Day By Day

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fukuyama on China's "Bad Emperor" Problem

Francis Fukuyama has an interesting take on the current Chinese leadership and their response to the challenge of Bo Xilai over at "The American Interest". He argues that in a culture that lacks a democratic tradition the greatest threat to the welfare of the people is the emergence of a "bad emperor" -- an authoritarian figure such as Mao who can substitute a cult of personality for traditional modes of governance and can use the resulting personal power to institute erratic and disastrous policies. Bo Xilai, who was building an independent power base, was just such a figure and therefore had to be removed.

I was particularly interested to note the extreme divergence between elite perceptions of Mao [he was a disaster for China] and the positive popular view of him promoted by the Communist leadership. Fukuyama sees in this a host of problems as a new generation with no experience of Mao's rule emerges. I agree.

Read the whole thing here.

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