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Why do governments follow ideologies? It is to guide them in the overall rationale for their policies and actions for the people. This rationalization however depends on circumstances in which the policies and actions have to be operated. |
If a country has been poor and the people many so that material progress relative to other more advanced countries has been slower, then the obvious priority is to build material progress so that the people can have a platform to (a) lift their livelihood, (b) improve their learning and thinking, and (c) conduct themselves more civilly. These are sequential actions whose individual progress depends on the circumstances of each person and each place at each time, and for China, there are many people with different backgrounds and circumstances and stage of progress.
These are the challenges facing the CPC; starting from Deng, it has wisely prioritized economic progress so that one fifth of the human race can rise to take a place that was taken from it out of past weaknesses now replaced with strength and confidence.
Over time, China may develop more global elements within her society but the road towards moving her citizens from provincial to global in mindset will have to be carefully paved so as not to trigger unrest and tension that would jeopardize economic progress for many others who have not yet achieved some level of personal wealth.
It is like a roll of string. You buy one made by machine. It is tightly rolled and perfectly packed. Then you unreel a segment and cut it off at one spot leaving a length to be spooled back. You will find it impossible to spool back exactly how a machine would have done. So too social progress. If not done with civilizational wisdom of which there is considerable paucity throughout the world's history, one can get entangled by one's own actions.
Not many people would know that before the Square incident took place, many of the western industries operating in China had already known the demonstration would take place and they had appealed to the government to stem it out of their personal interest which however was ignored by their own western media which took pleasure in tarring the measures which had to be taken albeit overdone by some accounts. Such is an example of the difference of perception and rationalization.
So if China today may be interpreted as being more capitalistic than socialistic with Chinese characteristics, who in the rest of the world is qualified to judge her and on what grounds?
Some may adduce the fear she will become oligarchic with elites running the economy but the government has instituted policies to cool the economy at various stages in the past and also financial reforms to tackle issues from real estate bubbles to SOE liabilities.
Others may say corruption is entrenched but she has investigated and charged the corrupt in a wave that is ongoing and has to take time because corruption came about through guanxi which is an aberrant personification of the gratitude element in society.
Yet others may decry elites who have become rich over the masses who remain poor. Have they forgotten all were poor once so that some will naturally progress further because they took more risk and worked more intelligently to tap opportunities which arose from an expanding market primed to export to the world whose operating model is reward-for-risk? If China has been suppressive of personal wealth development, she wouldn't be having so many bm-illionaires in the world today, barely forty years after her economic liberalization from ground zero.
And yet again there are others who decry the way her peoples who have made it have been buying their properties; would they be happier if their own who had made it had done the same to her peoples properties by token of the same operating model of the west - willing-buyer/seller free market enterprise - that has surely benefited the property owners in their own lands besides more jobs for their own service providers?
And yet moreover there are some who snipes China doesn't practice IP protection or adopted democracy as ideology. It takes time to groom proper institutional resources to uphold both; when she doesn't even have enough defense lawyers at the moment, how can she operate comprehensively what has to be maintained seamlessly into the future, although she (a) is already showing will and discipline to effect IP protection in many cases conveniently unreported in western media, and (b) has to be careful about the volatility of emotions that can be unleashed bottom-up by democratic freedom among entire generations brought up otherwise.
This post, for President Xi who visits the rural poor every year. By car not helicopter.