Academic on how to manage China

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, December 8, 2013
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American academic Kenneth Lieberthal has stated China is "facing big challenges when trying to realize its Chinese Dream" during the International Dialogue on the Chinese Dream Saturday in Shanghai.

"President Xi Jinping raised the idea of Chinese Dream one year ago," said Lieberthal, a senior researcher of the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution, "In the past 150 years, Chinese people have harbored the dream of realizing China's renaissance. To understand this dream, we need to look at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee."

According to Lieberthal, the decisions of the Third Plenary Session cover six aspects, all major parts of the Chinese Dream.

"The first is a fairer distribution of economic development interests, which will narrow the gap between urban and rural areas," he said, "The second is to establish a society of ecological to resolve deteriorating environmental problems; the third is to change China's development model in order to boost consumption and development of innovative and efficient economy."

He continued, "The fourth is to strengthen the abilities of China's governmental departments to provide the necessary social services for meeting the challenges in the next two decades -- such as the aging population; the fifth is to reduce government intervention in the market so that the market will have a decisive function in resources distribution by 2020; and the sixth is to maintain domestic social stability."

Lieberthal then added China would continue to strengthen its ruling system while improving the social management abilities.

He counted four major challenges for China, one of them being how to transform the population structure. "There will be big challenges when China will come from the fact that nowadays five working people support a dozen non-workers, to the fact that only two have to support all others in the future. The rapid population transform is unprecedented in history. Though China has achieved huge progress in economic terms, it is not a rich country for people by the average standard."

"The second change is the shortage of resources. In my opinion, the biggest shortage for China is its available water," he said, "Comparing with international standards, China lacks everything per person -- except for coal."

Lieberthal also pointed out China is currently undergoing the information technology revolution. This revolution brings about rapid change, which will in turn contain inevitable uncertainties for the ruling class and State administration.

"The fourth is that China is the only country that is experiencing the fastest, largest urbanization and marketization in the world all at the same time. All the changes and innovation will create unstable factors and tense pressure," he said, "In history, we have never seen any country experience so many significant changes ever. I so do admire China for the fact that when you realize what you must do, you will actively do it."

Lieberthal pointed out that with change and the speed of change, people may not necessarily agree with the same set social morals and values. "This is a very important part of Chinese civilization, but many Chinese friends are worried about what the social moral now is in China."

He added, "For many foreigners, the plenary session is just a meeting about economy, but not about politics because it doesn't talk much about political reform. I don't agree. I don't want to talk about whether China shall realize a multi-party system. China's Communist Party is involved in governing and running the economy, including academic discussions and policy making. This [kind of] depth and width of the Party's role has never existed in western countries. But if China really wants to realize the next reform, the Party and the government will also have to undergo some reform, further fight corruption and change bureaucracy. "

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