Saturday, March 04, 2006
hinese academic Minxin Pei examines China's hyped rise to global power status, in the current issue of Foreign Policy.
To most Western observers, China’s economic success obscures the predatory characteristics of its neo-Leninist state. But Beijing’s brand of authoritarian politics is spawning a dangerous mix of crony capitalism, rampant corruption, and widening inequality. Dreams that the country’s economic liberalization will someday lead to political reform remain distant. Indeed, if current trends continue, China’s political system is more likely to experience decay than democracy. It’s true that China’s recent economic achievements have given the party a new vibrancy. Yet the very policies that the party adopted to generate high economic growth are compounding the political and social ills that threaten its long-term survival.It's not "socialism with Chinese characteristics" anymore, as the Party leaders continue to assert their unbroken legacy from Mao, to Deng, to Jiang, to Hu. It's simply crony capitalism in a neo-Leninist style. Minxin Pei packs a lot of facts and statistics into this piece, which should be a wake-up for some of the more starry-eyed China watchers. The most popular excuse given by the growing number of corrupt officials? Loss of faith in communism. He makes a good case that, far from encouraging movement to a more open system, democracy has been a victim of the country's economic expansion. This piece should be read by anyone interested in the facts vs. hype ratio regarding China's future.