Friday, April 20, 2012

Change for better or worse - China target post-Bo Xilai fiasco

Viewed with outsider lens and attempting to impose Juedo-Christian tradition, law and political mould, William Pesek presents a more pessimistic and patronising analysis. 

The subtle tussles may not be evident to most China watchers but to the experts who watch every step closely, the horse trading has been going behind the scenes, beneath the relatively calm surface. Hence the explosive scandal came as a shock to many Chinese and foreigners alike. 

Sure, focussing on the gossipy and juicy parts of the scandal would only hamper a deeper understanding of the key issues that would really matter to China's future. 

Corruption and bending rules have long been recognised as potential time bombs and have been addressed delicately by the Chinese central leadership. At times, the most severe penalty have been meted out including death sentences. However, these moves had not been implemented as coherently, quicklyand lawfully as some impatient external observers and idealists hope for. As if it had not been sufficiently drastic and destabilising.  

Even the most cynical China critic must admit that the Chinese economy, human rights record, legal system, political participation and redistribution of power and wealth have undergone immense transformation and bold experimentation. Transparency and accountability have improved despite fledging areas which seem to get undue attention. 

The bottomline is that princelings and ideologues who form part of the stabilising foundation could be removed when they ran foul of the law and commit excesses for self enrichment at the expense of the people's interests. It is a step forward in people's democracy but the road ahead is fraught with dangers. 

Antiquated political structure may be only in form whereas the economics and government has undergone incredible overhaul in essence more than any other country in the world in recent times. 

Here may be something that wealthy bankers and big business who have a stranglehold on politicians through lobbying and interest groups could take a leaf from to sort out their own unique set of problems despite having a well developed democratic and legal system in place.  

Occupy Wall Street - who wishes for color revolution in the faltering economies and social inequalities in developed world. Just wondering?

"It’s the rare scandal that involves murder, corruption, Harvard University and comparisons to Jacqueline Kennedy. The Bo Xilai kerfuffle now mesmerizing China offers all this and perhaps more: It could forever change an entire political system.
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We’re missing the true story here, though. It’s really more evidence that China’s political system is trapped in the past, while its economy races ahead. This dangerous mismatch is often dismissed by pundits and investors, and yet Bo’s ambitious rise and fall, as well as the opacity surrounding it, embodies much of what’s wrong in the fastest-growing major economy.
China is iPad central, with state-of-the-art factories, modern office towers of mirrored glass, six-lane highways, high- speed rail, expanding WiFi networks and state wealth that’s the envy of Washington and Tokyo. China’s nouveau riche are so vital to Prada SpA, Louis Vuitton and Mercedes-Benz that they have been called the “Middle Blingdom.”
Yet China’s political system dates to the days of Mao and Josef Stalin. As democracy takes root from Egypt to Myanmar, China is still mired in closed-door deliberations, backroom deals and purges. This murky world is bumping up against a burgeoning Internet culture that makes it impossible to contain and control the news.
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In 2011, the richest 70 members of China’s legislature were worth more than the annual gross domestic product of Slovakia. The $90 billion concentrated among them is both emblematic of how China’s model is failing the masses and why Communist Party bigwigs will stonewall any change that crimps their income.
Because the extremely wealthy are often politicians, China may have a truly difficult time retooling its economy and narrowing the rich-poor divide. The hurdles to reform increase the odds of a hard landing in China that breeds social unrest.
We can marvel over Bo’s downfall. We can go on about how China’s leadership refuses to countenance rising political stars who challenge its clubby world. We can engage in whodunit fantasies about the wife and the dead businessman. But more than anything, this tale shows how an antiquated political system imperils a nation’s future.

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