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China’s ‘Iron Fist’ Policy

As Chinese leaders preach openness and free market all around the world, their policy at home is quite opposite. While certain economic freedoms exist, the ruling Communist party is keeping total control over significant chunk of the industry, information space and judicial system. Bloomberg reports:

Xi’s speech at the World Economic Forum came days after the country’s top judge ordered the courts to “boldly whip out the sword” against judicial independence and constitutional democracy. The ruling Communist Party, meanwhile, issued a directive ordering five ministries to put political loyalty first when selecting senior officials and it decided to revise textbooks to bolster “patriotic education.” …

Even as Xi used his Davos speech to preach greater economic ties with the U.S. and other trading partners, China is showing a harder line on Japan and other long-time rivals. Earlier this month the Ministry of Education ordered textbooks at all levels to extend by six years the “Chinese War Against Japanese Aggression,” emphasizing that hostilities stretched back to 1931, rather than 1937 previously…

At home, the country’s top judge enlisted the courts to battle any attempts to subvert state power, split the country or endanger national security. Supreme People’s Court President Zhou Qiang warned senior judges at a Jan. 14 gathering in Beijing “absolutely not to fall into the trap of false Western ideas” such as judicial independence, separation of powers and constitutionalism.

Zhou stressed the importance of political ideology in judicial officials’ job appraisals. He called for a legal interpretation for cases about the reputation of historic figures venerated by the party…

Such domestic actions undercut Xi’s effort to make China the leader of an open and connected global order… “China doesn’t offer a compelling model of governance that most other countries want to follow,” Goodman said. “China is headed in the opposite direction, both in its more restrictive internal policies and in its assertive behavior in the region.”

Foreign companies have complained of difficulties in China’s investment environment. Some 81 percent of the U.S. companies surveyed feel less welcome, while more than 60 percent have little or no confidence the country will further open its markets in the next three years, according to a poll of 462 firms released Wednesday by the American Chamber of Commerce in China. (Read the full article)

Any attempt to look at China’s economic development outside the political context is doomed to fail and ignoring the role of the communist leadership leads to biased conclusions.


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China’s Xi, Preaching Openness Abroad, Clamps Down at Home