Western liberal democracy would be wrong for China

Under the Chinese model of government, China has risen far further and faster than it ever would have done under western liberal democracy

Wednesday 7 November 2012, 7.41pm | Video now online

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People everywhere are better off living in liberal democracy: that has been the reigning assumption of the western world. But could it be we’ve got it wrong? If you were one of the world’s billions of poor peasants might you not be better off under a system dedicated to political stability and economic growth – one that has lifted 400 million out of poverty – rather than one preoccupied with human rights, the rule of law, and the chance to vote out unpopular rulers? Thanks to the Chinese model of government life expectancy in Shanghai is now higher than in New York.

So is China better off without democracy? Or is that just the age-old mantra of the tyrant? That’s the clash of civilisations that played out on November 7th.



Speakers for the motion

Martin JacquesMartin Jacques

Author of When China Rules the World, visiting senior research fellow at the London School of Economics, and visiting professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing

Zhang WeiweiZhang Weiwei

Senior Fellow at the Chunqiu Institute, author of The China Wave: the Rise of a Civilizational State, and former translator to Deng Xiaoping


Speakers against the motion

Anson ChanAnson Chan

Former Chief Secretary of Hong Kong and campaigner for democracy


Jonathan Mirsky

Historian of China, and former China correspondent for The Observer and East Asia editor of The Times



Ngaire Woods

Ngaire Woods

Inaugural Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government and Professor of Global Economic Governance at Oxford University