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  • Reforming Reform in China

    The head of China’s People’s Congress announced Friday that any movements toward a Western-style democracy were off the table.

    Within the announcement, Wu Bangguo specifically ruled out multi-party elections, the division of the People’s Congress into two houses, separate branches of government with power to balance one another, and formal privatization. According to Wu, “Different countries have different systems of laws, and we do not copy the systems of laws of certain Western countries when enacting the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics.”

    Then again, why should they? After a quarter-century of economic insanity under Mao, China has had an economic miracle that is nothing less than remarkable. Since Deng Xiaoping took control of the party at the end of the 1970s, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has lifted more than a billion people—one-sixth of the entire world’s population—out of poverty. China’s total GDP is more than 30 times what it was in 1978. And even during the current economic situation, the Chinese people are the most optimistic in the world when it comes to their economy.

    However, the CCP shouldn’t take this good fortune for granted. Progress of this speed and intensity doesn’t come without costs, and as the middle class in China continues to develop, it will see that the picture isn’t as rosy as the CCP would like it to believe.

    First, with economic progress comes inequality. With more than 100 billionaires, there are still tens of millions living on less than $125 a year. These differences are accentuated based on location with the inland provinces: Henan, Gansu, and Qinghai far poorer than the buzzing metropolises of Beijing and Shanghai.

    There’s also the problem of corruption. To find out just how endemic corruption is in China, all a foreigner has to do is try to get a visa within the country legitimately without paying an “agent” a few hundred dollars to kick back to the government. Although there have been a few arrests, corruption is still rampant in the government. Even Jia Qinglin, a current member of the Politburo’s elite eight-member Standing Committee, has been connected to some of China’s most notorious scandals.

    These frustrations have led to a dramatic rise in mass protests throughout China and has led many, including Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo, to question in which direction the government should be going. So instead of clamping down on political reforms, the CCP should embrace them. Deng Xiaoping’s quote—“To get rich is glorious”—does not have to be limited to economic wealth; the people of China deserve political riches as well.

    Brad Alsup is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Reforming Reform in China

    1. Pingback: World Spinner

    2. Stirling, Pennsylvan says:

      Interesting considering the current progressives in our government look so fondly at the Chinesse model. The Chineese government holds ultimate power over it's people, and gets the benefits of the captitalist system financially. The common people always loose in both the chineese model and America's Progressive model.

    3. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      I wonder if anybody has taken the trouble to discern the difference between "Western Democracy" as you say, and what we used to have in the USA, Constitutional Representative Democracy. You get corruption in very Communist State, or State Socialist State, even California. We call it the People's Republic of California for a damned good reason. They don't even pretend anymore to be American, it is all Redistribution of Wealth! And that's crazy! It just might be they never heard about Constitutional Representative Democracy in China!

      The Obama Administration is busy, busy, busy stirring up discontent in the Islamic World, calling for Democracy. What the Chinese need is the same thing we Americans need! We need genuine Representative Democracy, not ten percent Commies taking over and running the other ninety percent! That is what we have and it ain't pretty! I wish Americans would focus on Free and Fair Elections here at home. Did anybody notice that Obama stole his Election and the Democratic Party was usurped by genuine Cold War Communists! There are no real Democrats anymore, just DINOs. It isn't Representation what Obama is doing in the Agencies, it is Dictatorship.

      You cannot have Liberty without prosperity. Money is freedom, real freedom to do, have and be free. Americans clank their chains together chanting USA! USA! Meanwhile Obama goes after Total Government Power, the power to do anything they want with Americans! Reform? Reform? Is that some kind of positive Reform or is it just more lies? You are right. We need to reform the whole idea of reform so that it actually reforms something into something a sensible human being could want!

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