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West should work with China
China is the most successful country led by a communist party to have given most of its people economic security and happiness, says an article by Eberhard Sandschneider, director of German Council on Foreign Relations. Excerpts:
China will gradually transform its economic strength into political and military influence, which will shake the West's feeling of superiority. Although the West knows China's stability is in line with its interests, it is yet to find the right strategy to deal or coexist with China. The West's containment and mollification policies reflect its lack of confidence, and are doomed to fail.
The West has no choice but to join hands with China to solve global issues and make global policies.
China's political system suits it best
China's political system has undergone a significant change over the past three decades and is now close to the best formula for governing a large country: meritocracy at the top, democracy at the bottom, with room for experimentation in between, says an article in London-based Financial Times. Excerpts:
There is a good case for popular participation at local levels. People usually know what's needed in their communities and they have a good sense of the competence and character of the leaders they choose. In fact, most Chinese participate in local-level elections.
In a big country, however, one person, one vote is problematic. From a moral point of view, citizens should vote for the common good because their votes affect not just themselves but other people as well. Yet voters tend to vote with their pocketbooks. Many cannot even do that well, since they lack economic competence. One group of voters - the rich - has a better understanding of economics and finds it easy to skew the system in its favor.
So how should leaders be chosen at the central level? Ideally, the process should be meritocratic: the mechanism should be explicitly designed to choose leaders with superior competence and virtue. Over the past three decades or so, the CPC has gradually transformed itself from a revolutionary party to a meritocratic organization.
When it comes to political systems, Western opinion leaders are still stuck in a narrative of dichotomy: democracy versus authoritarianism. But the competition in the 21st century, as scholar Zhang Weiwei says, is between good and bad governance. China has developed the right formula for choosing political leaders that is consistent with its culture and history and suitable to modern circumstances. It should be improved on the basis of this formula, not Western-style democracy.
The nation deserves respect from the West
China has achieved unprecedented economic success in the past 30-odd years, says an article on BBC website. Excerpts:
Although China remains a developing country, the Chinese government is one of the most competent ones in the world. As China continues its rise, the West will finally pay attention to its development path. The West will no longer be in the position to instruct or teach China how to act as itself. So the West ought to be modest in its dealings with China.
Taking good care of its people
The wealth gap between urban and rural areas in China may be widening, but at the same time a welfare state has begun taking root in the country with healthcare and pension reforms, and free midday meals for poor children and the needy, says an article in The Guardian. Excerpts:
As China sees its once-in-a-decade leadership transition, the State media hail a "golden decade" under the incumbents. Critics call it a lost decade, rife with wasted opportunities for the economic, social and political reforms the country needs.
A decade ago, 147 million urban employees and 55 million rural residents had pension coverage. Now 229 million urban employees are covered, and 449 million rural and urban residents; 124 million are already receiving payments. A few years ago, barely 20 percent of rural residents had medical insurance; now 96 percent of the population is covered.
How much credit President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao deserve is a matter of opinion; their predecessors began some of the programs (which benefited the people) and other leaders would presumably have sought to address the problems that emerged with China's development.
The significance of their legacy will depend on how their successors build on it. Developing a welfare state in China will require the support not just of China's new leaders, but of its citizens, too.
Challenges will be met firmly
The Chinese leadership has achieved concrete success in economic development, says an article in Germany-based Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Excerpts:
The Chinese economy has maintained a stable and fast growth. China today is the second largest economy in the world. It has the largest foreign exchange reserves in the world as well and has already built a comprehensive infrastructure system.
Besides, Chinese people's income and welfare levels have improved.
China has gradually become an important and influential world power with the increase in its economic power. It has not only overcome many difficulties at home, but also helped some European countries to meet their debts.
But China still faces some challenges such as the development disparity among its different regions, serious environmental pollutions and depletion of its natural resources, which it is determined to meet.
Need for political reform urgent
Though Belgium recognizes China's economic success, one of its media outlets stressed the importance of political reform in the country. Excerpts:
Political reform is one of the most important elements of China's reform. The CPC must pay more attention to perfecting democracy and to its fight against corruption. Nobody can be above the law.
(China Daily 11/16/2012 page10)