Monday, July 25, 2011

China's Flawed Case For One-Party Rule

In democracies, leaders who make bad and even disastrous decisions are punished at the ballot box.

Robert Lawrence Kuhn, an international investment banker, biographer, corporate strategist and paid advisor to the Chinese government, is the face of China's PR campaign for the Chinese Communist Party's (CPC) 90th anniversary. The publication of his China Daily article "China 'best served'' with CPC at the helm" as two-page advertising supplements in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal shows China's desire to legitimize itself in the eyes of the international community.

Kuhn is not the only advocate of Chinese-style one-party rule. Among those joining him are New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman and investor-philanthropist George Soros. Both praise the CPC's sound and timely decision making. Some scholars also argue that "benevolent" one-party rule is better for poor countries that cannot afford "messy" democracies at early stages of development. They point to contemporary China, South Korea and Taiwan in their early years as cases in point. (Both South Korea and Taiwan transitioned to democracy within two decades. The CPC has exercised one-party rule for more than a half century with no end in sight.)

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