Now Online: 'China and Democracy' Debate With Minxin Pei and Eric Li

By James Fallows

As I mentioned two weeks ago, one of the most interesting (to me) sessions at the Aspen Ideas Festival was a debate between Minxin Pei and Eric X. Li about the nature and viability of the Chinese politico-economic system. The title was "Democracy and China," but really the discussion concerned whether, as Minxin Pei has argued in many books, the tensions and contradictions in the Chinese model of authoritarian-capitalism mean that it is nearing the end of its miraculous 30-plus year run; or whether on the contrary, as Eric Li has argued many places, the Chinese system is indeed showing its superiority to any plausible alternative. I was the moderator, and I thought it was an unusually interesting and direct display of the differences in views.

A video of the debate is now up on the Aspen site. You can see it there, or click below. That's Li on the left, Pei in the middle, and me on the right.
 
See web-only content:
http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/07/now-online-china-and-democracy-debate-with-minxin-pei-and-eric-li/260102/

Lots more in the hopper about Chinese book names, Romney-Obama strategy and tactics, the Air France crash report, "interesting software," and other topics. But it will have to wait for tomorrow. Seriously, if you are interested in China, economic development, democratic development, the "Asian model," or practically anything else, I think you will find this debate worthwhile.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/07/now-online-china-and-democracy-debate-with-minxin-pei-and-eric-li/260102/