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What a contrast between China's flexible, pragmatic approach to governance and our idealistic mess.

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Interesting to read. But I don’t think it’s accurate to describe imperial China’s governance as “checks and balances”. The so-called “checks and balances” seem more about the Emperor trying to centralise control and making everyone else accountable to the Emperor. Whereas “checks and balances” is about decentralised control.

The “checks and balances” of the current Chinese government seems (to me) more about securing central control and accountability to Beijing, rather than holding Beijing accountable to the people of China. I know the CPC views its primary role as to serve the people, but I think Chinese Emperors would also say that is their goal.

That said, I am not criticising China’s governance regime. Just saying that it’s not “checks and balances”, at least as understood in the West. Nor am I saying that Western style “checks and balances” is an unmitigated success. It clearly is not, to the extent the “checks and balances” in the West has prevented Western governments from ending poverty, redressing the disadvantages among black and indigenous Americans, adopting reasonable foreign policy, etc.

However, the CPC might want to ask how it can ensure a future politburo does not end up centralising control for the benefit of the elite in Chinese society. It’s great that Xi Jinping was able to take firm action against corruption. But things could easily have gone the other way had Xi Jinping not won control of the Politburo.

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