‘Ideological spectrum’ misreads local reality

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-4-15 0:43:01

Two students from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created a "China's Ideological Spectrum," which covers 29 provinces, cities and autonomous regions in China, labeling them as "liberal" (right), "conservative" (left) and "neutral." They argue that a certain unification of politics, economy, society and culture exists in Chinese values, claiming that coastal areas with higher levels of economic development are mostly liberal regions, while the majority of individuals in the less developed provinces and cities in the central and western areas are conservative.

This essay was based on data from the online bulletin of a Beijing-based university, where most of its messages are anonymous. The crude data in the report is far from reaching the academic standards of Harvard or MIT. We can't help but suspect that its publishing has been specially "customized" for certain political ends. 

The report was translated into Chinese and circulated on the Internet in no time. Some liberals even extended the reports by claiming "the poorer, the more leftist, the more leftist, the poorer."

Any conclusion of a report with a pre-defined stance is bound to be absurd. Regional differentiation has never been a dominant factor in Chinese ideology, and there is no solid link between economic development and ideology.

"China's Ideological Spectrum" has created a spurious impression of an "ideological gap" among different regions in China, which gravely contravenes both common sense and practical experience. China is led by the Chinese Communist Party and China's political system is highly effective in the Chinese mainland with no region held as an exception. And there is no concentrated area for so-called "leftist" or "rightist" groups in China.

China's reform and opening-up policies were first introduced in coastal areas, and are gradually heading further inland. This strategy was made by the Party and has been implemented well for decades. Reform and opening up is one of the core strategies of pursuing socialism with Chinese characteristics, and is not aimed at leading China toward a change in political system. Economic and social reforms have nothing to do with the goal of "liberalism" in public opinion.

Some inland regions are one step behind coastal areas in reform and opening-up, but it is not caused by ideology, but by the limits of reality. There are "ultra-liberal" and "ultra-conservative" public figures everywhere, and they have nothing to do with the ideological battle between "left" and "right."

Foreign fallacies have constantly penetrated Chinese public opinion. These fallacies, which were disseminated under the cover of prestigious Western academic institutions or media, have proved deceptive. Domestic Chinese scholars as well as the media should spare no effort to expose them so as to the set the record straight. 

Posted in: Editorial

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