- The assumption that Chinese political authority speaks with a single voice. China is a continent-sized country, and its enormous, parallel hierarchies of Party and state are not the perfect transmission lines that run from Beijing down to every village that some people imagine. There’s a lot that goes on at the sub-provincial level that has little or nothing to do with the Party line from on high. Even within the Party there are a wide range of viewpoints on the burning questions of the day, to include issues of personal freedoms. But there’s this persistent notion that any time someone’s rights are violated in a small town thousands of kilometers from Beijing, the order must have somehow come down fromHu Jintao himself.
- The myth of continuity. When someone like Jack Caffertyon CNN calls the Chinese leadership “the same goons and thugs they were 50 years ago,” he’s simply wrong. China underwent a momentous, revolutionary change 30 years ago when Deng Xiaoping inaugurated his reforms deliberately reshaping the leadership to create one of the most thoroughly technocratic regimes the world has ever seen.Jiang Zemin, his successor, continued to change the very nature of the leadership by embracing capitalists and entrepreneurs–the “most advanced forces of production”–who had had been excluded previously. And now the leadership under President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have shifted emphasis and are addressing many of the excesses of earlier freewheeling market-led development.
More at Shel Israel’s weblog.
The interview is part of the preparation for the China2.0 tour where US-based internet gurus come to meet their counterparts in China, later this year. The tour is organized by the China Business Network and will pass by in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.