Musk tweets arouse Sino-US system efficiency debate

By Su Tan Source:Global Times Published: 2018/3/1 22:53:40

China's speed of development recently astonished Elon Musk, an entrepreneur who sent a Tesla roadster into space on February 6.

Musk Tuesday posted on Twitter an article from The Independent that reported how 1,500 Chinese workers joined three existing railways in nine hours in the city of Longyan, East China's Fujian Province. "China's progress in advanced infrastructure is more than 100 times faster than the US," he posted, adding that "we are even worse than that in California" and New York. With much soul-searching, he attributed the root cause of inefficient US infrastructure development to "an exponential growth in bureaucracy & a self-serving private sector consultant industry earning a % on project cost."

His tweets were liked by tens of thousands of followers. However, not all people think as he did. Under Musk's tweets some blustered that China's speed of this kind resulted from human rights violations and its peculiar political system that benefits the Communist Party of China (CPC) members and pushes laborers to work to death.

These complainers are right about one thing: China's speedy infrastructure construction has much bearing on the Chinese political system: an efficient one. There is indeed corrupt behavior involved in infrastructure projects.

But the Party has been making relentless efforts since the 18th CPC National Congress in November 2012 to exterminate corruption in a bid to maintain efficiency. The communiqué of the just-concluded Third Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee also called for further reform efforts to improve efficiency and effectiveness for national development.

Calling Chinese workers' efficiency and diligence a human rights concern is actually nonsensical. Hundreds of thousands of workers, including those in infrastructure construction, have seen significant increases in their income through their hard work in the past decades and they also benefit from their work by using the facilities.

It is poor governance that has brought about slow development in the US. Washington is now mired too much in political wrangling, confrontation and strife to carry out large infrastructure projects. Although President Donald Trump promised a huge infrastructure agenda of up to $1.5 trillion, he won't achieve it without institutional reforms.

Musk's comments actually bring out the essential issue of China-US competition. Many people have not realized that the two major powers are competing in terms of efficiency and fairness.

While China used to realize its gap with the US when the latter performed outstandingly in many aspects, it now increasingly figures out what to do from problems haunting the US. Those who still have stereotypes about China need to wake up and catch up.

Posted in: OBSERVER

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