Since the 1980s China has opened its doors to the rest of the World. Even if not completely. Thirty years later, it has become the second biggest economy, after the U.S., with predictions to overtake America in the near future …
China is now on the path to becoming a world leader in many innovative technologies. From robotics to AI, from electric cars to mobile phones. And more than ever, its political leaders are playing a role in certain global issues, such as climate change and the Belt and Road initiative. With the opening of the 19th congress of the Communist Party of China, the leader Xi Jinping, said it is ‘time for China to take centre stage’.
But as China becomes globally more powerful, so does its political system, seen as a guarantor of wealth and stability. With western democracies presently struggling over their internal flaws, including inequalities and mass migrations, which they seem unable to solve, they are naturally beginning to question the efficiency of their political system and to look to China as a new model. The ‘Chinese way’ is growing in popularity. Especially after the economic crisis of 2008. In fact, every failures of the west, is a symbolic ‘victory’ for China. It shows that democracy is not readily equipped at tackling the challenges of the modern world or that you need to live in a western-style government to have a stable and well-off middle class.
However, China is far from being an ideal society, let alone one with the right political structure. Air pollution, growing inequalities, water shortages, ethnic and cultural divisions, are just some of its problems. But most importantly, the country is ruled by an authoritarian regime, and with Xi Jinping, that control is stricter than ever.
Some people may initially be attracted by the chance to make a lot of money in China. But is that something worth trading your freedom for? Maybe for some, it is. Still, being on the opposing side of democracy the Chinese way cannot be a cultural brand to export worldwide.
All in all, even if the west is facing problems of governance, China is not in a better position. Democracy still represents the best solution available. Imperfect, for sure, but the only one nonetheless that has long-term viability. As Winston Churchill once said:
‘democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others’.