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Daily Productive Sharing 375 - Dan Wang's Observation About China in 2020

Daily Productive Sharing 375 - Dan Wang's Observation About China in 2020
Photo by William Zhang / Unsplash

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(下附中文版)

#Misc

This is Dan Wang's annual summary of 2020, and like the annual summary for 2021, he focused on the observations about China.

About the party:

  1. This year, I read every issue of Qiushi (translation: Seeking Truth), the party’s flagship theory journal, whose core task is to spell out the evolving idea of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
  2. Propaganda might not matter to you, but it matters to the party. Anne-Marie Brady has pointed out that the leadership considers propaganda to be the “lifeblood” of the party state.
  3. For the most part, the party’s role can be boiled down to two items: inspiration, by setting the ideological direction, and control, through its power to select personnel.
  4. Some of it however can be absurd: I’m skeptical that anyone can readily explain the nuances between “rule of law,” “socialist rule of law,” and “socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics.”
  5. Daniel Koss reminds us that the longer that revolutionary parties have to struggle before consolidating power, the stronger their ideological commitments and the greater their governance durability tend to be.

About the pandemic:

  1. Some of these masks had problems early on, but the manufacturers learned and fixed them or were culled by regulatory action, and China’s exports were able to grow when no one else could restart production. Soon enough, masks were big enough to be seen in the export data.
  2. Francis Fukuyama states that high-trust societies have “spontaneous sociability,” in which people are able to organize more quickly, initiate action, and sacrifice for the common good. On each of these metrics, I submit that China should receive high marks.
  3. Even though the government has every reason to be confident about the effectiveness of its virus containment, it has issued a jail sentence to a citizen journalist under the catch-all charge of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” For all the emphasis on seeking truth from facts, the state still maintains this practice of shooting the messenger or jailing its critics.
  4. Not only has the government ramped up censorship, society as a whole is developing greater intolerance for dissenting ideas.

About economy and Sina-US relationship:

  1. As a society grows rich, its problems become social: an organizational sclerosis, which no technology is sophisticated enough to solve.
  2. The US responded to the rise of the USSR and Japan by focusing on innovation; it’s early days, but so far the US is responding to the technological rise of China by kneecapping its leading firms.
  3. US restrictions are setting back Chinese companies in the short term, but I think it’s unlikely they can crush the broader effort to catch up. No country has monopolized a key technology forever: instead, the history of technology has mostly been a history of diffusion.
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这是 Dan Wang 于2020年底写的年度总结,就像2021年的年度总结一样,他花了很大篇幅记述了他对中国的观察。

关于政党的观察:

  1. This year, I read every issue of Qiushi (translation: Seeking Truth), the party’s flagship theory journal, whose core task is to spell out the evolving idea of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
  2. Propaganda might not matter to you, but it matters to the party. Anne-Marie Brady has pointed out that the leadership considers propaganda to be the “lifeblood” of the party state.
  3. For the most part, the party’s role can be boiled down to two items: inspiration, by setting the ideological direction, and control, through its power to select personnel.
  4. Some of it however can be absurd: I’m skeptical that anyone can readily explain the nuances between “rule of law,” “socialist rule of law,” and “socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics.”
  5. Daniel Koss reminds us that the longer that revolutionary parties have to struggle before consolidating power, the stronger their ideological commitments and the greater their governance durability tend to be.

关于疫情的观察:

  1. Some of these masks had problems early on, but the manufacturers learned and fixed them or were culled by regulatory action, and China’s exports were able to grow when no one else could restart production. Soon enough, masks were big enough to be seen in the export data.
  2. Francis Fukuyama states that high-trust societies have “spontaneous sociability,” in which people are able to organize more quickly, initiate action, and sacrifice for the common good. On each of these metrics, I submit that China should receive high marks.
  3. Even though the government has every reason to be confident about the effectiveness of its virus containment, it has issued a jail sentence to a citizen journalist under the catch-all charge of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” For all the emphasis on seeking truth from facts, the state still maintains this practice of shooting the messenger or jailing its critics.
  4. Not only has the government ramped up censorship, society as a whole is developing greater intolerance for dissenting ideas.

关于经济以及中美关系的观察:

  1. As a society grows rich, its problems become social: an organizational sclerosis, which no technology is sophisticated enough to solve.
  2. The US responded to the rise of the USSR and Japan by focusing on innovation; it’s early days, but so far the US is responding to the technological rise of China by kneecapping its leading firms.
  3. US restrictions are setting back Chinese companies in the short term, but I think it’s unlikely they can crush the broader effort to catch up. No country has monopolized a key technology forever: instead, the history of technology has mostly been a history of diffusion.

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