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Wednesday, June 12, 2024


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Graham Perry
Graham Perry
Experienced Arbitration Lawyer | China & Chinese Business Affairs | Public Speaker/Lecturer.


The West’s mindset re China is flawed + leads to fundamental misinterpretations of China’s policy on issues generally. Accessing the Chinese mindset is not difficult because it is in writing + available. The problem for the West is that they do not study what China writes +, instead, quickly fit the policy headlines into its pre-determined anti-China narrative. The opportunity is always lost.

In 1979 China’s priority was achieving prosperity for the people who were disillusioned by the diet of constant politics that came from the Gang of Four. Deng was at the helm + used his Two Cats comment to make clear to the country that economic growth was the #1 priority. His policy was successful – 1bn people lifted out of poverty and 140m Chinese travelled abroad on cruises and the like.

Prosperity came at a cost – which was no surprise to the Party leadership. Amongst the better housing, improved clothing and advances in roads +railways the Deng policy had some predictable negative consequences – wage differentials widened, individual corruption increased, white collar crime increased. Matters came to a peak when some of the Billionaires overreached themselves + challenged the Party’s leading role.

The timing of the corrective was crucial. Too soon + it would interrupt the essential economic growth. Too late + power would switch from the Party to the Billionaires. China wanted Billionaires but on the Party’s terms + not the Billionaires. So now the tax crimes of famous stars are being publicised; Jack Ma and Ant are in retreat; corrupt leaders continue to be punished; and the social ills associated with capitalism + rampant growth are being exposed.

China remains on a steady path but the West sees it differently – and wrongly – as a series of policy lurches determined by which particular name is in the political ascendancy in Beijing. We are served poorly by the quality of writings of the West’s Experts on China.

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