For prior posts in this series, see Whither Xi? Whither CCP? Whither China?

 

Whither China post #6 – Question 4 - must China have democracy … or die?

the mantra – if p, then q

Democracy must come eventually.  Once China reaches middle income status, the huge middle class, 200 or 300 million strong, concerned about the future and kids and education and health care and the environment, will demand democracy.  Democracy may actually be on the arc of history.  Countries other than the oil states that have achieved high level GDP per person have developed some version of democracy – think Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, even Singapore. China is at middle income to upper middle income status now, the income range when the transition is supposed to take place, according to historical experience.  The next logical step for China is democracy. And without political reform, China will have (pick one or more) political revolt, growing crises of confidence, fissures within the Party. And without political reform and economic reform to further open the economy, future growth is in jeopardy.

For prior posts in this series, see Whither Xi? Whither CCP? Whither China?

 

Whither China Post #5 - Question 3 - Does Xi have a plan … or even a solution?

The incurably optimistic saw wily manipulation in Xi’s moves.  He had to first clear away the obstacles to real reform.  With that accomplished, he could then open up the financial system, float the currency, open the economy to foreign service businesses, eliminate capital controls, and maybe … just maybe … move toward greater freedoms.

For prior posts in this series, see Whither Xi? Whither CCP? Whither China?

 

 Whither China? post #3 - Question 1 - CCP authoritarian resilience … or not

In the early Hu Jintao years, it did seem as if CCP was impervious to assault.  Over the decades, it weathered murder of landlords in the early years, then the Great Famine, then the Cultural Revolution, then Tian’anmen, then cancelling of dozens of millions of jobs in the late 1990s, and environmental and tainted food and land theft mass protests every year since.  Authoritarian resilience is the term coined by Joseph Nye in 2003 for this tough stability.

But since the last years of the Hu administration, and now forcefully with Xi, resilience is not how observers see CCP, and most decidedly, not how CCP sees itself.

For prior posts in this series, see Whither Xi? Whither CCP? Whither China?

 

Whither China? post #4 - Question 2 - Xi’s MO - Purifying CCP and the Chinese people – can Xi do it?

You know the stories - melamine in milk scandal, death of Wang Yue, gutter oil, ocean sand instead of river sand in high rise construction, fake college degrees, fake credentials evaluation, chengguan abuses. There are more where those came from.  A society highly desirous of harmony sees everything but harmony every day. 

For prior posts in this series, see Whither Xi? Whither CCP? Whither China?

 

Whither China post #9 – Question 7 – So no democracy, no resilience; heavy challenges. Now what?

We looked at authoritarian resilience, modernization theory, the contrapositive to modernization theory, and threats to innovation, and came up short in two ways - on the need for a democratic transition and the inevitability of a growth slowdown without democracy.

This is not to say that high levels of growth can continue or that protests will cease. The question then turns to the current challenges in China – what is happening?  A version of Minxin Pei’s Trapped Transition is likely, although I think there are necessary updates to his view.  It is Mr. Xi who is leading China into a trap.

Whither Xi? Whither CCP? Whither China?

China observers in many fields – economics, psychology, philosophy, health care, education, politics, business - agree that there are critical or life-threatening issues for CCP and Xi to address.  They differ on the ability of CCP, via Xi, to successfully address the economic, cultural, and political concerns.  The era of China as the big dog on the international stage in 2019 does not mask the severity of issues.

I want to touch on several political questions salient in China over the next three years – or ten, or twenty, as long as Xi lasts in power.   First, is CCP resilient enough to withstand the pressures of modernization as well as the pressures of Xi?  Does Xi have a game plan for reform?  Many observers over the years, including senior Party theoreticians, have seen democratic reforms as necessary to future growth and CCP survival.  Is that even feasible?   Xi has now amassed more power than any leader since Mao, but created much uncertainty within China and around the world.  Whither China with and without Xi?  Must China come to democracy, or else?