Eric X. Li vs Minxin Pei on China and Democracy

The Aspen Institute has posted the full video of a debate from its Ideas Festival, which ran from June 27th and July 3rd. The discussion pitched venture capitalist Eric X. Li against professor of government Minxin Pei on the subject of “China and Democracy”, moderated by James Fallows. Fallows advised readers of his Atlantic blog to look out for the debate shortly after it took place: The formal topic of discussion was “China and Democracy”; in effect, it was a debate about whether China was nearing the limits of its current authoritarian single-party guided-growth model, or whether it was still gathering steam and had plenty of success still ahead. I am biased, because the subject is of great interest to me and because I was on stage as moderator / referee. But I thought this was an unusually clear, informed, and vigorous airing of contrary views on China’s present and future. They pretty much agreed about its past. Seriously, if you would like the most concise introduction to the case for concern about China’s development, you can listen to Minxin Pei’s side of the argument in this 80-minute (including audience Q&A) discussion. If you would like an unusually forthright statement of the “China knows best, and don’t lecture us when you have such troubles of your own” perspective, listen to Eric Li — and watch the way they parry each other’s arguments. “Debates” at high-toned conferences are often something more like polite seminars. This was an actual contest of views, perfectly civil but with no softening of the hard edges of disagreement. Check it out. A show of hands suggested that few in the audience had been swayed from their initial positions by the end, but that more had swung towards Li than away from him. Asked by an audience ...
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2 Responses to Eric X. Li vs Minxin Pei on China and Democracy

  1. dongjiang says:

    Minxin was just so shallow, and could not support his superfluous argument with concrete factual data. He was brainwashed by the western media to believe that there were indeed such things such as universal values.

    Democracy, freedom and human rights are nothing but a tool for the Westen elites to indoctrinate the masses both home and abroad so that they can steal and suck the blood out of others.

    What the western elites and journalists (who are financed by big money/big bankers/big corporations) are doing to the Chinese people nowadays by forcing such hollow slogans down the throat of the Chinese people is no different from their pouring opium down the throat of the Chinese more than a century ago.

    Don’t point your fingers at the Chinese for its ‘worst human rights record” without first examining yourself in the mirror. It sickens the Chinese to the stomach when hypocrites come to the Chinese land and shamelessly accuse the Chinese of violating this and that.

  2. Will says:

    Eric Li has adopted the CCP elite’s view that the citizens of China do not deserve a competitive multi-party electoral system, a judiciary independent of control by the Party’s Politics and Law Committees, or the freedom of speech. It is not such a great distance from Li’s seemingly urbane championing of endless one-party authoritarian rule to the xenophobic angry-youth and fifty-cent party’s conspiracy theorists.