To start, it is appropriate and even revealing for a Western audience to mention a few famous stories involving government members, well known in communist China, hereafter termed as China.
Mr. Li Peng, a former premier of China, in his writings told of repeated warnings from his mother to be "careful of dogs", when visiting her at home.
Mr. Zhu Rongji, another former Chinese leader, when viewing a bridge crossing a lake in Hunan province, was heard to remark that the bridge was "too narrow, not tall enough - some boats could not travel under it, too expensive, and let's forget about it".
While visiting a local community, which was attempting to put on a fake show of prosperity, he asked the local officials "why the same herd of cows were going around back and forth?"
Even in the present day, Mr. Wen, the current premier of China, when making suggestions to the communist leadership on how to achieve higher moral ground and revive Chinese cultural values, has been met with cold shoulders and ignored by local kings, who it seems, have no concept of such important matters.
This is problematic as China's central will in Beijing is being challenged, perhaps due to its lack of legitimacy.
Having visited China in the last two decades or so and having met some Chinese local officials and civilians, I noted that when talking to them, many of them held little esteem for the Communist Party.
Deng Xiaoping once said that the Chinese Communist Party has two factions within it, necessary for the balance of power and thus, China does not need two parties. This may have been a little idealistic and optimistic, and may have been suitable at that time and stage, but it is a different era now.
The Economic Front
It has been questioned by many, both inside and outside of China, that the vast amount of foreign exchange reserves held by the government do not seem to have benefited the Chinese people in general, except perhaps only for a few privileged classes.
If not handled properly, an overheating economy, and the bursting of an assets bubble will probably bring China's economy into trouble in the short term. This does not even include international trade imbalances and currency revaluation problems, which compound internal demand for serious reforms from local to central levels. Domestic negotiations with the central government have only bought time, and even though the pace of reform is quickening, time is running out.
In short, China should pay a lot more attention to the well being of its own people in general, instead of the old way of letting a few get rich quickly which has gone on for the last twenty years or so. It's time to give all Chinese the chance to be well off now.
In such a process, the problems of trade imbalances and currency revaluation will likely be resolved more smoothly than alternative financial "shock therapy", which, Mr. Zhou, the president of China's central bank, is very aware of and has tried to avoid.
The Military Front
The Communist Party has always believed in the concept that political power comes from guns - and that attitude perhaps has not changed. This is a very different concept from the West, where civilians rule and the military assists and cooperates.
If such an idea is applied to the world stage, as China may consider, a very dangerous situation could ensue. Continued Chinese militarization could have wide repercussions throughout East Asia, possibly encouraging the consolidation and formation of a NATO type defense organization.
Recent reports showed that the US Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense, the soft and hard US diplomatic arms, are on the same page, hoping that China will go in the direction of civilian rule. The US wishes to cooperate with China in that fashion, thus, normalizing US-China relations.
As things stand, the US and Chinese Presidents are set to meet soon. Many are hoping that things will be worked out for everyone's sake; nevertheless, not many fingers are crossed.
Dr. Ting-Shiang Lee is an international affairs blogger and holds a doctorate in Engineering Science from Columbia University. His posts can be viewed at: http://transpacificthinktanks.blogspot.com/
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