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flangfitt15 karma

a few. one is that the Communist Party is some rigid, monolithic, dictatorship. It's been a collective leadership for years which means interest groups battle over issues all the time and China can suffer from grid-lock on certain topics that you see in democracies on occasion. of course the huge difference is the public has no direct input.

flangfitt15 karma

another really smart question. we will look on chinese social media, which can give you a ton of opinion from around the country. sometimes I'll call the people who've posted and interview them. Then, because social media everywhere can be so self-selective, I love to go out to different parts of the city and talk to different types of people. I often find -- probably like the U.S. -- that social media responses in China tend to be more extreme and opinionated while talking to ordinary people on the street tends to provide more nuanced, considered and pragmatic responses.

flangfitt14 karma

great, great question. the Communist Party knows it is not Communist, but can't dump the name because it is key to its legitimacy. There is a story -- perhaps apocryphal -- in which the former premier Zhu Rongji asked an American politician what was the one thing the Communist Party could do to change its image in the eyes of Americans. The politician said: "change the name." Zhu shook his head and said they just couldn't do that. Chinese people are supremely pragmatic, much to their credit, and they are happy to take advantage of a capitalist-style economy that helps them improve their lives and are less hung up on what things are called.

flangfitt10 karma

with friends and even strangers Chinese are much more open with their political views than they were a generation ago. On a 20 minute taxi ride in Shanghai, you can get a very thoughtful deconstruction of Chinese politics and the party. But if you take out your tape recorder, everything changes.

flangfitt9 karma

first choice. most important country in the world -- in my opinion -- other than the U.S.