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Can Chinese model be replicated?
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09:41, September 18, 2009

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The Chinese model has been a hot topic in recent years. Although there is no clear definition for it, generally, it refers to a development model which based on specific national condition, sticks to socialist system, absorbs capital and experience from western countries, opens up to the outside world, attracts foreign investment, encourages private enterprises, shows high administrative efficiency and enjoys consecutive economic growth for many years.

Uniqueness of Chinese model

The Chinese model has its uniqueness. China is the most populous country in the world. It has a long history and is the only one among the big countries whose civilization process has never been interrupted. Its modernization has gone through a very hard and twisted path. It is all these unique features that make up the nature of the Chinese model and restrict the replication and spreading of this model.

We can make a brief comparison between China and India. As for population, India's population is second only to China now and will definitely surpass China in the future. In terms of civilization, there is a long-period of fault between ancient Indian civilization and modern Indian civilization. As former British colony, India is regarded as the "biggest democratic country in the world" by western media. These features also make up the uniqueness of India. Although some specific experience of China is highly valued and has already been used in India, the different national conditions decide that it is impossible for India to replicate the Chinese model.

Possibility of replicating

As far as I see it, the Chinese model can be replicated under certain premise. This replication can be divided into two types: complete replication such as Vietnam and partial replication such as Cuba and DPRK.

Vietnam is the country whose replication of Chinese model is the most complete and successful. And China has not exported or advertised its experience to Vietnam.

Vietnam began to learn from China in 1986. When China began to implement the new national policy of reform and opening up, China-Vietnam relations were at the trough. However, China's experience, at first it was the household responsibility system in the rural areas that aroused Vietnam's huge interest. A Vietnamese senior scholar on Chinese study told the journalist in Hong Kong in 1997, she was required to study every step of China's reform and opening up and report to the Vietnamese Communist Party Central Committee as the guideline of its decision making since 1986. After implementing the household responsibility system, Vietnamese grain yield doubled quickly and it quickly became the main rice exporter in the world. Last October while attending a seminar on China's reform and opening up in Hanoi, Vietnam, the journalist was told that Vietnam not only learns from China's experience in reform and opening up, but also learns Chinese Communist Party's theory of party building as well as the theory and practice of combating corruption. Recently, Dao Duy Quat, editor-in-chief of Communist Party of Vietnam Online Newspaper, concluded the experience of China's reform and opening up as follows: find a development path suitable for your national condition, keep the leadership of Chinese Communist Party and keep the unity of all ethnic groups.

As the most promising economy in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Vietnam should really owe its rapid economic development and political stability to the Chinese model.

The learning of Cuba and North Korea is restricted to a partial and tactical level. For instance, Cuba's household responsibility system is established based on China's experience. North Korea once permitted free market and limited capital absorption from South Korea. After becoming Chairman of North Korea, Kim Jong-il only paid visits to China and Russia. During his visits to China, he carefully investigated Shanghai and Shenzhen.

From the above examples, we can see the rule how the Chinese model is borrowed in other countries. Vietnam, Cuba and North Korea are all socialist countries ruled by Communist Parties. Among them, Vietnam's national conditions are most similar to China; therefore, it can replicate the Chinese model to some degree. While for countries adopting western democratic systems, the possibility of replicating is quite limited.

China is not exporting its model

The Chinese model is highly valued because China has rapidly risen and joined the major economies in the world which used to be all western countries. This year China's GDP will probably surpass Japan to be the second largest economy in the world. And it has already surpassed Germany and become the biggest exporter in the world. In fact, people of vision in China are clear in mind that China is a big economy but not a strong economy. It is far from being a developed country. However, the international community has already regarded China as a whiz kid among the developing countries, which is able to contend against developed countries. The United States, Japan and the European Union are also impressed by China's development. Therefore, some western scholars are afraid that China's development model in terms of geopolitics and so on will affect other developing countries.

It is worth noticing that there is not such a thing that China is exporting its model. China did not start to develop under a planned model. Its development came before the model. And this model was first mentioned by other countries. This is completely different from the model of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union exported its development model as a means of contending for hegemony with the United States. Of course, we should also admit that some countries including China actively replicated its model of central planning system while attracted by the world's first socialist country.

However, the Chinese model is not flawless. It has many problems to be solved including environmental deterioration, gap between rich and poor and so on.

All in all, it is not possible that the Chinese model will be widely spread. There is no need for the west to worry about it.

By People's Daily Online

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