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

 

Whither China post #7 – Question 5 – Whither China's economic development with no democracy?

 

contrapositive modernization theory – if not q, then not p – if no democracy, then no future growth

Many observers make not only the first phase of the modernization argument – that with economic growth comes demand for democracy – but also the second phase, the contrapositive argument – if no democracy evolves, then growth will slow or stop. Despite the successes to date, the argument goes, there is a looming disaster, as modern economic growth, or demands of a service economy, or post-industrial growth, or the era of IT, or AI, is incompatible with CCP authoritarian governance. 

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. 

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?

Recent

  • News: IP theft - no more worries

    News: IP theft - no more worries

     

    Just a brief note -  the FBI has more than 1,100 China IP theft  cases pending against Chinese entities or individuals.  Not a typo - 1,100.

     For American companies not doing business in China - we should not say, no exposure to China - the FBI investigations may still be something of a bulwark against theft.  Although, one notes, most of the investigations and arrests are in arrears of the crime.

    And back nearly a year ago, Mr. Xi promulgated a new IP theft policy which threatened Chinese businesses that steal.  The policy was announced within hours of a Xi-Trump meeting last December, and comprised a coordinated efforts across 38 Chinese government agencies with 38 different punishments.  The insincerity of this announcement, coming immediately upon the leaders' meeting, was palpable.  If you want to believe, you may.  I wrote about this at the time in Everything new is old again

    But with a new Chinese government policy, IP theft in China is no more.

    Now comes the latest entry in China's bid to become the first panopticon state - the cybersecurity law that permits government access to all information, IP or otherwise, stored on any server available to any foreign business operating in China.  China Law Blog has details - China's New Cybersecurity System - There is NO Place to Hide.  From the blog post -

    This result then leads to the key issue. Confidential information housed on any server located in China is subject to being viewed and copied by China’s Ministry of Public Security and that information then becomes open to access by the entire PRC government system. But the PRC government is the shareholder of the State Owned Entities (SOEs) which are the key industries in China. The PRC government also essentially controls the key private companies in China such as Huawei and ZTE and more recently Alibaba and Tencent and many others. See China is sending government officials into companies like Alibaba and Geely and China to place government officials inside 100 private companies, including Alibaba. The PRC government also either owns or controls China’s entire arms industry.

    Simply put, the data the Ministry of Public Security obtains from foreign companies will be available to the key competitors of foreign businesses, to the Chinese government controlled and private R&D system, and to the Chinese arms industry and military.

    The takeaway on this is that the fear of IP theft in China is no more.  What used to be considered theft, done by stealth, is now a legal process.  As Steve Dickinson from China Law Blog says, welcome to the new normal.   And anyway, remember - information wants to be free.

     

     

     
  • Deer in the headlights

    Deer in the headlights

     

    Aggressive moves by the Xi Jinping government have sensitized the world to skullduggery, lying, theft, and threats to foreigners in their own country by Chinese organizations in business and government. Infiltration of politics and government in Australia and New Zealand has become a recurring story. 

    Unfortunately, such actions can bias some people against Chinese everywhere.  So - what to make of Gladys Liu?

    Read more ...  
  • China censorship by extortion in London

    Update at October 7, 2019 - The NBA self-censors for China

    The NBA is a business - we know that.  But the NBA has been the professional league in which players and coaches have had the most freedom to speak their minds about issues of rights and morality.  Now, apparently, that freedom of speech stops at the Chinese border.  The New York Times has the story - NBA executive's Hong Kong tweet starts firestorm in China.

    Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets, tweeted an expression of support for protesters in Hong Kong.  This upset the Chinese Basketball Association, and some Chinese fans, who see Hong Kongers as only hooligans and destroyers of Chinese harmony.  Morey's tweet suggested that he "stands with Hong Kong."  He has now apologized to the NBA's largest international market.  The NBA has disavowed his comment, although it did suggest weakly that he had a right to say what he said.  Of course, the Chinese league commented with the old trope, that Morey had hurt the feelings of all Chinese people (who are basketball fans). 

    Read more ...  

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