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THE CHINA MODEL: WAY AHEAD FOR PAKISTAN

  • Dr Saad S. Khan
  • Dec, 2017
  • 85
  • Regional

Xi’s slogan of “Chinese Dream” puts emphasis on individual and national aspirations of Chinese people. Sadly, there is, as yet, nothing called a “Pakistani Dream”.

Addressing the 19th session of the China’s People’s Congress last month, President Xi Jinping of China, formally declared China to be a world power heralding a new bipolar world order. The visit of President Trump to China in the most important leg of his Asia tour is a tacit recognition by Washington DC of the unpalatable reality that China is their main rival for global leadership now. This is the same Communist China that the United States had for decades refused to recognize as a State. With the US backing, the small island of Taiwan used to wield the Veto Power in the United Nations Security Council well until the seventies. Today, the President of United States dare not touch the Taipei airport in his Asia tour for fear of offending China. It was not Xi Jinping’s announcement alone that would lead the world to appreciate the reality that world has again become bipolar, but the implicit acceptance by the United States, that will do the trick.

Mr Xi has asked the world to follow the Chinese model of development. This model, in Xi’s own words, includes “economic reforms, rule of law and strengthening of institutions”. For Pakistan which lacks all three elements, one must hasten to add, it is a sane advice from a long term neighbor and time tested friend.

Xi’s slogan of “Chinese Dream” puts emphasis on individual and national aspirations of Chinese people. Sadly, there is, as yet, nothing called a “Pakistani Dream”. No leader since Quaid had a vision. And our nation ceased dreaming! What we need is a Dream and a leadership that would lead us to realize that dream. At the very least, giving serious consideration to Xi’s call for adopting the “China Model” must be our preferred option.

Before discussing what is the Chinese Model and how it is relevant to Pakistan, one may try to understand the man who is leading with that vision: Xi Jinping. Earlier this year, the Economist magazine declared Xi to be the most powerful man on the planet. Truly so, there are so many checks and balances over the US President that he can only marvel at or envy the position enjoyed by his counterpart in Beijing.

But Xi is going much ahead of the existing constitutional niceties regarding the role of his office. The personality cult being developed around his person is unparalleled even if compared to Chairman Mao. After Mao, Xi became the second living President to have his thoughts inserted into the Constitution by name. But that is not all. His personality cult includes books, cartoons, songs and even dance routines composed to reflect his thoughts and ideas. If nothing else, Mao could not have had a Mobile app about is thoughts. There is one to study Xi’s thoughts though, called Xu Exi Zhongguo

In a marked departure from the post-Mao tradition, Mr Xi has no obvious successor—Vice President of China—so to speak. Every Chinese President used to have a Vice President being groomed to succeed him after his customary two terms in office. Xi himself was Vice President under his predecessor and boss Hu Jintao. In fact, during his own first term in office (2012-17), Xi had a Vice President too. But when the nineteenth five yearly party congress elected Mr. Xi for the expected second term last month, among the many faces dropped from the line up in the new Polit Bureau of CPC, the face—and the position—of the Vice President was done away with. Is it that President Xi has ambitions to break with the tradition of restricting presidential terms to two? At age 64, Xi is fairly young in a world of increasing life expectancies.

One can have a debate on the undesirability of the concept of personality cult, i.e. emphasizing a person over the system or considering an individual to be indispensable. Yet there can hardly be a second opinion about the “China Model” that, broadly speaking, has delivered. Gone are the days of “Washington Consensus” (coupling multi party electoral system with capitalist free market economy) being the sole mantra for progress. The so-called “Beijing Consensus” of quasi authoritarian rule, centrally planned economy and focus on institutional strength is a bigger challenge to the Western ideology than Marxism had been throughout the Cold War era. Pakistan’s salvation, one may argue, where democracy has already degenerated into kleptocracy with no hope in sight, may lie in following the China Model

The Cambridge Scholar, Stefan Halper in his 2012 book, The Beijing Consensus: How China's Authoritarian Model Will Dominate the Twenty-First Century not only explains what Beijing consensus...

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