The New York Times published an article by Eric Li, on Feb.16 when our “next president” Xi Jinping was visiting the US, that argues China’s political model is superior to that of the US. Eric Li sums up the difference between the two systems, “whereas America sees democratic government as an end in itself, China sees its current form of government, or any political system for that matter, merely as a means to achieving larger national ends”.
What is the “national ends”? Eric Li used the crackdown of Tian-an-men Square in 1989 as an example and explained that the stability resulted from the crackdown “ushered in a generation of growth and prosperity that propelled China’s economy to its position as the second largest in the world”.
So economic development is the “end”, and human lives are “means”? And this is the China Model? Then why don’t we go back to the era of Chairman Mao during which millions of people are starved or tortured to death only to fulfill Mao’s personal ideal of what China should be? What about the fact that the income per capita of China ranks at 93rd in the world and the well documented problem of “rich state poor people”?
Eric Li is a venture capitalist. Many capitalists love China because in state capitalism, as long as they form an alliance with the ruling elites, their pursuit of money would not be hindered by things like labor rights, environment regulation or public accountability.
But it is possible that Eric Li is writing from his heart and truly shares a belief with the Chinese nationalists that I’ve been researching: The rise of China is the ultimate end, and people are just “means”.