June 18, 2019

The Lasting Legacy of Tiananmen

“BEIJING — China’s vice president, Wang Qishan, was in no mood for questions when a group of American economists went to see him in a pavilion at Communist Party headquarters in Beijing recently.

Instead, Wang, wearing a tracksuit and slippers, delivered a philosophical, hour-long lecture to scholars from the Peterson Institute for International Economics in which he asserted the supremacy of the Chinese way over Western traditions.

After reminding his visitors that the lives of Socrates and Confucius overlapped, he talked about how Europe ended up as small, splintered states while China became a vast and powerful empire. There was no doubt his critique of the West’s perceived weaknesses also included the present-day United States.

This is the China of today: supremely confident, richer than it could have imagined three decades ago, and more convinced than ever of the rightness of its repressive model of authoritarian political control.”

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