In his latest essay (in both Chinese and English), Eric X. Li wrote, “Many developing countries have already come to learn that democracy doesn’t solve all their problems. For them, China’s example is important. Its recent success and the failures of the West offer a stark contrast.” Of course, Li is not arguing that democratic systems are invalid. He merely argues that the universality claim is invalid. He also explains how China’s system is meritocratic, and despite a single-party rule, is able to be very adaptable. For those who genuinely believe in universality, they would do well by explaining why a country as rich and as powerful as the United States is plagued with problems of dismal approval for her politicians and incessant budget crisis nationally and locally. Continue reading 中共的生命力——后民主时代在中国开启 – “The Post-Democratic Future Begins in China” by Eric Li
IN DEFENCE OF HOW CHINA PICKS ITS LEADERS
By Daniel Bell and Eric Li
The coverage in the western media of leadership changes at the Chinese Communist party’s 18th congress has been almost uniformly negative. Critics say corruption pervades the upper echelons of the party, policy issues are not publicly discussed and the Chinese people are completely left out of the process.
There is some truth to such criticisms but they miss the big picture. The Chinese political system has undergone a significant change over the past three decades and it comes close to the best formula for governing a large country: meritocracy at the top, democracy at the bottom, with room for experimentation in between.
Continue reading “In defence of how China picks its leaders” by Daniel Bell and Eric Li
Is Apple one of the most innovative companies in the world? Most people would think so (so-so iPhone 5 specs notwithstanding). Google? Ditto. Baidu? Sure. Tencent? You know jack about Chinese companies if you don’t think so. All these companies made the recently published Forbes’ “The World’s Most Innovative Companies.” The authors of this study, Jeff Dyer and Hal Gregersen, based the rankings on what they called, innovative premium, which they detailed in their book, “The Innovator’s DNA” (co-authored with Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen). Continue reading Baidu, Tencent, Google, and Apple among The World’s Most Innovative Companies
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?
I am now anxious to watch the debate between Eric X Li and Minxin Pei at the recent Aspen Ideas Festival, where the topic was “China and Democracy.” Once the video is available, I’ll post. The debate was moderated by The Atlantics’ James Fallows, who actually admits himself here biased. So, perhaps the debate was 1 vs 1 where Pei having gotten a partial referee on his side. Interestingly, J.J. Gould, a deputy editor from the same paper, was in the audience and recounts some key arguments put forth by the three. Not having had access to the actual debate yet, I decided to weight in on Gould’s recount. For Americans, and Westerners in general, there is a great deal of anxiety when it comes to China modernizing. China’s rise challenges their notion that modernity must be predicated on “Democracy.” Actually, if you think about it, why must China’s success challenge that notion? The simple psychology there is, as Henry Kissinger recently observed in his book, “On China:” America (and the West which she leads) pursues her “values with missionary zeal.” They see China as not a “Democracy.” Hence the title of the debate is what it is, isn’t it? I wager there are many Westerners who are sincere in wishing for what the best is for Chinese society. However, much of the anxiety really stems from zeal and intolerance for any other way. In that light, I am countering Pei and Fallows’ assertions.
Unlike many of the bloggers here, I’m not a big fan of Eric X. Li’s writing and speeches from what I have so far seen and heard. I disagree with what he has said as they are either irrelevant, confused, contradictory or a strawman. I think I have expressed why I felt this way in the comments section of the latest blog on Li but there still seems to be some misunderstanding between Allen’s interpretation of Eric and myself.
Here I’d like to give a more detailed explanation of why I didn’t think Eric’s interview was that interesting or even helpful to bettering understanding between China and the west. I did agree on some things but found myself disagreeing far more often. I do not believe that Eric’s view represent much of what the Chinese government’s views which I think are primarily very sound. It’s a shame that people may misconstrue Eric’s views as a defense of China’s view because they are quite different.
As regular readers of this blog may know, we are fans of Eric X. Li. In this video below at the Aspen Institute, Anand Giridharadas (of NYT) interviewed him in front of a live audience. As Giridharadas said at the introduction, Eric indeed shakes the foundation of prevailing Western views present in the room. I especially liked his confident and forthright answers to a shaken audience towards the end. Eric characterized the Western peddling of values with universality – (in my view, a form of intolerance, really) – and the Chinese non-interference and acceptance of each culture’s values is in fact pluralism – IS SPOT ON. The video is a bit over an hour, but we highly recommend it.
This Op-Ed just published at the NYT from venture capitalist, Eric X Li, “Why China’s Political Model Is Superior” is a must read. Especially to the Western audience bought into democracy as a “faith” will find this opinion unsettling. And it is particularly unsettling because the West is full of doubts these days. Continue reading Eric X Li: “Why China’s Political Model Is Superior”
Eric X. Li had a wonderful op-ed in the NY Times. I really don’t know how he got a piece through, especially since all mine have been rejected. Anyways, hats off to him! Here is his op-ed, with some of my thoughts scribbled throughout. Continue reading Eric X. Li’s “Counterpoint” Op-Ed in the New York Times – Debunking Myths About China