Singapore is no autocracy / Eric X. Li: A tale of two political systems


image from AsiaOne

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Singapore is no autocracy

Regarding Jackson Diehl’s June 24 op-ed column, “An F in academic freedom”:

Mr. Diehl’s labeling of Singapore as an “autocracy” is supercilious.

There are different forms of democracy all over the world, shaped by each nation’s history, traditions and ethnic and religious mixes.

Since its independence, Singapore has had regular, free and fair general elections with high turnout rates.

Ultimately, it is the very essence of democracy for the citizens of each country, and their elected governments, to determine where to strike the balance between social harmony and the preservation of individual rights.

In addition, Singapore and the United States share many educational links and agreed in 2012 to step up collaboration in education. The objective is to encourage intellectual engagement and promote mutual exchanges of knowledge and discourse.

It goes against the concept of academic freedom, which Mr. Diehl so strongly defended, for one party to attempt to impose its ideologies and views on the other.

Jerome Lee, Washington
The writer is a spokesman for Singapore’s embassy to the United States.

Source –  The Washington Post : Singapore is no autocracy

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Eric X. Li: A tale of two political systems

A venture capitalist and political scientist, Eric X Li argues that the universality claim of Western democratic systems is going to be “morally challenged” by China.

A well-connected venture capitalist in Shanghai, where he was born, Eric X. Li studied in America (and even worked for Ross Perot’s 1992 presidential campaign) before returning home, where he started doubting the idea that China’s progress could only follow the path of the West’s free-market principles.

In a much-discussed op-ed he wrote for the New York Times in February 2012 and in other writings, he has put forth the idea that China needed a different development framework, around a different idea of modernity. The Chinese system, he says, is meritocratic, highly adaptable despite the one-party rule, long term-oriented, pragmatic and non-individualistic. As he writes: “The Chinese political system … comes close to the best formula for governing a large country: meritocracy at the top, democracy at the bottom, with room for experimentation in between.

While some criticize him as a cheerleader of the Chinese government and a champion of Chinese exceptionalism, Li is comfortable in the role of provocateur. He is the founder of Chengwei Capital in Shanghai, serves on the board of directors of China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) and is a Fellow of the Aspen Institute.

“Li believes that China is inventing an alternative set of organizing principles for human affairs that are fundamentally different—not in opposition—but fundamentally different from what the world has been looking to the West for in the last three-four hundred years.”

Anant Giridharadas, “Chinese Dreams”

Source –  TED :  Eric X. Li: A tale of two political systems

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