China’s communist leadership has many good reasons for maintaining the country’s wild economic growth. On the one hand, they must beat their archenemy, Japan, and become the world’s political and economic superpower as the leader of Asia.
On the other hand, the communists are familiar with the Mandate of Heaven, the country’s traditional philosophy of rulership, which dates back to the age of the dynasties.
“During the dynasties, the emperor was given a mandate from heaven to rule his subjects,” says University Lecturer in Asian Studies Tiina Airaksinen.
“The people had, however, a right to demonstrate and rebel if the rule resulted in too many natural disasters or too much corruption and hunger.”
The rebellious Chinese once overthrew the Ming dynasty and a few others as well.
A dynasty among others
The communists are seen as a dynasty among others. A regime change may be impending if the high level of economic growth cannot be maintained and if a tight rein cannot be kept on high-profile corruption, tens of thousands of yearly environmental and food catastrophes, or rural unemployment and poverty.
“Communism hasn’t subjugated the Chinese and turned them into a dull, frightened mass,” Airaksinen emphasises.
“There is constant local rioting which we don’t hear about. When people gather, authorities become easily frightened by their possible political and revolutionary motives. That’s why it doesn’t take much for them to act.”
Focus on culture
Airaksinen hopes to see Chinese popular culture break through to the West.
“News reports on China always focus on the sad facts about their poverty and massive environmental problems. I hope that like Japan, the country will succeed in making the rest of the world aware of its rich popular and modern culture, thus deepening our understanding of China.”
China at Think Corner from 30 September to 11 October
The autumn’s themes at Think Corner include development trends in world politics and economics, with a special focus on the emergence of China, India and Brazil and their social development and influence on the global operating environment.