While China proclaims itself to be the world’s largest communist country, it is more capitalistic in its political and decision-making processes than most capitalist countries. Corporations, as near ideal capitalist organizations, function in such a way that they solely pursue their economic interests, unlike many individual or family owned business that often reflect the emotional and social concerns of their owners.
In many respects, the Chinese government sets policies and makes political decisions like a CEO and board of investors would. Despite the fact the role of the US president has been described as America’s CEO, the US government always acts far more in step with the emotional and social concerns of Americans than what is most in our Country’s economic interests; whereas, the Chinese government acts without regard to the emotional and human social needs of the Chinese People, i.e. what they want.
The capitalistic nature of China is illustrated particularly well by the manner in which the Chinese government treats Hong Kong. Unlike mainland China where people are accustomed to the central and local governments doing what they see as most efficient, and/or what is in the interests of public officials, without any meaningful input from their customers, i.e. the Chinese People, the People of Hong Kong have been democratized.
With the People of Hong Kong believing government exists to serve the People and that requires the uncensored input of the People, China must either give these territories full autonomy or risk the spread of their democratic thinking in the spotlight of China taking their rights away. In order to maintain the economic stability for its territory by forcing candidates to be vetted by China’s 1200 member election committee, Beijing has decided truly democratic elections cannot exist in Hong Kong. This latest decision is, of course, built on China’s very corporate justification for taking over Hong Kong based on a 99-year lease agreement with Britain.
Under the principles of communism, every citizen is supposed to be entitled to their own equal “share” in their country’s wealth; whereas, capitalist democracies are supposed to use market mechanisms to most efficiently distribute their national wealth, which is owned by all citizens as a collective. Unlike democracy, however, communism does not function on citizen input due to its authoritarian nature, thus the state must try to understand the interests of its country and find ways to effectively balance those interests.
The reality that China is limiting elections in Hong Kong, because China does not want candidates that may upset wealthy businesses and individuals, runs thoroughly counter to the basic principles of communism. Undermining one of communism’s few redeeming qualities, i.e. equal wealth distribution prevents poverty from existing in the face of extreme wealth reveals Corporation China is truly an authoritarian regime in disguise where the interests of the government elites are the main concern. Where ideal capitalist organization only bother with social concerns when failing to do so threatens their economic interests, the Chinese government only bothers itself with social concerns to suppress civil unrest in order to protect the interests of the party elites.
In 2006, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said democracy was “important for China to pursue” in order to “transform itself into a modernized country.” Having developed their ideology under privilege and the 1990’s embrace of capitalism, the current Chinese leadership is becoming more and more business-like in how they rule China to the point they treat it like a corporation without regard for human interests. The greatest problem with this type of thinking is that governments have more than economic interests that must be addressed.
It is important to also recognize governments are required to police corporations, because they have the power to pursue their economic interests at the expense of the broader interests of communities. When democracy is seen as a threat to the interests of government elites, the world can expect China to suppress democracy and the rights of their people while threatening the freedoms of Peoples around the world.
That said, the more the Chinese government suppresses the interests of the democratized People in Hong Kong, the more these individuals are going to cry foul on the Chinese government so loud those who have never thought to question the communist elites are going to hear it. In short, the more capitalistic the Chinese government comes to acts, couple with its authoritarian impulse to suppress dissent, the less it concerns itself with the interests of its citizens. Moreover, capitalism may work well for an authoritarian regime, but a government cannot embrace capitalism and communism without democracy while authoritarian governments are bound to fail.
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