Aspen Ideas Festival Debate between Eric X Li and Minxin Pei on “China and Democracy” (Video)
Aspen Institute has just released the debate between Eric X Li and Minxin Pei, moderated by James Fallows. See my earlier reaction to JJ Gould’s take (who was in the audience), when this video was still not yet available. Now that I have watched it, I think it is clear that Li trounced Minxin Pei. (JJ Gould clearly ignored many great points Li made; a reminder we should be getting our news more directly rather through journalists.) Li’s arguments were much more grounded in reality whereas Pei’s were – well, often times religious. Notice at the very end when Fallows polled the audience, more people changed their minds following the debate in siding with Li. People also applauded Li when he explained that a system must fit the country’s unique history, culture, and current circumstances. It was in response to whether China’s system is exportable. That particular question struck me once more that Americans tend to think in black and white terms; if you don’t follow my religion, you must be against my religion. Our world need not work in that dichotomy. Another person asked what China could teach America. Li essentially said, accept and tolerate other forms of government. By the way, being tolerant is very much what true democracy strives for, isn’t it?