You are part of a policy working group researching some of the most sensitive policy issues for the party. For this assignment, you have been tasked with reviewing a handful of foreign articles from the Opposing Viewpoints in Context book series and researching the arguments presented. Comrade Xi Jinping himself has asked you to draw on this information to present the best possible case for – and against – democratization in China.
The Chinese Communist Party should embrace democratic reform in the People’s Republic of China. In this context, we will define democracy as governance by represents selected by openly contested elections as well as protections of common liberal rights like free press, free speech, and equal protection under law.
First, we will work together on a collective Google Doc to review the key arguments and evidence from each text. (20 minutes during class).
Second, you will work individually on a guided research (Google Doc) on the issues identified during this process. Our goal is for each of us to utilize at least one book and one book review for this exercise. (20 minutes in class plus up to an hour for homework).
Third, on Wednesday, you will be assigned randomly to teams to argue either for or against the statement. (approximately 30 minutes of planning time in class, 30 minutes for debate, with the remaining time reserved for debriefing).
View 22:45-23:30 Laobaixing express support for the party
View 56:14-57:25 Mayor Geng examines obstacles
Is Mayor Geng’s approach to corruption and incompetence likely to resolve the challenges preventing implementation of his vision? Why or why not?
How does the process of negotiation in this documentary compare with the picture presented by Philip Pan? Do you think residents featured in this documentary are treated fairly or unfairly? Why?
Thinking back to unit 3, how would you answer the question raised by one of the Datong residents in the film, “If Mao was still alive, dare he do this?”
View 23:35-26:00 Mayor Geng’s goals
Evaluate Mayor Geng’s development strategy. What are the major factors influencing your evaluation?
Do the following quotes support or complicate your initial conclusions? Would you choose to visit Datong if you were traveling in China? Why or why not?
Mayor Geng’s plan was projected to cost as much as 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) over six years, most of which was debt financed.
Why do you think Mayor Geng was transferred to the provincial capital of Taiyuan? Was this a promotion? What consequences might it have had for the people of Datong?
Today’s class will be dedicated to open discussion on McGregor’s The Party. Questions below will guide our discussion and may be amended or supplemented based on your interests:
Writing in your journal, you will have ten minutes to provide quick answers to 8 of the following 9 questions. Aim to spend about one minute per question, knowing you have two minutes extra for “wiggle room.” Your response should include a brief response and a one-sentence justification for that answer, to be elaborated further around the table.
View selections from:
Last class we began examining David Harvey’s perspective on China’s economic growth, and today we have a somewhat overlapping perspective from Justin Yifu Lin, Peking University professor and former Chief Economist at the World Bank.
We should pause to note Lin’s remarkable personal background (recounted by Evan Osnos in The New Yorker article “Boom Doctor”). Lin was born on Taiwan in 1952 and attended the nation’s top-ranking National Taiwan University where he was a student activist known for his nationalism (Taiwan should reclaim its lost UN seat, he argued). Before completing his first year at university, he transferred to a military academy and then went on to serve as a company commander on Jinmen (Quemoy) island at the front lines of Taiwan’s conflict with the People’s Republic. There,
. . . Lin’s thinking had already begun a sharp turn, and he had become preoccupied with one thought. “You want to make the Chinese prosperous, and most people in China are on the mainland,” he told me. “So if I come to the mainland I can make a larger contribution.”
On the night of May 16, 1979, Lin walked to the water’s edge, stepped out of his shoes, and waded into the Taiwan Strait. The current was swift and strong, but he had been studying the sea, and he timed his departure to avoid being pushed back to shore by the rising tide. “You need to go when it’s receding,” he recalled. “You need to cross the middle, and then the rising tide will carry you all the way over to the other side.” He swam freestyle, and floated on the current for nearly three hours. “When I reached the shore, I suspected there were some kinds of land mines, so I did not want to walk.” He carried a flashlight, and he signalled to Chinese troops on the shore. “They sent a soldier to arrest me.”
Lin went on to earn a doctorate in economics at George Washington University, going on to become an influential economist in China in the late 1980s, just as the mainland was “hungry for expertise.”
Activity on export-led growth:
Use the following online tool from MIT (external link) to examine China’s exports to the United States in the following years.
For each date, make a note of the total amount of exports from China to the United States and the composition of those exports. Then, consider:
Build a bibliography: