Friday, June 5, 2009

China defies West's predicted gloom

China defies West's predicted gloom

Twenty years after the Tiananmen Square incident, the ruling Communist Party of China has reinvented itself and brought prosperity to the country.

The predicted gloom and doom in the immediate aftermath of the Tiananmen crackdown had been little more than Western wishful thinking about China.China has reinvented itself in the last 20 years after conducting a thorough analysis, drawing upon extensive historical case studies from abroad and concluding that the party must either adapt or die.

The CPC has since dropped even the pretence of wanting to export revolution, and with its recent induction of capitalist entrepreneurs into party membership, signals that commercial exports are what drive the party and China today.

The CPC regained legitimacy in the eyes of ordinary Chinese with economic competence. There is evident pride among ordinary Chinese today about their country and its system of governance, and also a fierce and unforced defence of China and what it stands for among its growing legion of scholars in venerable foreign institutions of learning.

Imagine -- in the 20 years since Tiananmen, China has grown to be the world's third-largest economy, soon to overtake Japan for second spot and is on course to be the largest, perhaps even within the next 20 or so years. It is the first developing country to have grown and developed largely on its own terms.

Global popular impulse has always been guided by the observation that politically democratic countries are also rich ones. But what we are witnessing today in democratic Western countries is that they can become poorer pretty fast as well. China may yet show us an as yet uncharted brave new political world of rule by a class of wise philosopher-kings.

Former United States president Bill Clinton once commented -- wrongly, as it now turns out -- that China is politically on "the wrong side of history". Another Clinton quote may have more universal appeal: "It's the economy, stupid."

Excerpt New Straits Times Ed Op

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