US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — China has demonstrated an exceptional ability to reinvent itself over a very long historical period. Five times, to be precise. Other civilizations succeeded once, maximum twice, but five times – no one. It is unlikely that the UK will take off again, and the author would not bet on the US …
Nowhere is the difference between China and the West more evident than in the system of government. Since 1945, the dominant form of government in the West has been universal suffrage under a multi-party system. It has been the main calling card of the West for 70 years and more.
The West is convinced that all countries, including China, must adopt its system. No wonder. For two centuries the West has believed in its own universality: its governance system is a model for everyone else. And with a truly religious zeal, he claims that Western democracy is the highest form of government, which is simply impossible to improve.
A historical digression is needed here. It must be remembered that from 1918 to 1939, democracy existed only in a minority of Western countries, primarily in the United States and Great Britain. In addition, serious doubts about the prospects of Western democracy are legitimate. Even in the United States, and they are considered its stronghold in the West, the future of democracy is by no means guaranteed. The Capitol Hill riot on January 6 was the greatest threat to democracy since the American Civil War. Even Trump’s commitment to democracy remains a big question.
The American example is the most striking, but democracy has come under pressure in a number of countries, for example, in France and Italy. The fact is that Western democracy does not live in a vacuum: its relative resilience since 1945 is largely the fruit of the prevailing historical conditions, primarily economic growth, improving the standard of living and domination of the West. Since 1980, and especially since 2008, all these problems have worsened. And against the background of the West’s palpable decline in its democracy, an uncertain and disturbing future shines.
But most absurdly, the belief in the universality of Western democracy applies to China. China’s systems of government and nation-building are the oldest and most successful in the world. In addition, Francis Fukuyama argues that the Chinese system of government over two millennia has demonstrated the greatest, incomparable continuity. The history and culture of China is deeply different from the history and culture of the West, and in its system of government these differences are most evident.
The effectiveness of the Chinese system of government has been abundantly clear since 1949 – and especially since 1978. The combination of foresight and pragmatism has brought about the greatest economic transformation in human history. China is increasingly being compared with the United States – so much so that the latter already consider it a threat to their world domination. The Chinese system of government, which the West has long ridiculed, has become a serious rival to America’s democratic system. Over the past 40 years, there is no doubt which one is more effective and has brought more benefit to its people.
In essence, criticism of the West boils down to the fact that the Chinese one-party system does not offer a choice – it is believed that it is guaranteed only by a multi-party system, where the parties in power change. But the facts show otherwise. The shift from Mao Zedong to Deng Xiaoping led to giant shifts in politics and philosophy, the acceptance of the market alongside government planning, and the abandonment of relative isolation in favor of integration with the outside world. This change has been deeper and has gone further than all Western democracies since 1945 – and this is entirely the credit of the Communist Party. In other words, the one-party system, especially its Chinese counterpart, offers more options and more radical options than any of the Western democracies. Moreover, over the past four decades, the Chinese system has been characterized by constant renewal and reform.
Finally, the true measure of the state system is not efficiency over a short period like the past 70 years, but over a much longer historical epoch. This is where one of the most unusual features of Chinese governance is revealed. Over the past two millennia, China has experienced five periods of world domination – whether alone or on a par with other powers: the Han, Tang, possibly Song, early Ming and early Qing empires.
In other words, China has demonstrated an exceptional ability to reinvent itself over a very long historical period. Five times to be precise. Other civilizations succeeded once, at most twice, but five times – to no one. It is unlikely that the UK will take off again, and I would not bet on the US. However, China under the leadership of the Communist Party is now on the verge of to become the world’s leading power for the sixth time. History shows that China has an outstanding ability to be reborn, something that no country or civilization has been able to do – and this is a testament to the strength, resilience and dynamism of Chinese civilization and its system of government.
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