Western elite view of China’s governance wrong

By Li Qingqing Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/24 21:43:41

Photo: VCG

US political scientist Francis Fukuyama published an article headlined "What Kind of Regime Does China Have?" in The American Interest magazine on May 18. In the article, Fukuyama used nearly 4,000 words to describe China's so-called totalitarianism and even discussed how China should change - return to "being a more normal authoritarian country," or "on its way to being a liberal country."

Fukuyama's view represents the way many US and Western elites view China. On the one hand, they are concerned about the success of China's model and they always tend to have a critical attitude toward the Chinese system. On the other, they aim at changing the Chinese system and turning China into a so-called liberal and democratic country in the Western sense. When they find they cannot change China and China is developing rapidly with its own model, they fall into a collective anxiety and thus regard China as an ideological enemy.

This shows the US elites' arrogance in the Western liberal democracy system. But the rise of China's model, the US failure of transplanting so-called democracy into Iraq, Afghanistan and many other countries and the decline of the West have all proven that liberal democracy will not be "the end of history." Nor did a complete Westernization happen after the end of the Cold War in 1989. The COVID-19 pandemic has also exposed deep flaws in the Western system.

However, for some US elites, their sense of the Western system's superiority is deep-rooted. Fukuyama, for example, admitted China's achievements in the COVID-19 fight and yet he treated these achievements and China's system separately. This also represents the general attitude of the US elites: China's achievements are not institutional victories. Even though the numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in the US are the highest in the world, some US elites are still unwilling to admit that "liberal democracy" did not effectively help their country in fighting the COVID-19 epidemic.

The US elites still use their stereotype to view the Chinese model. However, they cannot ignore the obviously different results in China's and some Western countries' COVID-19 fights. Fukuyama experienced the peak of liberalism and proposed "the end of history." Now more than three decades have passed and the evolution of history has made this theory even less convincing. However, some Western scholars are still trying hard to justify their concept of "universal values".

Fukuyama has always brought up the phrase "state capacity" - a state's ability to plan and execute policies and to enforce laws cleanly and transparently. China's achievements in its COVID-19 fight are a comprehensive manifestation of its state capacity. In fact, some democratic countries have controlled the epidemic as well, such as South Korea. What the US needs to do is to improve its "state capacity" in dealing with the COVID-19 instead of simply immersing itself in the illusory satisfaction of its political system. 


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