Jiang Qing and Daniel Bell’s op-ed in the New York Times attracted a great deal of interest. Bell published another op-ed in the Christian Science Monitor a couple of days ago on the broader subject of meritocracy. This can illustrate how he differs from Jiang. I’m assuming he didn’t choose the headline (“What America’s flawed democracy could learn from China’s one-party rule”). The comments are also quite interesting.
I agree that the “comments are…interesting,” in that nearly every one is remarkably simple-minded and nasty! I certainly would acknowledge that some degree of breathless naiveté comes across in Daniel’s piece: he’s presenting a side of China that most people in the US don’t hear about, but it’s only one side, and he doesn’t acknowledge that. The comment about princelings is, in my view, certainly apt (though it, too, is only one side of the complex reality of China). It is unfortunately easy to see, in many of the comments, a reflection of the extreme polarization of US political discourse (i.e., saying anything good about the “totalitarians” in China means you’re a liberal, socialist, Obama-lover, and thus must be ruthless criticized!).
Yes, that’s pretty much what I meant. I’m not sure if the idea that China might be superior to the US in some ways is so polarizing or whether anything that criticizes the US political system would be met with the same vitriol and ad hominem attacks. Something obviously touched a nerve.