Gauging the future of China . . . 28
What if the prevailing Washington belief that China cannot be both rich and authoritarian is wrong? What if those who insist that the West’s economic and political experience constitutes universal truth have been merely laboring under an ethnocentric delusion? The leaders of the Chinese Communist Party, heir to a governing tradition of the mailed fist and hobnailed boot, clearly believe they can have a wealthy and powerful country without ceding power to the people. And why shouldn’t they? They have presided over a “socialist market economy” that has experienced explosive economic growth, all the while keeping the “door to freedom” heralded by President Bush locked and heavily guarded.