Brian recently visited China on a trip for journalists sponsored by the Committee Of 100. He and his fellow travelers will be posting reflections on the blog over the next week. Here Angie Tang, executive director of the C-100, former director of the New York City Office of Immigrant Affairs, and former U.S. Labor Department Representative for the Northeast and Caribbean, responds to Brian's first post.
Brian wrote: In this country, we often think of China first as an authoritarian state that engages in human rights violations. It was chilling to stand in Tiananmen Square as a tourist. But that said, I came away with the impression that China's leadership sees its form of government as less like, say, Kim Jong Un's and more like Michael Bloomberg's: a non-ideological technocracy. They've had all this economic and educational success, peacefully turned away from Mao's brutal revolution, gotten so many people out of poverty, conducted public opinion polls to determine people's needs, and imposed term limits on their top officials. And yet, the argument some people made that China is better off without political freedom still revolts me. I wonder how others among us are thinking about China's unique mix of repression, pragmatism and advancement.
Brian, your point about “China’s mix of repression, pragmatism and advancement” aptly captures the contradictory forces at play in shaping China’s economic development and in some ways, I would add national identity.