Some in China Begin to Confront Its Dark Shadows

by Ryan on November 16, 2012

in Economy,History,International Relations

This article from Foreign Policy reinforces an idea that China’s “state capitalism” is really just the old “national socialism” and that China needs to move quickly to avoid the mistakes of the past.  The article chronicles the stories and insights of former UBS banker He Di.  He Di paints parallels between the days of national socialism in the past and the trajectory China is currently on, especially after his latest trip to Germany.  Echoing He Di’s thoughts is historian Xu Jilin:

The history of Germany and Japan in the 1930s shows that if statism fulfills its potential, it will lead the entire nation into catastrophe.

Amen.  Wonder if the Chinese leadership is listening.  Going forward, here’s what He Di believes about China’s slow liberalization since the “enlightened” days of Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s:

The top leaders really understand the concept of so-called ‘universal values,’ which means human rights and allowing the people freedom to choose what they want. They respected the abilities of the people, reflecting a universal value not necessarily coming from the West but based on human beings basic needs.

Considering how those same leaders viewed “universal values” at Tiananmen Square kind of shoots down that idealistic spin, but wow:  Communists 1) criticizing their government openly, 2) admitting that they’ve followed more of a classical fascist model which never ends well, and 3) that a concept of “universal values” (or “natural rights” as we rubes in the West figured out centuries ago) exists and is something all people yearn for!  Again — Wow!  Makes you wish we had more intellectuals in the USA thinking the same way.

As an nation in ascension, China actually seems to want to solve its problems (just imagine!).  Well, at least these intellectuals and businessmen do.  How much influence they may have over the ruling regime is a different story.  This is part of the reason why I believe that a more liberalized China may lead to secessionist movements especially in Tibet, blunting China’s potential rise to superpower hegemon.  If China’s rise mirrored our concepts and values, I wouldn’t mind it as much — like the British smoothly passing the baton to us back in the day.  As for now though, suspicion, caution, and disdain remain for a Middle Kingdom trying to find its way.

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