Eric X. Li: A tale of two political systems

Good morning. My name is Eric Li, and I was born here. But no, I wasn’t born there. This was where I was born: Shanghai, at the height
of the Cultural Revolution. My grandmother tells me that she heard the sound of gunfire
along with my first cries. When I was growing up, I was told a story that explained all I ever
needed to know about humanity. It went like this. All human societies develop
in linear progression, beginning with primitive
society, then slave society, feudalism, capitalism, socialism, and finally, guess where we end up? Communism! Sooner or later, all of humanity, regardless of culture,
language, nationality, will arrive at this final stage of political and social development. The entire world’s peoples will be unified in this paradise on Earth and live happily ever after. But before we get there, we’re engaged in a struggle between good and evil, the good of socialism
against the evil of capitalism, and the good shall triumph. That, of course, was the meta-narrative distilled from the theories of Karl Marx. And the Chinese bought it. We were taught that grand
story day in and day out. It became part of us,
and we believed in it. The story was a bestseller. About one third of the entire
world’s population lived under that meta-narrative. Then, the world changed overnight. As for me, disillusioned
by the failed religion of my youth, I went to America and became
a Berkeley hippie. (Laughter) Now, as I was coming of age,
something else happened. As if one big story wasn’t enough, I was told another one. This one was just as grand. It also claims that all human societies develop in a linear progression
towards a singular end. This one went as follows: All societies, regardless of culture, be it Christian, Muslim, Confucian, must progress from traditional societies in which groups are the basic units to modern societies
in which atomized individuals are the sovereign units, and all these individuals
are, by definition, rational, and they all want one thing: the vote. Because they are all rational,
once given the vote, they produce good government and live happily ever after. Paradise on Earth, again. Sooner or later, electoral
democracy will be the only political system
for all countries and all peoples, with a free market to make them all rich. But before we get there,
we’re engaged in a struggle between good and evil. (Laughter) The good belongs to those
who are democracies and are charged with a mission
of spreading it around the globe, sometimes by force, against the evil of those
who do not hold elections. (Video) George H.W. Bush:
A new world order… (Video) George W. Bush:…
ending tyranny in our world… (Video) Barack Obama:…
a single standard for all who would hold power. Eric X. Li: Now — (Laughter) (Applause) This story also became a bestseller. According to Freedom House, the number of democracies
went from 45 in 1970 to 115 in 2010. In the last 20 years,
Western elites tirelessly trotted around the globe
selling this prospectus: Multiple parties fight for political power and everyone voting on them is the only path to salvation to the long-suffering developing world. Those who buy the prospectus
are destined for success. Those who do not are doomed to fail. But this time, the Chinese didn’t buy it. Fool me once… (Laughter) The rest is history. In just 30 years, China went from one of the poorest agricultural
countries in the world to its second-largest economy. Six hundred fifty million people were lifted out of poverty. Eighty percent of the entire
world’s poverty alleviation during that period happened in China. In other words, all the new
and old democracies put together amounted to a mere fraction of what a single, one-party
state did without voting. See, I grew up on this stuff: food stamps. Meat was rationed to a few hundred grams per person per month at one point. Needless to say, I ate
all my grandmother’s portions. So I asked myself, what’s wrong
with this picture? Here I am in my hometown, my business growing leaps and bounds. Entrepreneurs are starting
companies every day. Middle class is expanding
in speed and scale unprecedented in human history. Yet, according to the grand story, none of this should be happening. So I went and did the only thing I could.
I studied it. Yes, China is a one-party state run by the Chinese Communist
Party, the Party, and they don’t hold elections. Three assumptions are made by the dominant political
theories of our time. Such a system is operationally rigid, politically closed,
and morally illegitimate. Well, the assumptions are wrong. The opposites are true. Adaptability, meritocracy, and legitimacy are the three defining characteristics of China’s one-party system. Now, most political
scientists will tell us that a one-party system
is inherently incapable of self-correction. It won’t last long
because it cannot adapt. Now here are the facts. In 64 years of running the largest
country in the world, the range of the Party’s policies
has been wider than any other country in recent memory, from radical land collectivization
to the Great Leap Forward, then privatization of farmland, then the Cultural Revolution, then Deng Xiaoping’s market reform, then successor Jiang Zemin
took the giant political step of opening up Party membership
to private businesspeople, something unimaginable during Mao’s rule. So the Party self-corrects
in rather dramatic fashions. Institutionally, new rules get enacted to correct previous dysfunctions. For example, term limits. Political leaders used to retain
their positions for life, and they used that to accumulate power and perpetuate their rules. Mao was the father of modern China, yet his prolonged rule led
to disastrous mistakes. So the Party instituted term limits with mandatory retirement age of 68 to 70. One thing we often hear is, “Political reforms have lagged
far behind economic reforms,” and “China is in dire need
of political reform.” But this claim is a rhetorical trap hidden behind a political bias. See, some have decided a priori what kinds of changes they want to see, and only such changes can
be called political reform. The truth is, political
reforms have never stopped. Compared with 30 years ago,
20 years, even 10 years ago, every aspect of Chinese society, how the country is governed, from the most local level
to the highest center, are unrecognizable today. Now such changes are simply not possible without political reforms
of the most fundamental kind. Now I would venture to suggest the Party is the world’s leading
expert in political reform. The second assumption
is that in a one-party state, power gets concentrated
in the hands of the few, and bad governance and corruption follow. Indeed, corruption is a big problem, but let’s first look
at the larger context. Now, this may be counterintuitive to you. The Party happens to be
one of the most meritocratic political institutions in the world today. China’s highest ruling body,
the Politburo, has 25 members. In the most recent one, only five of them came from a background of privilege,
so-called princelings. The other 20, including the president
and the premier, came from entirely ordinary backgrounds. In the larger central
committee of 300 or more, the percentage of those who were born into power and wealth was even smaller. The vast majority
of senior Chinese leaders worked and competed their way to the top. Compare that with the ruling elites in both developed
and developing countries, I think you’ll find the Party
being near the top in upward mobility. The question then is,
how could that be possible in a system run by one party? Now we come to a powerful
political institution, little-known to Westerners: the Party’s Organization Department. The department functions like a giant human resource engine
that would be the envy of even some of the most successful
corporations. It operates a rotating pyramid made up of three components: civil service, state-owned enterprises, and social organizations like a university or a community program. They form separate
yet integrated career paths for Chinese officials. They recruit college grads
into entry-level positions in all three tracks,
and they start from the bottom, called “keyuan” [clerk]. Then they could get promoted through four increasingly elite ranks: fuke [deputy section manager], ke [section manager], fuchu
[deputy division manager], and chu [division manger]. Now these are not moves
from “Karate Kid,” okay? It’s serious business. The range of positions is wide, from running health care in a village to foreign investment in a city district to manager in a company. Once a year, the department
reviews their performance. They interview
their superiors, their peers, their subordinates. They vet
their personal conduct. They conduct public opinion surveys. Then they promote the winners. Throughout their careers, these cadres can move
through and out of all three tracks. Over time, the good ones move
beyond the four base levels to the fuju [deputy bureau chief]
and ju [bureau chief] levels. There, they enter high officialdom. By that point, a typical
assignment will be to manage a district
with a population in the millions or a company with hundreds
of millions of dollars in revenue. Just to show you
how competitive the system is, in 2012, there were 900,000
fuke and ke levels, 600,000 fuchu and chu levels, and only 40,000 fuju and ju levels. After the ju levels, the best few move further
up several more ranks, and eventually make it
to the Central Committee. The process takes two to three decades. Does patronage play a role?
Yes, of course. But merit remains the fundamental driver. In essence, the Organization
Department runs a modernized version
of China’s centuries-old mentoring system. China’s new president, Xi Jinping, is the son of a former leader,
which is very unusual, first of his kind to make the top job. Even for him, the career took 30 years. He started as a village manager, and by the time he entered the Politburo, he had managed areas
with a total population of 150 million people and combined GDPs of 1.5 trillion U.S.
dollars. Now, please don’t get me wrong, okay? This is not a put-down of anyone.
It’s just a statement of fact. George W. Bush, remember him? This is not a put-down. (Laughter) Before becoming governor of Texas, or Barack Obama
before running for president, could not make even a small county manager in China’s system. Winston Churchill once said that democracy is a terrible system
except for all the rest. Well, apparently he hadn’t heard
of the Organization Department. Now, Westerners always assume that multi-party election
with universal suffrage is the only source
of political legitimacy. I was asked once, “The Party
wasn’t voted in by election. Where is the source of legitimacy?” I said, “How about competency?” We all know the facts. In 1949, when the Party took power, China was mired in civil wars,
dismembered by foreign aggression, average life expectancy
at that time, 41 years old. Today, it’s the second largest
economy in the world, an industrial powerhouse,
and its people live in increasing prosperity. Pew Research polls Chinese
public attitudes, and here are the numbers in recent years. Satisfaction with the direction
of the country: 85 percent. Those who think they’re better
off than five years ago: 70 percent. Those who expect the future to be better: a whopping 82 percent. Financial Times polls
global youth attitudes, and these numbers, brand new,
just came from last week. Ninety-three percent
of China’s Generation Y are optimistic
about their country’s future. Now, if this is not legitimacy,
I’m not sure what is. In contrast, most electoral
democracies around the world are suffering from dismal performance. I don’t need to elaborate
for this audience how dysfunctional it is,
from Washington to European capitals. With a few exceptions, the vast number of developing countries that have
adopted electoral regimes are still suffering
from poverty and civil strife. Governments get elected,
and then they fall below 50 percent approval in a few months and stay there and get worse
until the next election. Democracy is becoming a perpetual cycle of elect and regret. At this rate, I’m afraid it is democracy, not China’s one-party
system, that is in danger of losing legitimacy. Now, I don’t want to create
the misimpression that China’s hunky-dory, on the way to some kind of superpowerdom. The country faces enormous challenges. The social and economic problems that come with wrenching change
like this are mind-boggling. Pollution is one. Food safety.
Population issues. On the political front, the worst
problem is corruption. Corruption is widespread
and undermines the system and its moral legitimacy. But most analysts misdiagnose the disease. They say that corruption is the result
of the one-party system, and therefore, in order to cure it, you have to do away
with the entire system. But a more careful look
would tell us otherwise. Transparency International ranks China between 70 and 80 in recent
years among 170 countries, and it’s been moving up. India, the largest democracy in the world, 94 and dropping. For the hundred or so countries
that are ranked below China, more than half of them
are electoral democracies. So if election is the panacea
for corruption, how come these countries can’t fix it? Now, I’m a venture capitalist.
I make bets. It wouldn’t be fair
to end this talk without putting myself on the line
and making some predictions. So here they are. In the next 10 years, China
will surpass the U.S. and become the largest
economy in the world. Income per capita will be near the top of all developing countries. Corruption will be curbed,
but not eliminated, and China will move up 10 to 20 notches to above 60 in T.I. ranking. Economic reform will accelerate,
political reform will continue, and the one-party system will hold firm. We live in the dusk of an era. Meta-narratives that make universal claims failed us in the 20th century and are failing us in the 21st. Meta-narrative is the cancer that is killing democracy from the inside. Now, I want to clarify something. I’m not here to make
an indictment of democracy. On the contrary, I think
democracy contributed to the rise of the West
and the creation of the modern world. It is the universal claim
that many Western elites are making about their political
system, the hubris, that is at the heart
of the West’s current ills. If they would spend
just a little less time on trying to force their way onto others, and a little bit more
on political reform at home, they might give their democracy
a better chance. China’s political model
will never supplant electoral democracy,
because unlike the latter, it doesn’t pretend to be universal. It cannot be exported. But
that is the point precisely. The significance of China’s example is not that it provides an alternative, but the demonstration
that alternatives exist. Let us draw to a close this
era of meta-narratives. Communism and democracy may
both be laudable ideals, but the era of their dogmatic
universalism is over. Let us stop telling
people and our children there’s only one way to govern ourselves and a singular future towards which all societies must evolve. It is wrong. It is irresponsible. And worst of all, it is boring. Let universality make way for plurality. Perhaps a more interesting age is upon us. Are we brave enough to welcome it? Thank you. (Applause) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thanks. Bruno Giussani: Eric, stay
with me for a couple of minutes, because I want to ask you
a couple of questions. I think many here, and in general
in Western countries, would agree with your statement
about analysis of democratic systems
becoming dysfunctional, but at the same time,
many would kind of find unsettling the thought
that there is an unelected authority that, without any form
of oversight or consultation, decides what the national interest is. What is the mechanism in the Chinese model that allows people to say, actually, the national interest
as you defined it is wrong? EXL: You know, Frank Fukuyama,
the political scientist, called the Chinese system
“responsive authoritarianism.” It’s not exactly right,
but I think it comes close. So I know the largest public
opinion survey company in China, okay? Do you know who their biggest client is? The Chinese government. Not just from the central government, the city government,
the provincial government, to the most local neighborhood districts. They conduct surveys all the time. Are you happy with the garbage collection? Are you happy with the general
direction of the country? So there is, in China, there
is a different kind of mechanism to be responsive to the demands
and the thinking of the people. My point is, I think we should get unstuck from the thinking
that there’s only one political system — election, election, election — that could make it responsive. I’m not sure, actually, elections produce responsive government
anymore in the world. (Applause) BG: Many seem to agree. One of the features of a democratic system is a space for civil
society to express itself. And you have shown figures
about the support that the government
and the authorities have in China. But then you’ve just
mentioned other elements like, you know, big challenges,
and there are, of course, a lot of other data that go
in a different direction: tens of thousands of unrests and protests and environmental protests, etc. So you seem to suggest the Chinese model doesn’t have a space outside of the Party for civil society to express itself. EXL: There’s a vibrant
civil society in China, whether it’s environment or what-have-you. But it’s different. You
wouldn’t recognize it. Because, by Western definitions,
a so-called civil society has to be separate or even in opposition to the political system, but that concept is alien
for Chinese culture. For thousands of years,
you have civil society, yet they are consistent and coherent and part of a political order, and I think it’s a big cultural difference. BG: Eric, thank you for sharing
this with TED. EXL: Thank you.

100 thoughts on “Eric X. Li: A tale of two political systems

  1. Beggar don't choose! When you are poor, you don't have time to think about democracy because it does not fill your stomach. When a country is rich, the people will demand democracy. You don't have to teach them. Now the American and majority of the western countries citizens are burdened with housing loan, education loan and raising cost. Do you call that democracy? The way I see it, you are pathetically chained to the Corporate greed and Government corruption. Nothing more nothing less. Yet you want the Chinese to follow your corrupted system? You should revolt against your incompetent Government and Corporate!

  2. The world don't need American democracy.The world need true democracy.The democracy is not defined by any country in the world.Only the people will find the true democracy.So what's the democracy means in your mind?

  3. The problem with democracy is that given an undereducated electorate, it's those who are good at running for office who are elected, not those who can actually govern.
    Those two skills are generally unrelated.

  4. You forgot to add Pres Trump to this formula and China gets called out for CHEATING on the world and slides back into a 3rd world shithole

  5. The biggest difference is, the government in western democracy is focusing on winning the elections, the government in China is focusing on making a better living for their people and making the country gets better.

  6. I'm just sharing my opinion here but it is staggering if China was a bad country like how so many people claim it is then why do so many people who leave the country either to study abroad or for tourism go back? China has the most tourists hundreds of million a year and most international students. They go to these foreign countries and see people criticise Chinas way of governing yet the Chinese people who have lived there? 99% a majority of them go back?

    It's that simple just put one and one together

  7. He can't even debate a competent high school student. He is just like Jack Ma who doesn't know what he is talking about
    He is just reading the propaganda material

  8. To elaborate on his speech, American democracy was successful from Washington to Lincoln. It improved the world from Imperialism and slavery towards trade. Well, America was blessed with a land full of natural resources and the country began from the advent of the industrial age. Of course then it was advantages for the Americans to trade rather than to plunder. But since WW2 things changed dramatically. Democracy didn’t change but the American democratic government did. It was ruled by the rich and powerful businessmen. Just look at the blue chip stocks of the last 70 years. A very large piece are weapon companies. Cigarettes probably killed more people than bombs and guns. People pay a lot more attention to the harm from cigarettes because the smoke is close to them. But most are unaware of the real effects of military spending and the marketing strategies of weapons. Most of the political chaos in our world today have been created by the US businesses who tried to sell weapons to make money. They control much of the media to obscure their intentions. From Vietnam to Iraq, businesses controlled the Congress to send troops. No conflicts means no business. They used democratic slogans conveniently to justify the soldiers sacrificed. Naturally, weapon businessmen and cigarette businessmen couldn’t care less about lives. The other invisible tactic is deliberately creating financial crisis in world markets, 85-89 Japan, 94-97 Asia, 2007-2008 global. It doesn’t matter to talk about who is good or bad. At the end of the day, the winner will be the boss. Deng Xiao Ping knew all these in 1981 to set up a reform to give China a chance precisely to be the boss. I have a prediction too. Like global warming and severe weathers increasing, there will be more wars in order for US companies to sell more weapons. More and more they are clinging onto the lifeline of war business. I would say most of them want another 911 of some sort and it is bound to happen.

  9. the Chinese model isn't as closed as the west think. Chinese citizens who are interested in politics, can always enter politics by joining the Communist party or other parties (yes, there are other political parties in China, though they are just accessories). Once you enter CCP, it isn't as monolith as you think, there are debates, there factions, there are different ideologies, it is a struggle like any other countries with democracy and multiparties system.

  10. Western people in very naive, they only believe 1 system, democracy is not perfect, why they still belive it, every 1 is not the same , race and culture is also not the same , im from Malaysia, democracy is not freedom of speech, is not humans right, but the news keep saying china have no human rights becouse of communist ,democracy also dont have human rights,

  11. Thank you Eric for pulling many of the bits of information together that have brought me to support China in spite of the propaganda that America spews to try to justivy its inhumanity. China as a meritocracy has brought a massive population out of poverty in spite of the efforts of the west to keep it impoverished. Anyone who refuses to acknowledge this a an act of almost miraculous seccess is a fool.

  12. We should stop call what we have in the west as democracy, because it's not!! Just read some about Aristoteles, who is the father of democracy, and when I said democracy, I mean real democacy. Aristoteles said that in a democacy everybody should be teach to think individually and then, after a long reflexion, decide their vote. It is not happening here.

  13. You guys are not that gullible, are you? Did you just hear what that dude say? Chinese buying this, Chinese not buying that. Oh really? The fact is the Chinese people have absolute no saying in taking what kind of political path. Democracy might not be perfect, yet at least wherein the people got the right to choose. At least the people got the right to express what they really want. I don't know what kind of political system can make all the people living in it have a happily-ever-after. I DO know, i don't want to live in a political system in which even free-speech is not safeguarded.

  14. Imaginatively delivered CCP propaganda, with a coating of humor to help it go down better. This might be a good time for a reminder that TED's motto is "Ideas worth spreading", not "Propaganda worth spreading".

  15. LOL This guy wants the world to go backward and become unfree thinkers as he is himself. The reason the people are happy with China's rule, is because throughout their entire life, they've been influenced to be — I've been there and have seen how it is. It's true, I've never seen people so happy with their political system (remember they have no access to outside information and a lifetime of intense media and political influencing to think a certain way), nor have I seen so many people treat others, be them local or foreigner (sadly unless they're white), as badly as people do in China. They're taught to be the perfect Cog in the system, quiet, good at their part and as silent as possible. So is this a good political system? I'd be interested to hear any free thinking person to say it is still worth it.

  16. Actually China is a good example of why democracy is important. Because unelected Chinese government was exactly the force that hindered economic development for decades trying to establish planned economy. What if they try to do it again? Do you have any leverage to stop them?

  17. What this guy is REALLY saying: Hooray, we FINALLY found a way to get capitalism wihtout this annoying thing called democracy in which this disgusting mob called "the people" is constantly disturbing the "peace" of exploitation and slave labour in China and elsewhere. Hooray, what a "Visionary".😠

  18. 64 years isn't very long to test a political system. The Communist system is inherently inefficient and is NOT a meritocracy. The cracks are beginning to show and Communist China might soon go the way of the USSR = after all, it has committed all the same mistakes inherent in central planning. The growth has been due to the abuse of cheap finance as a 'developing state'

  19. This shameless guy was bought by CCP, I guarantee it, if the FBI would care to trace his income. China is about to have a cultural revolution again under another tyrant, who just scrapped term limits and made himself leader for life.

  20. A poll in china about happiness or anything else is meaningless… They have been given an opinion by their dynastic communist dictator. Over 10k Chinese are executed a year for various reasons. Until 2016 their democracy free government mandated abortions (one child policy). It takes a real sheep to not see the sheep.

  21. Would they be clapping if a one party Libertarian party came to power in the United States and nobody could unseat them and took away most cushy government paychecks and welfare. They are the ones who plan on being in power.

  22. I think the right form of democracy should put a bar on who can vote (i.e. adequate education) and who can be elected (i.e. experience of governing). However, it is simply politically incorrect to say so in today's western countries. I also believe the one-party system is an acceptable option as long as that party is the true representative of common people.

  23. They why does the Chinese Communist Party brutally suppress freedom of speech in China? Why do they have to steal Western technology? Why did they steal the Spratly Islands from the Philippines? Why did they murder the people who were seeking freedom in Tianamen Square? Why are they bulldozing churches and imprisoning pastors? Why do they block YouTube, Facebook and most social media from free countries? Why do they feel they have to use Wechat and hundreds of millions of cameras to spy on their people with facial recognition? Why are the people of Hong Kong so fearful of losing their freedoms to Emperor Xi and the Mao Dynasty? Why does the Communist Party have to lie to their people about the real meaning of the protests in Hong Kong?

  24. Most DISGRACEFUL talk ever shown on TED. Characterising the worlds most murderous, corrupt and authoritarian regime as something better than free democracy.

  25. much of what he says makes sense to me, but at around 13:00 when he speaks about surveys where people in China report such high levels of optimism and happiness I wonder how reliable those are. Maybe declaring yourself satisfied and better off than before is simply expected, and nobody would want to say otherwise… just a thought…

  26. This is such an interesting TED talk. I always find it such a great follow up to this other Chinese TED speaker. ♡💕

  27. Democracy had evolved over decades from monarchies. Democracy do bring benefits but there are social ills too. Human rights under democracy is applied selectively in varying degrees in different societies. Repressive regimes exists and countries failed in developing their economies. China no longer embrace communism but a socialist capitalist system with Chinese characteristic, which President Xi is reshaping China's psychology, way of life and a vision to make China great as in past history. This new social changes will takes many years to achieve fruition of desired results. Authoritarian rule may not be ideal as experiences of history in other nations even in China past dynasties. Modern China now going economies development and has to feed its large population need unifying and control political mechanism to achieve its objectives.
    It's too early to judge will the new model of governance work for China. If democracy is introduced in China and their economy collapsed with social chaos, which country or countries can render aid to feed 1.4 billion people from starvation and prevent exodus of millions of migrant Chinese flood smaller countries. It might lead to collapse of the world economy.


  29. This guy get it wrong. He should look elsewhere why democracy systems failed. He confused that election system may not be good. It’s the people not the type of system. There are system that are more likely allow corruption than other type of system. It’s true that every governing system have its flaws. What he should say is what can you do for your system not your system can do for you. Got to remember every human being will corrupted when power and money are involved. In a one party system, you only have egg in one basket. In the other hand, multiple party system, you have eggs in different basket.

  30. I agree everything he says, but how about basic human freedom and rights for example the freedom of speech and freedom to worship? It's a cultural difference so people's rights can be trampled upon?

  31. Bourgeois democracy is not real democracy. Westerners spend most of their lives in authoritarian institutions. The workplace isn't a democracy; you don't get to vote on anything, and you do what your told or quit. You vote every few years on local and national elections and in the mean time those elected officials can and will do anything without your input, even go back on their campaign promises. The worst that can happen is they lose the election in four years time. Even that isn't a sure thing. The owners of the corporations have billions to spend towards fixing the elections to their favour, either through campaign funds, outright bribes, lobbying etc.

  32. just a thought, but imo democracy isn't there to find or create the best leaders but to prevent the worst kinds of leaders

  33. The problem with western democracies isn't democracy itself but the sale of government to private interests. Essentially putting the power of capitalism above government itself. Which means it starts becoming more about money than votes.

  34. 看到评论里有外国人在酸我就放心了。西方人放不下他们的傲慢和偏见,他们不能接受这样的事实,恰似100多年前不愿承认已经落后的中国一样,但是结果大家都知道,清王朝固步自封而衰败了。同样的事情可能还会再发生,只不过主角不再是中国。

  35. Democracy is not suitable to Chinese political & economical situation and yes I agree that the CCP is self-evolving at all the time. However, the so called ''representitive system'' and ''information censorship'' are blocking the path to prosperity – I'm talking about populace's individual dignity and happiness particularly. It is also why I believe that the 93% of optimistic ratio is not practically convincible. Try making condition of information transparency for those who participated the survy for China as same as those for the other countries. I don't think the result would be the same.

  36. You can do mass rally in DC while you got massacred if doing so in beijing

    That's sum up the difference between two systems

  37. yes I know TED embraces diversity, but I used to believe TED is where speakers talk true to their hearts, where speakers don't lie for evil purposes. I'm Chinese, but I just wanna admit that body size is probably the only thing I share in common with this speaker. It's ok people believe in different things, but it's EVIL to LIE!! and I'm 100% sure he knows how much he lied up there. Shame!

  38. yeah,China is not perfect,silk corruption and speech prohibition and Nazification

    cause it is really hard to govern 1.3 million people at the same time without conflict ! this is an extreme condition, the govern method should be also extreme.
    how can you manage a company with 1.3 billion people in a soft and mild way without sacrificing anyone's profit?
    But ,with time goes by,the whole system would be efficient and sensitive problem would be solved in a comparatively good manner rather than a perfect manner which conforms to everyone profit.

  39. He's lying China proper off the back of democracy and capitalism. The CCP just learn how to explot the global economy

  40. There are 200,000 riots per year in China. Bribes are a culture. He will not want to be a citizen in China. Especially for Uyghurs and Tibetans.


  42. "Divide and conquer." A winner take all, two-party system is doomed to fail as each side cares more and more about winning elections than progressing.

  43. In my previous life, I visited my company’s joint venture partner, Rizhao port, in Shandong province. I was amazed at the intense competition within the port:promotion to managerial level positions meant outstanding job performance, 360-degree reviews, various tests, and presentations to colleagues and bosses to justify why one should be promoted. I shuddered to think how I would fare in this system of extreme meritocracy.

  44. In the process of development, China also made mistakes in blindly learning from the Soviet union. Fortunately, the Chinese corrected themselves in time. Dogmatism, benben, all wrong. Socialism with Chinese characteristics is about integrating development with China's national conditions. China neither wants to export models, nor wants countries to find their own path. Practice makes perfect. A cat that can catch mice is a good cat.

  45. No "Western democracy" is responsible for millions upon millions of deaths that surpass those of Stalin and all dictatorships combined in 70 years of rule by the CPC. Apparently you missed all the 2.000.000 dead during the "cultural revolution".
    "Adaptability" "meritocracy (a joke?)" "legitimacy" (Honk Kong maybe?)
    Yes, each country can choose its own political system. But it must be the PEOPLE that decide, not some Winnie the Poo guy…

  46. TED talks are filled with the most arrogant self congratulating air heads if you ever seen the South Park episode where Kyle moves to SF and the people inhale there farts those are TED people

  47. Well said!!! US and western Europe should embrace plurality instead of forcing its "universality" on other people of the world.

  48. Between the former USSR and USA, USSR mismanaged their economy by competing with the Capitalistic USA in militarism. China then studied the mistake made by the USSR and came up with a superb revision which led to their successful economic system today.

  49. There is one crucial thing he missed:
    elections DO exist in China. Not on a national level but as far as I know the government of most cities, townships and villages is elected, and with universal suffrage, and these governments eventually elect provincial and eventually national legislatures.
    Ok, there's just one party, or rather one United Front, but that's because, as Eric says in the end, all legitimate political formations exist in coalition with the communist party rather than parallel to or opposed to it, because there's dialogue and cooperation between the political parts rather than competition. Without any doubt the pace of that dialogue is dictated by the communist party, that's in part what vanguardism is, but it's there.

    China can be called a democracy of sorts, it's just that rather than being a competitive democracy as in the West, it is a cooperative one.

  50. I just watched China Uncensored few minutes ago. Mr. Li is talking pure BS. China is ruled by a dictator party that kills democracy not only on their own citizen but also other countries. FU china!

  51. "Elect and regret", you're talking about the Philippines. 😂

    The reason why we fail is because we let others build our own future. And while we are faced with obvious failure, we reject change because we stick to their solutions. While the factors that made them build their own solution might not be applicable to your situation. We must start to solve our own problems our own way towards our own real success. Thanks TED and Mr. Li!

    Why everything said in this talk is fake news (with examples!)
    Never forget Tiananmen square

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