China’s One Party State is Adaptable, Meritocratic and Has Legitimacy

The following clip was produced in 2013 but provides the most succinct and accurate insight into China’s one party state, in my opinion. The reality will surprise many people in the West who see their brand of democracy as the only mechanism by which modern society can function.

All human societies aspire to the ideology of linear progression leading to a utopian existence. In order to achieve those goals there is this perceived struggle between good and evil. In the early 20th century we had the struggle between socialism and capitalism whose advocate was Karl Marx. China bought into this philosophy which ultimately failed.

We then had the concept that humanity developed from traditional societies in groups into singular entities. They all wanted the vote, to produce dependable governments and attain that utopian dream. However, on this occasion, China did not buy into this dream, fool me once was their mantra.

China embarked on their own programme of reform and in the space of 30 years they lifted 650m out of poverty. In that period of time, 80% of the entire global elevation of people out of poverty came out of China. They went from being one of the poorest nations to become, now arguably the biggest economy in the world.

It should be noted that in that same 30 year period the democracies of the world contributed a mere fraction compared to a one party state in China which has no democratic elections.

The West perceives China’s political system as being “Operational rigid, Politically closed and Morally illegitimate”. In reality its three defining characteristics  are “Adaptability, Meritocracy and Legitimacy.”

It has proved to be the most adaptable nation in the world as witnessed by these major reforms

  • 1950 Radical Land Collectivisation
  • 1950 to 1960s Great Leap Forward
  • 1960s to 1970s  Farmland Quasi-Privatisation
  • 1970 Cultural Revolution
  • 1980 Deng’s market reforms
  • 1990 Jiang’s party opening

Political reform has been an extensive and an ongoing process for decades and China can be regarded as the worlds leading reformer in this regard. What may also surprise many is that China’s one party state is one of most meritocratic institutions in the world today, China’s highest political institution called the Politburo consists of 25 people, 80% of which, like today’s President and Premier are from ordinary backgrounds with no privilege. In the next tier of political structure there are 300 people and the proportion of those deemed privileged is even smaller.

So how is this possible in a one party system?

China forms a highly integrated HR type model which encompasses all aspects of their employment sectors. They recruit entry-level people who have the opportunity to be promoted through the ranks in a tiered hierarchical system. In 2012, the structure looked like this.

  • Base level fuke, ke  = 900000 members
  • Next level fuchu, chu = 600000 members
  • Next level  fuju, ju (high officialdom) = 40000 members
  • Central Committee = 300 members

To get from the base level to the Central Committee takes two to three decades.  Patronage plays a small part but the overriding determining factor is meritocratic. The current Chinese President,  Xi Jinping took 30 year to reach the highest tier. He started out as village manager and by the time he entered the Politburo he managed a total population of 150m people with a GDP of 1.5 trillion dollars.

China’s people verify the legitimacy of this approach on a continual basis and their concerns are addressed. Compare this with our own values of Western democracy.

China recognises it has extensive social and economic problems, e.g. Pollution, Food Safety and Population Concerns. Politically it has corruption issues, in spite of its one party state system.

The presenter makes some valid predictions

  • China to become the largest economy in the world
  • China will make significant strides to curb corruption
  • Economic reform will accelerate
  • Political reform will continue
  • One party state will remain firm

We will leave this article with some quotes by the presenter

“ Meta narrative is the cancer that is killing democracy from the inside.”

“It is the claims of the western political elites, the hubris, which is at the heart of the West’s current ills”

“If they would spend just a little less time,  forcing themselves onto others and a little more time on political reform at home then democracy might just have a chance”

I completely agree with his closing remarks that communism and democracy as dogmatic univeralisms are now over. We need to embrace a new paradigm, from universality to plurality, as the presenter puts it.

Are we indeed ready to embrace that reality?



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