A look at China's 'political meritocracy'

Article Highlights

  • In a one-party state, those at the top get to define “merit” and “virtue.”

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  • Continued political oppression is, in fact, evidence of a very insecure CCP—a CCP whose primary interest is its own survival

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  • Yes, democracy is a flawed political system. But Chinese meritocracy is an ugly one.

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Can the democratic United States draw lessons from one-party China to improve the American political system? Yes, says Tsinghua University professor Daniel A. Bell, writing for The Christian Science Monitor. Put simply, his argument is that (a) “political meritocracy” is in many ways a superior system to liberal democracy; (b) the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which runs the Chinese government, is a meritocratic system; and (c) by the transitive property, China’s political system is in many ways superior to America’s. “Democracy is a flawed political system,” Bell writes, “and meritocracy can help to remedy some of its flaws.”

While Bell is unfair, I would argue, in comparing his ideal of meritocracy to real-world democracy (which he disdains as “one dollar, one vote”), I will leave theoretical arguments about the relative merits of each system to political scientists. Bell’s positive characterization of the Chinese system, however, deserves closer inspection.

Read the full article on American.com.

Michael Mazza is a research fellow at AEI.

 

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About the Author

 

Michael
Mazza
  • Currently the program manager for AEI's annual Executive Program on National Security Policy and Strategy, Michael Mazza has studied and lived in China. At AEI, Mr. Mazza studies defense policy in the Asia-Pacific, as well as Chinese military modernization, cross-Strait relations, and security on the Korean peninsula. He also writes regularly for AEI's Center for Defense Studies blog. In his previous capacity as a research assistant in AEI's Foreign and Defense Policy Studies department, Mr. Mazza contributed to studies on American strategy in Asia and on Taiwanese defense strategy. He is a 2010-2011 Foreign Policy Initiative Future Leader.
  • Phone: 202-828-6027
    Email: michael.mazza@aei.org

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