Sunday, November 27, 2011

What Chinese want - Tom Doctoroff

Tom Doctoroff
The Communist Party is certainly not on the way out, argues Tom Doctoroff in The Huffington Post. It is one of three arguments in Doctoroff's upcoming book What Chinese Want: Culture, Communism and China's Modern Consumer, expected in May 2012. Political change is not on the agenda.

Tom Doctoroff:
 The West vastly underestimates of the power of the Communist Party as perhaps the strongest, most enduring "brand" in China. Why is Mao Zedong, the father of "New China," still idolized by the majority of the population despite colossal mistakes during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution? Because he, under the banner of the Party, "liberated" China from foreign invasion and civil war, and unified the country. Propaganda organs proclaim Mao's actions were "seventy percent positive and thirty percent negative." Most agree. Mao still undergirds Party's legitimacy -- to wit, Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai's 2011 revival of revolutionary "red songs."... 
The Chinese people crave order -- stability is the platform on which progress is built. Confucian society is patriarchic, at peace with top-down compliance. The son/subject does not exist independent of his obligations to father/ruler. Democracy in China is tantamount to responsiveness, not representation. Individual rights are abstractions, unless linked to immediate economic or family interests. There were reports of "walking protests" in response to the Arab Spring, but the government effortlessly squelched disturbances. People do not feel safe -- China is not yet "harmonious," and the social safety net is in tatters -- but there is no Plan B. The foundation of Party legitimacy remains the masses' faith in their mandarins' ability to -- somehow, someway -- guide China's long march to prosperity. Father knows best, even if he sometimes makes mistakes.
More in The Huffington Post  


Tom Doctoroff is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch, or fill in our speakers' request form.

You can preorder What Chinese Want: Culture, Communism and China's Modern Consumer.

More on Tom Doctoroff at Storify.
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