The China Model – Advantages of the One Party Meritocratic State?

China’s success in recent decades has been remarkable. Economic reforms have lifted hundreds of millions of people out of severe poverty, the greatest reduction in poverty ever[1]. Beneath China’s spectacular economic progress, however, the Chinese Communist Party retains much of its authoritarian nature.[2] But while the Party still relies on many of the classic tactics of authoritarianism to maintain its grip on power, supporters argue that the China Model has some critical advantages over the model of liberal democracy.[3]  Continue reading

“Freedom of expression is the foundation of human rights, the source of humanity, and the mother of truth…” Liu Xiaobo

Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo is currently serving an 11 year jail sentence for campaigning for democracy in China. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 in a ceremony he could not attend. In a message smuggled from his prison cell he asked that his Nobel Peace Prize to be dedicated to “the lost souls from the 4th of June” Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 which suppressed China’s dawning democracy movement. The following extracts from the speech he made at his trail remind us of the enormous personal cost that those who struggle for freedom of speech, human rights and democracy are often willing to pay for the benefit of strangers and future generations.  Continue reading

Is Progress Inevitable?

I’m just back from the MatchPoints Seminar on ‘The Culture of Politics, Economics and International Relations’, in Aarhus, Denmark, where I gave a presentation on ‘Culture as Defence against Pathological Elites’. A number of interesting questions came up again and again over the four days of the conference. Is progress inevitable? Are human rights a western invention? Does modernisation have to mean westernisation? Continue reading