SINGAPORE -- At its fourth plenary of the 18th congress in October 2014, the Chinese Communist Party leadership passed an ambitious reform plan on the legal system. The party devoted this entire plenary session to discuss "rule of law" -- something unprecedented in the history of the party's plenary sessions. This act was widely interpreted as the Xi Jinping leadership's determination to build a system of "rule of law" in the country.
It is the season of lists: best movies, best books and on and on. Since I teach and write on globalization and international political economy, I thought I would continue a tradition I started several years ago of creating a different type of list: a geo-political-economic list -- a list of globalization's top five trends for the year.
While there are American-style liberals in China, some intellectuals and others view freedom through a different, and they say Chinese, prism. Some reject U.S.-style democracy without exactly affirming CCP-led autocracy. Everyone wants to be heard, but they don't necessarily want everyone else, especially the rural masses, to be heard.
SINGAPORE -- This is a rare window of opportunity for China. If Xi had not launched the anti-corruption campaign now, it would have been impossible to do so in 10 years time. By then the vested interest groups would have become too powerful. If the economic oligarchy becomes a political one, China will become the Russia of yesterday.
A terrible irony is that, seen in the relatively short term of 25 years, the Tiananmen Square event didn't help the cause of China's progress to democracy, but seems to have led the government to take China to an opposite extreme. One possibility is that Hong Kong protestors will be compelled to give in if the region is to function at all, and the cycle of post-1989 China will repeat itself with more restrictions and less freedom.
Deng believed that the most urgent task was to improve people's livelihood. In his view, all other reforms, including political ones, had to serve this primary goal. He believed that copying the Western model and placing political reform on the top of the agenda, like the Soviets were doing at the time, was utterly foolish. In fact, that was exactly Deng's comment on Gorbachev after their meeting: "This man may look smart but in fact is stupid."