Report: A democratic China could be ‘great risk’ to Asia – Arthur Bright

From The Christian Science Monitor (link): An Australian think tank suggests democracy might lead to a hostile, populist Beijing.

A democratic China may bring as much harm to Asia as it does good, according to a new report from an Australian defense think tank.

In an Australian Strategic Policy Institute report, economist David Hale warned that the peaceful, predictable economic engagement policies of the current Beijing could be undone by the greater democracy the next generation of Chinese leaders might bring, writes Agence France-Presse.

“When a fifth generation of leadership assumes power in ten to fifteen years, China could become more open and tolerate greater dissent,” the report said.

“Such a political opening could then open the door to forces such as nationalism and populism. There is no way to predict exactly how Chinese politics will evolve in a more democratic era, but it is a development which could produce new challenges for the countries of East Asia after 2020.

“An authoritarian China has been highly predictable. A more open and democratic China could produce new uncertainties about both domestic policy and international relations.”

The executive summary of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute report “In the Balance: China’s unprecedented growth and implications for the Asia-Pacific” is here.

March 2, 2006 2:27 PM
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