Skip to main content

pa3725c.jpg7212ba0346f86fa80f063d12 Paul Lachine

China’s Democratic Baby Steps

Former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping was quoted in 1987 as saying that China would hold national elections in 50 years. China’s democratic trajectory generates little fanfare, but it may actually deliver on Deng’s promise ahead of schedule.

WASHINGTON, DC – During the state visit to the United States of Chinese President Hu Jintao, President Barack Obama pressed Hu on human rights. He probably should have asked more about spreading democracy in China, because he might have been surprised by what he heard.

In September 2010, Hu gave a speech in Hong Kong in which he called for new thinking about Chinese democracy. He said, “There is a need to…hold democratic elections according to the law; have democratic decision-making, democratic management as well as democratic supervision; safeguard people’s right to know, to participate, to express, and to supervise.”

His remarks elaborated on previous comments by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, delivered in Shenzhen, the coastal free-enterprise zone where China’s economic revolution began. Wen said that political reform, including opportunities for citizens to criticize and monitor the government, is necessary to sustain China’s breakneck economic growth. Otherwise, he argued, the country’s economic gains would be lost.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/QChgoZD;
  1. haass105_Gustavo BassoNurPhoto via Getty Images_amazon Gustavo Basso/NurPhoto via Getty Images

    The Amazon and You

    Richard N. Haass

    Sovereignty entails obligations as well as rights, and where compliance cannot be induced, pressure must be applied. And though positive incentives to encourage and enable compliance would be preferable, Brazil's government is showing that there must be sticks where carrots are not enough.

    1
  2. GettyImages-1151170958 ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

    The Meritocracy Muddle

    Eric Posner

    Although populism in Western democracies is nothing new, resentment toward elites and experts has certainly been on the rise. Does this trend reflect a breakdown in the system, or a system that is actually working too well?

    7

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions