Shambaugh China essay in shambles

Updated: 2015-03-13 10:37

By Chen Weihua(China Daily)

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Shambaugh China essay in shambles

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, Chinese president and chairman of Central Military Commission, speaks during a conference on the diplomatic work on neighboring countries in Beijing, Oct 25, 2013. [Photo/Xinhua]

In the 1990s, some American scholars and journalists indulged themselves in forecasting a China collapse into several republics, like the Soviet Union. Some based their arguments on the growing regionalism in the country, others bet on the passing away of Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping.

To their disappointment, China has not disintegrated into six or seven republics. Instead it has become the world's second-largest economy and it is well on its way to being No 1.

Yet the rise of China has not discouraged some in the United States from continuing to fantasize about the breakup of China.

In his Wall Street Journal article "The Coming Chinese Crackup" on March 7, David Shambaugh, a China scholar at George Washington University, pronounced that the "endgame of Communist rule" in China has begun. But his article is based on some random and superficial facts, and his arguments can best be summarized as yipian gaiquan, (hasty generalization), or the English idiom - One swallow does not make a summer.

Shambaugh is right that no campaign can eliminate the problem of corruption. But no one should be so na?ve as to believe that corruption can be completely uprooted, either in China or in the US, where President Barack Obama has repeatedly complained about money in politics.

Shambaugh's deep flaw is that he looked at China with a bias, completely ignoring the positive aspects.

For example, the anti-corruption campaign launched by President Xi Jinping has raised hope for many Chinese that the thorny issue is being tackled. The campaign has been popular both at home and abroad, including winning support from senior Obama administration officials and many China scholars in Washington. In the past days, US scholars, both on the right and left, have questioned Shambaugh's logic.

I believe Xi and many Chinese know that fighting the war on corruption is really hard. Yet Shambaugh seems to suggest that doing nothing is probably a better way forward.

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