Democracy is the ultimate solution to many of Beijing’s problems, argues Zheng Wang, the Director of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at Seton Hall University a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
The recent trouble in Hong Kong regarding the election of Hong Kong’s chief executive provides a good opportunity for the leadership in Beijing to reevaluate its policy towards political reform and democracy, he writes for The Diplomat:
Beyond internal change, democracy could also be a solution to some of China’s foreign policy troubles. One major problem is China’s neighbors do not trust Beijing and harbor deep suspicion towards China’s intentions and foreign policy aims. The smaller nations in East and Southeast Asia find it difficult to deal with a rising giant that has a major lack of transparency in both its policy making and the operation of the government.
There have been discussions in China about whether Xi should be China’s new Mao or “second Deng”; “China’s Putin” or the Chinese version of Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, Wang notes:
But the best role model Xi can take is that of Taiwan’s Chiang Ching-kuo. In the late 1970s, when the Nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) government was still very powerful and possessed many political resources, Chiang made the brave and visionary move to start political reform. He removed restrictions on the formation of political parties, and endorsed freedom of the press. This process is known as Taiwan’s “quiet revolution,” a non-violent movement that transformed Taiwan from a dictatorship to a democracy.
A New Era of U.S.-China Relations? House Foreign Affairs Committee Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee September 17