on an economic model which is now widely accepted by all sides as having run it’s course . . . .”

Don’t know this business about “all sides”. There is ONLY ONE SIDE, by definition, in one-party China. If there are “failed policies and related consequences”, the party deals with it in a process called “reform and opening”, which has worked well in the last 34 years (when the speed of reforms was a mile a minute), and I do not see that winning policy changing at all.

“A whole slew of 2nd world economies got to this point in their economic development and then stagnated or went backwards. Only a few made the difficult transition to 1st world.”

I do not know what you mean by “1st world”. If you mean consuming like rich countries do (e.g., Americans use 10 times more energy than the Chinese, per capita, and spew 4 times as much CO2, since it is 1st world), I guess it would be very difficult, since it would strain the world’s resources. It has never been the stated goal of the CPC led SWCC. The Chinese people do wish to reach Xiao Kang (well off), which is probably around US$15K to $20K per capita. That is within reach in our lifetimes.

“What China’s leaders are going to have to do to continue the country’s path to prosperity will be very different to what they’ve done up to now.”

I agree, and being different, through reforms and opening, continues to be the mantra.

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”

The happy Chinese people are eating lots of it, even today.

November 29, 2012 @ 2:14 am | Comment

All of you need to stop the endless bickering and check out this amazing post on apologist extraordinaire Daniel Bell.

November 29, 2012 @ 2:25 am | Comment

@answer me 30

“But let me ask you just one question: If the CCP is so great, surely they can allow opposition political parties at any time, and everyone will still love them, right?”

That is a non sequitur. The CPC’s raison d’ete is to make the lives of the largest number of Chinese citizens better, not to engage in some childish bravado. Besides, there are many legitimate reasons not to do it.

1. The cost and the waste. Producing the spectacle known as national voting, complete its accoutrements of legalized ritualistic bribing (campaign contribution), attack ads, etc., is a total waste and hugely expensive. America just spent more than $25 Billion doing one, and at the end of it nothing was accomplished. it was entertainment for those who still cared, but expensive entertainment at that.

2. The gridlock and counter-productive wrangling. With multiple parties come in-fighting and inefficiencies. America is actually not a good example for this issue, as it only has 2 real parties. But even with just 2 parties we witness how Washington fails to make crucial decisions intelligently and in a timely manner. The fiscal cliff still looms heavy, as 300,000,000 American sit hapless and helpless (Now that you voted in your favorite politicians, what else can the plebeian do? It is not like America has a functional suggestion box like the 100,000,000 strong Chinese microblog system THAT THE POLS ACTUALLY READ), wondering what’s going to happen to them in the coming January.

3. Lack of effective procedure for removing non-performance. So the selection process failed, and one or more ruling elite is a bad apple. In a democracy, NOTHING MUCH can be done – you’d have to wait until the next election cycle to try (often in vain) and vote the guy or gal out. With the built-in advantages for incumbents, often that does not happen. Beijing already has a better system – the collective control at the top means that ineffective or malicious leaders can be removed expeditiously (see Zhao, Zhiyang, and more recently Bo, Xilai).

The fact that you could dunk your head in the toilet until you see the existence of GOD does not mean that you would or should do it. Blind FAITH (yes, it is only a faith, not supportable by facts) in the democratic process is stupidity as much as any religious zealotry. Each nation has its own unique set of needs and wants.

That Liu, Xiaobo dig is gratuitous, but since you mentioned it, Liu is in jail because he took substantial money from a foreign government (US$1.6 million, a sum more than an average Chinese can make in 30 lifetimes, from the NED, an entity funded directly by a hostile foreign government), AND with such funding he directly attacked the Chinese Constitution (by demanding the abolishment of same, to be replaced by his own). In most other nations that crime is punishable by death.

ns, since they are so perfect, that hardly anyone at all would ever vote for anyone else, isn’t it? Liu Xiaobo has no need to be in jail because no one would ever listen to him anyway.

So I suggest you march on over to the Party HQ and tell them about how great they are, and that there’s no need to censor, suppress, arrest! I suspect they will wholeheartedly agree.”

November 29, 2012 @ 2:34 am | Comment

Sorry about the extra left over quote from answer me 30 at the end of comment 35. Pls ignore.

November 29, 2012 @ 2:35 am | Comment

To Doug,
precisely. You don’t need an authoritarian system to recruit and promote talented people, or those of merit if you will. If the CCP system has the occasional reasonable feature buried in a sea of crap, then logic and common sense would suggest that you keep what is reasonable, and get rid of the crap.

To curl,
indeed, fixation on what has happened in the past in no way predicts what will happen in the future (as anyone who’s ever read a stock prospectus will certainly know). China’s future sustained growth will depend on conversion to a consumption economy as opposed to prior reliance on building empty buildings and unused roads. THe CCP has no track record there whatsoever. And again, the question isn’t whether China can or will continue to grow. The question is whether CCP/authoritarian rule is essential to that process, and the answer is obviously no.

To answer,
don’t hold your breath. The standard CCP apologist MO, with any question they can’t answer, is to ignore, obfuscate, and pretend that it doesn’t exist. In captain zulu’s case, not unlike his approach to the first 30 years of CCP rule. I always find, with these people, that it is more informative to note what they don’t respond to, than what they actually say, since what they say is usually retread garbage anyway.

November 29, 2012 @ 2:40 am | Comment

Oh no, the NED bullshit. Luckily this nonsense has been debunked by James Fallows and China Geeks, who notes this charge of accepting foreign money was never mentioned in Liu’s indictment. The notion that he was imprisoned because of the NED grant is a fantasy of die-hard fenqing.

November 29, 2012 @ 2:42 am | Comment

To Richard,
no doubt People’s Daily is filled with people of merit, who don’t know what the Onion is, and can’t recognize satire when they see it. But I had a good laugh when I saw that yesterday.

November 29, 2012 @ 2:44 am | Comment

To the big zoo-spot,
ah yes, the CCP is too busy oppressing Chinese people to ask them their opinion. Indeed, censorship and curtailing of freedoms are such time-consuming exploits.

And again, the fixation with “America”. I guess you haven’t had a chance to expand your mind and broaden your horizons. Like I said, you CCP apologist types are all so much alike. The rotten apple sure doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Bo was sacked “expeditiously”? Huh? How many years was he running his corruption racket before he was sacked expeditiously? LOL.

And as Richard says, you sound like Charlie Liu with the NED stuff. Man, seriously, you guys must read the same handbook or something. You should educate yourself on Liu’s indictment. He is certainly NOT in jail because of all that crap you listed, since that wasn’t what he was charged with. But you’ve never been one to let facts gets in the way of your indoctrination, so why start now, right?

November 29, 2012 @ 2:56 am | Comment

@Richard: 38

Check the publicly available pleadings filed in America against many of those napped by the American government for acting against American interest – not all information is published or public, and in fact a lost of information considered by the judges are not even available to the defendants and their lawyers. America sets the gold standard in protecting the nation against subversives, China is far behind in that respect.

There is nothing to debunk.

November 29, 2012 @ 3:01 am | Comment

Complete non-sequitor, give or take a tu quoque. You’re on a logical fallacy trek, zoo-lander, even moreso than usual.

Liu’s is a legal case in China, handled by the CCP’s renowned “justice” system. What happens in “America” is completely irrelevant.

Information considered by judges is “not even available to the defendants and their lawyers”? I guess that’s how things work under the meritorious CCP legal system. What’s not to like about that, if defendants aren’t entitled to full disclosure, and to know the evidence that is being used against them. Once again, great system. But Liu wasn’t charged with any NED nonsense. Are you suggesting that he was jailed after being found guilty of something he WASN’T EVEN CHARGED WITH?

Man, I know CCP apologists have to say all kinds of crap to salvage their “arguments”, and whatever little shreds of dignity that could possibly remain. But #41 is pretty lame, even by the not-so-lofty standards of the typical CCP ass-kisser.

November 29, 2012 @ 3:27 am | Comment

Liu Xiaobo wasn’t sentenced because of receiving money from foreign organizations. The full verdict can be found here in English translation:

http://www.pen.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/4454/prmID/172

And the pertinent part of the sentence is here:

“The Beijing Municipality First Intermediate Court First Branch believes that the facts are clear and the evidence has been confirmed that the defendant Liu Xiaobo committed the crime of incitement to overthrow and so he is found guilty of the crime for which he has been charged. As for the views presented by Liu Xiaobo and his defense counsel in court, the court found through its examination that the facts and evidence sufficiently prove that Liu Xiaobo made use the characteristics of the Internet as a communications medium, by publishing slanderous documents on the Internet, to carry out his action of inciting the overthrow of our country’s people’s democratic dictatorship system and the socialist system. The actions of Liu Xiaobo are beyond the scope of freedom of speech and constitute a crime. Therefore, the pleas presented by Liu Xiaobo and his defense counsel cannot be established and this court does not accept them. According to the facts and nature of the crime committed by the defendant Liu Xiaobo, the circumstances, and the harm that has been done to society, this court according to Chapter 105, Section two; Chapter 55, Section one; Chapter 56, Section one, and Chapter 64 of the Criminal Code of the PRC, makes the following verdict:

1. The defendant Liu Xiaobo, for the crime of incitement to overthrow state power, is sentenced to prison for 11 years and deprivation of political rights for two years. (The sentence is to be served from the day of sentencing, with deduction for time in confinement on a day for day basis, that is from June 23, 2006 to June 21, 2020.)

2. All the materials that Liu Xiaobo used to commit the crime are to be confiscated (list follows).

3. If the defendant does not accept this judgment, an appeal can be made between two days and 10 days after the issuance of this verdict, either through this court or directly to the Beijing Municipality Superior Court. The appeal should be accompanied by an original of this verdict together with two copies.”

People can think whatever of LXB, but please get the facts straight. I’m fairly picky about this, given my previous experience translating a verdict and still getting all sorts of incorrect claims made about it…

November 29, 2012 @ 3:34 am | Comment

Thank you, Wukailong. Zhuzhu is just another fenqing spreading the usual tired talking points under the mentorship of Charles Liu.

November 29, 2012 @ 3:42 am | Comment

The verdict is also available in Chinese here:

http://zh.wikisource.org/wiki/刘晓波一审判决书

November 29, 2012 @ 3:43 am | Comment

Thanks, WKL. I’ll be waiting with my popcorn to watch the zookeeper try to obfuscate his way out of that one.

Of course, even what Liu was found guilty of is complete hogwash, but that’s what you get with the CCP.

November 29, 2012 @ 3:48 am | Comment

To Richard #34,
great link, thanks. It seems Bell is a full-patch member of the SHaun rEIn School for Training ccp ass-kissERS (SHEISTERS).

Bell seems to bristle at his being characterized as an apologist, because he isn’t paid by the CCP. Well, OK, he’s not a paid CCP apologist, but you don’t need to pay-stub to fit the bill. That’s a surprisngly weak argument from a professor. Besides, he has a university appointment in China, so much like Rein, let’s just say he knows which side his bread is buttered on.

November 29, 2012 @ 4:17 am | Comment

SHEISTERS – very clever. And yes, they both know where the money is.

November 29, 2012 @ 4:22 am | Comment

So you all admit that you lost the debate, and want to switch gears to the strawman issue about why LXB was jailed?

Is SWCC or democracy better for China?

The ECONOMIST Magazine’s projection of economic growth for 2013:

China 8.4%
America 2%

The Chicoms will again general 20 million new jobs. NO OTHER SYSTEM in the world, whatever it is, will do so in 2013.

In both % and absolute measures, the CPC single-party meritocracy wins and performs better, if it is economic growth and jobs that are goals.

November 29, 2012 @ 6:00 am | Comment

ALL societies deal with people that are a threat to the status quo. China is a crowded country with very limited resources. Preventing selfish “dissidents” (especially who take substantial money from foreign government funded sources to fund attacks on the Constitution) from subverting the powers of the government, is more than justified. The CPC’d be amiss if it does not take resolute action.

Again, China looks to America for guidance. America is probably an extreme case actually, but under the democracy, American policy is that it is no holds barred, and extreme prejudice includes execution by drones (of American citizens). Is is reported that President O started the new White House tradition of morning coffee approval of the drone execution list for the day – essentially having the Office of the President act as judge, jury, and executioner. But Beijing has not adopted such “best practice”, and still send the criminals through the justice system instead. The one-party meritocracy is more humane in that regard than democracy.

November 29, 2012 @ 6:08 am | Comment

To the zoo-keeper,
man, you guys are seriously carbon copies of one another. Self-proclaimed “well-reasoned” arguments. Followed by self-proclaimed victory. Not only are you guys idiots, but juvenile as well.

But unlike the others, you are very focused on message, even if the message is deluded and one with more holes in it than a block of Swiss. China will hopefully continue to do well. And the CCP will still be there. And those two things will remain causally unrelated, no matter how you spin it.

As for Liu, you were the idiot who again brought up NED, and had your lunch handed to you. Will you acknowledge your idiocy? Nope. Cuz CCP apologists are too stupid to realize how dumb they are, and have too poor of an upbringing to be able to admit their mistakes. You are no different than the Jason’s, clocks, and CM’s of the world, but perhaps afflicted with a bit more verbal diarrhea.

And #50 is just lame lame lame. Is that your excuse for the ass-kicking that WKL laid on you in #43? Seriously, you should consider remaining silent and be thought a fool rather than repeatedly opening your mouth and removing all doubt.

If China wants “guidance”, she can start with less censorship, an independent judiciary, and rule of law. More concepts that exceed your pay-grade.

November 29, 2012 @ 6:38 am | Comment

@S.K. Cheung: 51

The prognosis is actually very optimistic. As another American points out:

“Over the summer, I visited the Hoover Dam, a piece of mega-architecture 221 metres high and 379 metres long, which protects flooding from the Colorado River in the region. I marvelled at this architectural wonder built in a mere five years by the US government.

The tour guide highlighted the 24/7 work cycle and said that most workers took only Christmas Day off. It is a testament to what can be built with ingenuity and hard work.”

http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1093160/china-winning-construction-race

The article was about BSB’s new project – the world’s tallest highrise to be put together in 90 days, working 24/7, at a cost of 1/10th that (per s.f.) of the current tallest building in the world (in Dubai). It is in Hunan, Changsha, and only possible under the able leadership of the CPC, which makes 24/7 projects commonly available in China. The art is lost in the West.

November 29, 2012 @ 6:57 am | Comment

LOL again. You want to give credit to the CCP for fast construction? You are really desperately bobbing for apples on their behalf now, aren’t you?

Besides, I’m not sure crazy rapid construction is a good thing. If it were me, I’d take a little longer and make sure it’s built right so it doesn’t collapse. Kinda like with some of their HSR lines in recent memory.

Given up on Liu and the NED, have we? That’s wouldn’t be the dumbest thing you did today. But still unable to take ownership of your foot-in-the-mouth. Ah, character…not something you can teach…especially to a CCP apologist.

So I hear you’re posting from California. You’re another one of those wonderful CCP apologist hypocrites who prescribe the CCP for Chinese people, but lack the strength of conviction to have a taste of your own medicine. Typical.

November 29, 2012 @ 7:56 am | Comment

@S.K. Cheung: 53

That was actually a pretty good run. It again validates that my arguments (my facts and my analysis) win hands down, as your crew, despite being large in number, has very little in substance to offer in your argument that China is better off with democracy. At least I know that there are no key facts that I am missing. Democracy remains just a form of FAITH, and its superiority is as “real” as the existence of GOD. Either you believe it, or you don’t, but the superiority cannot be proven – in fact most of the observable facts on the ground prove the opposite.

China may indeed adopt some kind of voting when Xiao Kang is achieved, but not before. Right now job No. 1 remains growing the economy so that folks’ lives improve, and the single-party meritocracy will prove its worth for the next 30 years.

November 29, 2012 @ 8:59 am | Comment

You have clearly and repeatedly demonstrated yourself to be completely delusional, and impervious to logic. It’s a very common and severe affliction among your kind of people.

You assert that the CCP was essential to China’s progress. All you’ve presented are correlations. Correlations do not constitute proof; you need causation, which you don’t have. Yet in logic, since it was your affirmative assertion, the onus of proof is on you. You have repeatedly failed to meet that burden. If you want to wax on about taking things on faith, that is actually what you’ve done. The irony, of course, is that you’ve put your faith in the CCP. You might believe in meritocracy, but all you’ve got are a bunch of old guys enriching themselves in China’s trough, who happen to oversee the progressive benefits of capitalism in spite of themselves. For proof of that, just look at the first 30 years of the CCP, and how well they did with communism. I know, I know, the first 30 years didn’t exist to people like you. But the inability of your delusions to account for the entirety of reality (and not just the last 30 years) is not my problem.

Do Chinese people actually want some form of democracy? I don’t know. I know I would, but my opinion doesn’t matter. It’s their opinion that matters, which is why I always say that we should just ask them. It’s petty CCP butt-kissers like you who insist upon people living under the CCP, from the comfort of California. But then I wouldn’t expect anything more from you priceless people.

November 29, 2012 @ 11:45 am | Comment

Actually from my experiences chinese people of today do see CCP as being essential to China’s progress and anything concerning the nation-state, for the simple fact that any kind of government/system change would be too costly, and CCP (as any other governments in the chinese history) has been doing great job in making it even more difficult. I see the chinese as very “skilled” people in enduring hardship but also most ferocious when the “tipping point” is reached, such behaviour is most likely deeply connected with their history and culture. For a country as giantic(land/population) and diverse as China, any kind of government which is able to maintain the general order and national integrity would be a blessing and essential for anything going in the country, otherwise the neverending infighting and chaos alone would be enough to mess up everything, which is more apparent in chinese history with countless revolutions for government/system change, decades or even centuries of suffering for the nation is assured. Today though only few chinese would blindly support CCP they still treasure such “capable” government who is able to maintain the huge population and nation for deep down they still remember how much was sacrificed to achieve the life in peace and order in China. Even if they see the flaws of the current government but it wont make CCP any less essential for the nation in their eyes, many ordinary or even poor people are even reluctant in supporting the much spoken refoms, much less any kind of government or system change (another “godforbidden” revolution which should not happen for another two or three centuries). Hu himself who was the overseer of many less developed regions before becoming chairman/president know from this fact and thus staying conservative wont upset the general public for real, and also the situation hasnt changed even after his time.

November 29, 2012 @ 12:44 pm | Comment

That being said, chinese people are supporting CCP not only because of faith (even if there was none to begin with), and democracy as one of the possible “tools” to reach the “goal” but not the “goal” itself. Also even for those who has choosen the path of democracy (wherether western style or a not-yet-known chinese style) wouldnt want it at any cost, if they see the cost as being too high they might well be looking elsewhere again (maybe even stop looking at all).

November 29, 2012 @ 1:03 pm | Comment

While we laugh at People’s Daily’s stupidity, Associated Press gets caught by Bulletin of Atomic Scientists: http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/op-eds/diy-graphic-design of having a shoddy graph and shoddy evidence that scaremongering Iranian are building nuclear weapons.

As usual, media eats up the garbage to score propaganda points for the US-Israel talking points:

http://news.yahoo.com/ap-exclusive-graph-suggests-iran-working-bomb-161109665.html
http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/world/graph-suggests-iran-working-on-bomb/story-e6frfkui-1226525351483
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/iran-allegedly-planning-nuclear-weapon-stronger-than-bomb-used-on-hiroshima-1.480968

November 29, 2012 @ 4:26 pm | Comment

That being said, chinese people are supporting CCP not only because of faith (even if there was none to begin with), and democracy as one of the possible “tools” to reach the “goal” but not the “goal” itself. Also even for those who has choosen the path of democracy (wherether western style or a not-yet-known chinese style) wouldnt want it at any cost, if they see the cost as being too high they might well be looking elsewhere again (maybe even stop looking at all).

Rightly or wrongly, Yeltsin’s mismanagement of Russia’s democratic transition was a huge gift to the CCP’s legitimacy.

November 29, 2012 @ 5:09 pm | Comment

Thanks Richard. Always liked your comments. Short, insightful and usually backed with evidence. And that Kim Jong un article was hilarious. I seriously worry for the daily when they can’t see that as irony.

November 29, 2012 @ 6:48 pm | Comment

To S.K. Cheung response. Agreed.

November 29, 2012 @ 7:02 pm | Comment

To Zhubaijie

“How is it different? The world economy was pretty much “led” from America, which led it down the garden path of extreme dominance by banksters and derivatives, with the casino reaching $600 Trillion up to the 2008 debacle and almost-meltdown around the globe. Since then, not much have changed. America continues to feed the monster, and funded its corrupt to the core financial industry to the tune of US$10 Trillion in low and no cost loans (so there wouldn’t be a total collapse, but WITHOUT any major reforms. Result? The derivatives casino grew to over $700 Trillion since.
The economic situation has not changed. China, under the capable leadership of the CPC, was one of the few major economies that escaped the financial holocaust since the Chicoms banned their large banks from gambling whole hog in derivatives. Germany also made that same smart decision after 2008, and those two economies are among the few that did well.”

You have given me random data about what has happened in the past with the world economy. This has no relation to the pending issue of China’s economic phase shift to a consumer driven economy.

You have addressed your argument in pointing out that America (China’s main export market) and the world is in a much worse economic state than it was ten years ago.

The economic situation is VERY different from even five years ago.

The U.S. – The world financial meltdown. America’s is rooted. Borrows it’s way out of the greatest economic disaster the world would have experienced to date.
China – The world financial meltdown. America (China’s export market) is rooted. China lends it’s way out of the greatest economic disaster the world would have experienced to date.
England and Europe – The Euro crisis. Greece about to implode, Spain ready to follow. The Euro possibly ready to break up.
Australia – 2012: Mining has shrunk for 9th consecutive month along with demand and prices.

They are all China’s export consumption economy engine.

For most of the last 30 golden years of China’s economic miracle, the world has been no where near this level of economic instability. In 2008 in November, the entire world’s market was about to collapse into chaos on wall street. It would have been unimaginable. Those are obvious facts, discussing this point would be an exercise in egoism or nationalism (or both) and not in reasoning.

It’s well known open and reform is necessary. What will the CCP do to make China a consumer economy and move China away from a state dominated export economy financed by govt. directed investment and do so in a much more unstable world economic environment?

That’s what I’m interested to see and pardon me if I seem a little sceptical, I just don’t trust politicians, lawyers and door to door salesman. Period. You’re not the CCP government mouthpiece so I’m sure you can’t speak for them. I don’t expect you to. I’m not “the west”‘s government mouthpiece. This isn’t “My govt. could beat your govt. with one hand tied behind it’s back”. I’m not even American. I’m just indentifying the issue at hand.

I don’t care what nation, party or political system you care for (I find nationalism rather dangerous and a sign of insecurity). The fact is that China’s economic model needs to change to achieve this. I’m looking forward to seeing this happen. It’s in the best interest of ALL countries. It’s just plain economics. I try to stay away from patriotic rhetoric so “reform and opening” doesn’t answer that question for me.

November 29, 2012 @ 8:26 pm | Comment

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Fqc_ogcIq9M

This video is just fucking sick. Chinese people really ought to be better than this…

November 29, 2012 @ 8:26 pm | Comment

@ t_co
Racism is quite real in china, though normally more against southeastern asians and black people, also for some reason uighur people always had bad reputation in chinese cities (much worse than any other minority in china). Normally they would just talk nasty as I have never seen such less-than animal behaviours in the open public, when the “emotions” run high caused by certain “incidents” there were cases when chinese on the street ganging up on foreign bystanders but they would most likely stop short from doing anything too serious (relatively speaking of course). Any case this video should be shown to the chinese public and let them see what kind of lowlife existed in their society.

November 29, 2012 @ 10:59 pm | Comment

@ t_co #58
“Rightly or wrongly, Yeltsin’s mismanagement of Russia’s democratic transition was a huge gift to the CCP’s legitimacy.”

And also something from the tiananmen “massacre”, many chinese got the impression that if CCP did give in back then the whole nation would be stuck infighting for generations instead of enjoying high speed progress for decades, therefor while criticising CCP for the brutal methodes they also aknowledge that the right choice was made. In the western world the tiananmen massacre was the point when CCP lost its legitimacy as being ruler of china, in china itself in a sense though that was the point when CCP began to consolidate their legitimacy to a new direction instead of the traditional red fanatism and idealistic fantasies, they take credits for the decades long non stopping progress rightly after the incident and the embracing of new pragmatism which would bring china further than any kind of propagandas or empty promises ever could.

November 29, 2012 @ 11:47 pm | Comment

The TAM massacre gave the Chinese an impression for sure: the impression that they’d better forget about certain demands. To describe a process of intimidation as one of independent, sovereign deliberations with a corresponding result (they also aknowledge that the right choice was made) is, well, let’s say, silly.

Re zhuubaajie at al, don’t be too worried, folks. People may switch from idolizing a totalitarian system to idolizing Mother Teresa, all in one life. Heck, you can even drag your spouse along on such an extraordinary spiritual journey!

For a while, at least Kathleen Muggeridge was about as cold-blooded about (or approving of) kidnappings and labor camps (in her utopia then) as some of your regular guests are now, Richard. Richard Ingrams, author on a biography on Malcolm Muggeridge, describing the turnaround (Malcolm’s was reportedly faster than his wife’s):

[Kathleen]said: “Of course it’s quite true that in Russia, people do disappear.” And Malcolm thought: “Well, actually, she was quite .. about that, because she would quite have liked to have the same power. The whole idea of Stalin’s ‘supreme power’ appealed to her. And the idea that if people disagree with you or make a lot of trouble – they could disappear, and that was, from her point of view, quite nice.

That’s from the first part of “Useful Idiots” (7’30” there).

November 30, 2012 @ 12:33 am | Comment

@ justrecently
None of us are in the position to speak for the chinese, what we really “know” and “understand” is only from our point of view. However if certain things are expected to happen but did not it would be natural to search an explaination instead of being stuck on what people was used(or made) to believe. In the case of China it did walk on a different path than what the western world has expected and so during my stay in China I have tried to see the picture from a different perspective with the explaination offered by the “locals”, I am just trying to give the picture from my experiences nothing more nothing less, even if you disagree with it its still part of the reality.

November 30, 2012 @ 12:50 am | Comment

Just two quotes from you, riverer:

None of us are in the position to speak for the chinese

… in china itself in a sense though that was the point when CCP began to consolidate their legitimacy to a new direction instead of the traditional red fanatism and idealistic fantasies …

*cough*

November 30, 2012 @ 1:02 am | Comment

@ justrecently
This is what I have found out from my experience in China and the results from the discussions I had with Chinese people I have met, obviously I couldnt have met every single one of them and they have different opinions like all human beings, but most of them did have the pragmatic view (and supporting CCP obviously)
Just for the sidenote, my mother tongue is German.

November 30, 2012 @ 1:12 am | Comment

“Just for the sidenote, my mother tongue is German.”

Guys, you might be living in the same neighborhood!

I would put it like this: TAM doesn’t play the enormous symbolic role in China that it does in the West. It is a hushed down event, for sure, but a lot of people living outside Beijing don’t even know what happened and believe there was a “counter-revolutionary rebellion” going on in the city. If you’re interested in some different takes on the thing, put a 20-year old together with a 45-year old and ask them for their opinions about the whole thing.

I think the admin of Foolsmountain described his sentiments very well, on what changed and why:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/may/21/china-crossroads-west

I’ve heard similar sentiments expressed many, many times and it is what most people I know in China think. Now, I know this might not be what a number of people on this blog think or like, but like SKC likes to point out, it’s the voice of the locals that counts the most.

November 30, 2012 @ 1:45 am | Comment

“it’s the voice of the locals that counts the most.”
—exactly. And as I’ve also said before, if Chinese people are in fact satisfied with CCP rule, and choose for it to continue, then that’s fantastic. Obviously, I can’t discount riverer’s personal experiences, or anyone else’s anecdotes for that matter. But anecdotal evidence is weak evidence, often of limited value in terms of generalizability.

The usual CCP apologist principle, for those who have consumed sufficient aliquots of the standard issue kool-aid, is for them to prescribe to Chinese people, usually while sitting on their asses in California. That is logically and morally pathetic.

My guiding principle is that you let adults decide for themselves. You don’t need a nanny state, much less an authoritarian one.

November 30, 2012 @ 2:51 am | Comment

I’ve seen Lester Ness and Zhuubaajie letters to the Asia Times in recent months. Ness writes from Kunming and serves up the same Pollyannish newbie naivete on China as Godfree Roberts. Zhuubaaajie has the same grasp of logic and questionable worldview as the garden variety PRC on-line nationalist. A guilty pleasure I guess, but I find myself fascinated by this subculture.

November 30, 2012 @ 3:36 am | Comment

http://godfreeroberts.blogspot.com.au/
He’s all over a net search like a rash and he will additionally organize you Thai retirement for you.

November 30, 2012 @ 3:54 am | Comment

I believe the fundamental differences between chinese and european/amnerican people in the fields of social development and culture/tradition made it more difficult for both to understand each other, for example different values between individualism and collectivism, priorities in the society and the stereotypes of traditional behaviours. We believe in individual right and freedom while chinese believe more in the right of the collective which is often connected with individual sacrifices in their traditional culture, its a fact that they are far more tolerant for authoritarian or maybe even “nanny” state to put it bluntly – otherwise CCP would be long gone already. Eventhough they may not like it there is still the believe that its best for the nation as whole, no doubt a “relique” form the older days of chinese history which played a key role for the integrity and growth of their civilization until now. There is lack of confidence in the sense that without the guideline from an stable government people wouldnt be able to reach consensus, and without the equilibrium things would get off the hand fast, although chinese people are obsessed with unity many of them have problems in trusting each other, according to their own historical records the ever present infighting between themselves were most cunning and brutal especialy during the time without overseeing order from “above”.

In China I had once watched an interview on CCTV english channel where a female CCP official(and famouse scholar) discussing about chinese style democracy, about the integration of chinese culture, emphasize on group right and stage choice/vote (from one stage to the next), if thats the direction where the chinese democracy is moving then I am not sure it would make much sense at all. In any case imo without a revolution to topple the CCP the western world would probably stay disappointed for generations to come, wherether reforms or not and godforbidden chinese style “democracy” (maybe the soviets had such feeling when chinese created their own version of “communism”).

November 30, 2012 @ 4:14 am | Comment

Nice comment, riverer, and not far from my own outlook.

November 30, 2012 @ 4:18 am | Comment

Thanks Richard, but all that being said I do not necessarly see the CCP negatively and certainly do not wish for its downfall. Of course I would never want us to follow their model because its the worst kind for us, but unlike many others I also do not believe that our model is the best for them as proven in many developing countries who have adopted our system blindly until now. And from my experiences with the chinese the apparant fears for revolution or lack of order is obvious, also peronally I have gained no confidence that after the downfall of CCP the next “China” would be better for the chinese people (or for us).

November 30, 2012 @ 4:49 am | Comment

For the record, I don’t see the party as exclusively evil, either, and I have never advocated for its downfall. I’d like to see democratic reforms, rule of law and greater representation, but believe this will have to be done over time.

November 30, 2012 @ 4:55 am | Comment

I have never advocated for its downfall

I don’t think I have seen too many people – and I can’t remember anyone specifically right now – who would advocate that. But the perception that CCP rule is without alternative is nothing the CCP only wants to stay in place for another while, for a transition to a different social order.

But when a desire not to appear to be speaking for the Chinese people turns into speaking for the CCP, it’s speaking for the Chinese people, too.

I think I said this before, but it probably won’t hurt to repeat myself: the Mubarak regime was quite successful in making outsiders believe that the population, while not necessarily happy with the regime, could live with it. I even heard some Westerners argue that Egypt was sort of a “democracy”. The Reader’s Digest interviewed Anwar al-Sadat in the late 1970s and when he said that he had “the trust of 90 percent of his people” and would resign if it became less, the reporters had no follow-up questions about that.

After all, Sadat/Mubarak were convenient allies, until Mubarak turned into a nuisance. And you bet that many of the people who were on Tahrir Square on January 25 only realized how much they hated the regime once they saw Mubarak flinch.

People don’t like to remind themselves that they are being intimidated and manipulated. It feels bad, and doesn’t seem to lead anywhere, as long as you feel isolated or powerless on such issues.

That’s not speaking for the Chinese people. I’m no crystal ball. But people who take messages in a totalitarian country “for what they are” may be surprised at (apparently sudden) turning points.

But China’s top leadership – I believe – might be surprised about the nature of such a turning point. The degree of resentment, however, wouldn’t surprise them. That’s why they don’t “trust” their own people. If they could be sure that “the Chinese” really acknowledged this or (rather willingly) tolerated that, it would be much less afraid. And they wouldn’t even pay lip service to anti-corruption campaigns.

Sidenote: as far as I remember, anti-corruption demands got the 1989 movement started.

November 30, 2012 @ 5:24 am | Comment

Correct about 1989 and corruption, and local corruption is behind most of the tens of thousands of citizen demonstrations that flare up each year today. About a sudden turning point: I think the only thing that could quickly generate true political upheaval would be a severe blow to the Chinese economy, which is not out of the question. Even if the economy keeps growing, a drop from 8 percent growth to 5 percent would send shockwaves through the country and affect hundreds of millions. But predicting when/if such a turning point will arrive is a fruitless exercise (think Gordon Chang). According to my own crystal ball we still have many years to go.

November 30, 2012 @ 5:51 am | Comment

@curl of the burl 62

I disagree that switch to consumer driven economy is the ONLY route for the CPC. The unique set of competitive advantage means that China still has at least another 10 to 15 years of strong export growth in both goods and services. Evidence?

1. Infrastructure construction expertise and cost advantage of at least 30% vs. the West;

2. CASH to fund projects;

3. Low cost for personnel replacement.

Already there are examples of Chinese labor working overseas in erstwhile unexpected markets:

(a) Bus drivers in Singapore (recently in labor action);
(b) Coal mine workers in Canada.

_______________________

BSB (the entity that is building the world’s tallest building in 90 days, at a cost of 1/10th that per sq. ft. compared to the current tallest highrise) projects having 20% of the world’s building construction market in 2 decades.

Beijing is actively converting the $3.2 Trillion in foreign currency reserves into Chinese owned projects overseas – as part of that Chinese labor will be exported.

Yes, consumer spending would and should be part of China’s economic growth. But it need not be the only engine.

November 30, 2012 @ 6:34 am | Comment

The CPC is what the elite leaders decide it is. For the past 2 decades, the CPC had actually experimented with local level grassroots elections. But Wukan as example shows that they do not work – problems are not solved through having voting, instead they cause new types of corruption (vote buying, etc.), and gridlock.

November 30, 2012 @ 6:58 am | Comment

“In just five years, China has surpassed the United States as a trading partner for much of the world, including U.S. allies such as South Korea and Australia, according to an Associated Press analysis of trade data. As recently as 2006, the U.S. was the larger trading partner for 127 countries, versus just 70 for China. By last year the two had clearly traded places: 124 countries for China, 76 for the U.S.

In the most abrupt global shift of its kind since World War II, the trend is changing the way people live and do business from Africa to Arizona, as farmers plant more soybeans to sell to China and students sign up to learn Mandarin.”

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/asia/china/AJ201211300008

To still keep insisting that the CPC does not know what it is doing, or that it is no good for the Chinese people and must be replaced by a clearly underperforming democratic system, is just plain stupid.

November 30, 2012 @ 7:14 am | Comment

To riverer,
are Chinese people culturally different from non-Chinese people? Sure. But do Chinese people have a cultural need to be herded around like sheep, and to be beaten upside the head by the CCP? I’m not so sure. Like I’ve said, if Chinese people decide that the CCP is indispensible, I would be perfectly happy with that. But having the CCP tell us that the CCP is indispensible, or to have shills like zoo-keeper tell us that, is several orders of magnitude less convincing. If people want a nanny state, they can choose to have one. But they shouldn’t have one imposed upon them.

To 82:
I see that your logic has not improved one iota. Is it possible that the CCP knows what it is doing? Yes. Is it possible that the CCP is absolutely the only one under the sun that could do what China has done, to the exclusion of any other possible conceivable human entity? Nope. But the latter is what you’re arguing. That, as you say, is just plain stupid. Has the CCP been any good to Chinese people? Sure, in some respects if you look upon it generously. Is the CCP the only outfit under the sun that could possibly be any good to Chinese people? Again, nope. But again, the latter is what you’ve been arguing. Perhaps you can derive how intelligent that is. Correlation and causation are clearly concepts you need to go back to school for.

November 30, 2012 @ 8:05 am | Comment

#79, Richard – Black swans, unknown unknowns, fat tails. If the CCP thinks it can “control” events, hah!

November 30, 2012 @ 8:50 am | Comment

@S.K. Cheung 83

My conclusions are supported by facts. Yours are based on faith. Empirically, your “what if” speculations aside, it is indeed true that “the CCP is absolutely the only one under the sun that could do what China has done, to the exclusion of any other possible conceivable human entity”, as no other polity was able to deliver the consistent and tremendous growth and prosperity that the CPC did, AND is still doing.

Therein lies our main difference – I want to be reassured by experience and facts, you insist that it is stupid to do so.

Whatever blows your hair back man.

November 30, 2012 @ 9:08 am | Comment

@Doug 84

The CPC is not God, and cannot predict black swans. But the CPC IS the most adaptable major polity on Earth today. If changes are needed, changes are made, feedbacks are measured, and further reforms implemented. Change is very much built into the Chinese system – democratic gridlock is not.

Look at what is happening under your noses right now – the Republicans are still fighting Obama in a game of chicken, even as the fiscal cliff gets ever closer. American pols truly shock and awe with their abject disregard of the interest of the citizenry at large, and they are still secure in their powerful positions year after year. If any Beijing leader screws up like that, he’d be fired a long time ago.

November 30, 2012 @ 9:13 am | Comment

“For a country as giantic(land/population) and diverse as China, any kind of government which is able to maintain the general order and national integrity would be a blessing and essential for anything going in the country, otherwise the neverending infighting and chaos alone would be enough to mess up everything, which is more apparent in chinese history with countless revolutions for government/system change, decades or even centuries of suffering for the nation is assured.”

This view is a rather dull variation on a very old tune. I apologize for the analogy but if locking my wife in my basement is what keeps her from divorcing me, it is conceivable that we shouldn’t be married. At some point my wife is going to have to make that call, won’t she? Maybe I’ll be nice and tell her I’ll never lock her in my basement again, and maybe she’ll believe me. Hell, maybe she’ll even get used to it. Nevertheless, our relationship is deservedly considered tenuous until some clearly effective protections have been established for her. You mention the cost of government/system change yet fail to note the cost of system maintenance. The Chinese do generally support unity, of course, but not at any cost. This too is a lesson we should draw from history: so no, it is not true that any kind of government able to maintain general order and national integrity is a blessing. More importantly, per the terms of your argument, one wonders whether China is even generally ordered today.

Those whose views of government in China are based on an ever-present threat of chaos not only reveal their simplicity, but also undermine their claims of the effectiveness of the current government from the outset.

Where does the “neverending infighting and chaos” in China come from?

“There is lack of confidence in the sense that without the guideline from an stable government people wouldnt be able to reach consensus, and without the equilibrium things would get off the hand fast, although chinese people are obsessed with unity many of them have problems in trusting each other, according to their own historical records the ever present infighting between themselves were most cunning and brutal especialy during the time without overseeing order from ‘above’.”

An obsession with something one doesn’t have is not uncommon in human experience. But not being able to reflect upon the terms of that obsession, not being able to assess the impact it has and distortions it causes, not being able to acknowledge that that your obsession is not, in other words, just your own, is a dehumanizing thing. This is precisely why those who argue Chinese people might be more willing to accept authoritarian rule inevitably segue into the argument that Chinese people are more unruly, ferocious and chaotic than most. Out of curiosity, are you Chinese?

“And also something from the tiananmen “massacre”, many chinese got the impression that if CCP did give in back then the whole nation would be stuck infighting for generations instead of enjoying high speed progress for decades, therefor while criticising CCP for the brutal methodes they also aknowledge that the right choice was made.”

I’m going to have to echo JR in pointing out that your assertion here is rather ridiculous, and not only at the level of phrasing. How they “got that impression” deserves exploration, don’t you think?

November 30, 2012 @ 9:33 am | Comment

“My conclusions are supported by facts.”
—LOL, typical CCP apologist-speak. “facts” that don’t include the first 30 years of CCP rule. By definition, any model that doesn’t account for all facts is simply crap…which is what you have. That you are too stupid to recognize that fact is just the cherry on top. But whatever floats your boat.

Your reassurance comes from the CCP, hence the swash-buckling consumption of the kool-aid on your part. And when logic is not on your side, as is the problem with any CCP apologist under the sun, that’s when you need to resort to correlation, in lieu of cause-and-effect, which you don’t have, and can’t prove. It appears your faith is tied in with the CCP and correlation. Being a science guy, I like causation. But it’s not for everyone.

November 30, 2012 @ 10:13 am | Comment

Is so!! Is not!! Is so!! Is not!!

This childish repetition is getting tiring, and sort of silly.

How about you guys point out what you think the CPC should change so that it would be “better”.

I’ll start.

I think the Chicoms are missing an opportunity to take the lead in IP. China is the biggest generator of IP each year. A typical sculpture and housewares factory comes up with 3,000 new designs each year, and much of that is as much copyrightable as a Disney toy. Multiply that by the hundreds of thousands of companies, the amount of IP generated each year is breathtaking. Yet because of the reputation that IP litigation is expensive, Chinese factories do not protect and do not enforce Chinese IP. IP not enforced is IP lost.

This is definitely something that Beijing can work on – instead of (or in addition to) funding patent filings. A typical patent case can cost many thousands to file, and more to prosecute. Copyright (especially copyright in the U.S.) is probably the cheapest IP registration one can get in the world ($35 govt. fees, and all work can be done online by the average clerical employee). So a patent application is good for obtaining a hundred copyright registrations or more. If Beijing encourages the some sort of collective entities (e.g., trade associations) to put together big portfolios (e.g., 100,000 copyrights per portfolio), then these entities can negotiate with contingency lawyers to enforce – just sit on the doorsteps of Walmart and tell them to pay up on a quarterly basis. With the portfolios the entities can also enforce grantbacks and grow the IP pools.

In 10 years China can be the biggest IP holder in the world.

November 30, 2012 @ 2:19 pm | Comment

You’re correct, it is a back-and-forth. You make illogical assertions, and I point them out to you. You’re not the first, and won’t be the last.

Funny you mention IP, since China under the CCP is quite good at stealing it. That said, the downfall of IP in China is the lack of laws (and enforcement thereof) in protecting it. It’s that rule of law deficit that exists under the CCP, which, like those first 30 years, you’ve repeatedly avoided.

The other thing, of course, is that quality matters just as much as quantity. To me, it would be more desirable to have IP that other people would want (and would therefore be willing to pay commensurately in order to license), than to simply have lots and lots of patents/trademarks/etc. For instance, better to come up with a Disney toy than to have 3000 things that no one else wants.

And here’s the kicker: you don’t need the CCP to produce desirable IP, or reams of it. Just like you don’t need the CCP for most other things.

November 30, 2012 @ 2:47 pm | Comment

and local corruption is behind most of the tens of thousands of citizen demonstrations that flare up each year today

Yes, Richard. And central corruption is behind local corruption. Most of today’s central leaders were once regional leaders. It would be a mistake in my view to think of the Chinese state as extremely hierarchical. The party defines the structure – and that’s more about joint ownership or brotherhood. The state council and its opposite numbers on the provincial/municipal levels are only in charge of the operative business. The party secretaries count.

Handler, I think there’s nothing unfair about your basement anology. It’s an ugly anaology for an ugly reality.

November 30, 2012 @ 3:51 pm | Comment

zhuubaajie

You’re a clown.

You’re dancing and singing for a government that would be ashamed of you. You do a great disservice for your country’s prosperity and it’s international perception.

You obviously know NOTHING about China as your response has countered everything most international economists, CCP leaders, CCP funded Chinese think tanks and IMF economists all agree on. You’ve made yourself look like an absolute IDIOT.

I’m aware that the CCP has much smarter people than yourself as I have spoken with some of them and have engaged with them at some level. From your intelligence level and egoism, even the CCP would not tolerate your level of idiocy other than the level of a lowly internet shill.

If you’re going to argue, at least come up with something relevant and thought provoking.

Shut the hole in your face and stop giving China a bad name.

November 30, 2012 @ 11:54 pm | Comment

BTW your job seems to be, looking at your posts, lacking in any sort of conviction and/or reasoning as to what your opinion is on China but rather disagree with everything that everyone says that might even come close to implicating the CCP of some wrong doing. Stand down soldier! China is not the CCP. China is China. The CCP is the CCP. Nobody says the KMT is Taiwan or the democrats are America.

You seem to lack any sort of conviction. Conviction means what you AS A PERSON have decided what is wrong and right OR non-conviction is just disagreeing with anything that someone says against a topic. That’s the difference between a random guy who is responding on a nationalistic knee-jerk reaction or someone who can see the merit in a argument and respond accordingly. If you look at your responses in the last six months, you’ve contradicted your own arguments over twenty times.

Stop trying to represent the CCP. You don’t! Let them speak for themselves! You don’t see people trying to speak for the Obama administration! You’re making the Chinese people lose face!

Constructive criticism improves the function. Learn to argue and not parrot or just react in an insecure fashion. It will expand you’re knowledge and knowledge is power. That will help China.

December 1, 2012 @ 12:27 am | Comment

@curl of the burl 93

China has 100,000,000 different voices on blogs alone. Zhuubaajie is but one of them. Of course I spend for nobody but the pigheaded (moi).

My conviction is to beat back defamation against the great government of China, that has done such wonders for the Chinese nation, whatever opportunity I have. It simply is wrong to say that black is white and white is black, and that stinky cheese such as democracy and the inherent deadlock are good for the Chinese people.

CPC is not China. CPC produces the capable elites that are leading China to prosperity and better lives for the Chinese people.

December 1, 2012 @ 1:49 am | Comment

“CPC is not China.”
—smartest thing you’ve said so far. I’ll let Chinese people decide if those “capable elites” from the CCP factory are as effective as the CCP says they are. Certainly not going to take the word of a shill and butt-kisser like you. And even if the CCP was capable, they aren’t the only ones. Correlation. Causation. The lesson continues.

December 1, 2012 @ 3:29 am | Comment

You’re either under 15 or you’re not Chinese. You can’t be. I lived in China for ten years. I never heard anyone over the age of 15 who wasn’t on TV or radio refer to a member of the CCP as ‘capable’. I heard ‘elite’ but never ‘capable’. I heard ‘corrupt’ fubai, ‘dirty’ zang, ‘huai’ bad, but NEVER in ten years ‘capable’.

Mind you they would be pretty much the exact same words I’d use to describe our country’s MPs. That’s one of the things that made me realise Chinese people are just the same as us. Good people with corrupt greedy leaders.

December 1, 2012 @ 4:37 pm | Comment

Most people in the US would not describe their government officials as “capable”either. Many things, but not capable.

I’m closing this thread and opening a new one. Please feel free to continue the discussion there.

December 2, 2012 @ 2:29 am | Comment

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