By Fareed Zakaria
China’s leaders have promised “unprecedented” market-oriented reforms that are “comprehensive,” “economic, social and political.” We will have to wait and watch to see what that means but, for sure, it means no moves toward democracy. It will likely involve administrative changes that make China’s bureaucracy more efficient, effective and honest. Local courts, for example, long dominated by corrupt local politicians, are likely to be streamlined, perhaps with the creation of an American-style federal circuit.
In fact, so far, the country has actually moved in the opposite direction politically, clamping down on the Internet as part of a Maoist campaign against dissent. One participant described this as a strategy that “moves left politically so that you can move right economically.” He said it mirrored Deng’s approach, which is summarized in a joke that he once instructed his driver to turn on the left signal while turning the car to the right.