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All that growth helped some 800 million people lift themselves out of poverty; along the way, China also reduced its infant mortality rate by 85 percent and raised life expectancy by 11 years.What made these achievements all the more striking is that the Chinese government accomplished them while remaining politically repressive—something that historical precedent and political theory suggest is very, very difficult.
In the last 40 years, China has racked up a long list of remarkable accomplishments.
Between 19, the Chinese economy grew by an average rate of 10 percent a year, producing a tenfold increase in average adult income.
First, in the name of fighting corruption—an important goal and one China badly needs—he has purged a vast number of officials whose real crime, in Xi’s view, was failing to show sufficient loyalty to the paramount leader.
Meng Hongwei, the Interpol chief who China abruptly detained two weeks ago, is just the latest, high-profile case; his story is hardly unusual.
As a result, cloistered tyrants—their egos bloated by constant, obsequious praise—find themselves increasingly cut off from reality and the rest of the world (think Kim Jong Un, Bashar al-Assad, or Robert Mugabe) and end up ruling by whim and instinct with little sense of what’s actually happening in their own countries.
The impact of this ignorance on domestic and foreign policy is disastrous.But by destroying many of the mechanisms that made the Chinese miracle possible, Xi risks reversing those gains and turning China into just another police state (think a gigantic, more open version of North Korea): inefficient, ineffective, brittle, and bellicose.And that should worry not just China’s 1.4 billion citizens but the rest of us as well.Staff look at an image of disgraced politician Bo Xilai at the Intermediate People’s Court after he was sentenced to life in prison on Sept.22, 2013, in the country’s highest-profile trial in decades.Power is held by a very small number of individuals.To maintain their power, those individuals repress dissent and rule by intimidation.Indeed, more members of the Communist Party’s powerful Central Committee have been disciplined since 2012 than in the entire period dating back to the Communist Revolution.Not content to merely eliminate any competition, Xi has also consolidated his power by abandoning the term limits on his job and by refusing to name a successor, as his predecessors did halfway through their tenures.As Minxin Pei, a China expert at Claremont Mc Kenna College, explains, the collective leadership model Deng designed helped weed out bad ideas and promote good ones by emphasizing careful deliberation and discouraging risk-taking.Since assuming power in 2012, Xi has worked to dismantle China’s collective leadership system in several ways.