January 04, 2006

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Three harmonies, China and the WTO

China Brief time again from the Jamestown Foundation. Two highlights:

1. Willy Lam looks at Hu Jintao's theory of the three harmonies:

Hu and Wen understand that a regime cannot last if it depends solely on the ruthless efficacy of its control mechanisms, which in China’s case include the PLA, PAP, the secret police and the regular police. Yet the risk-averse Hu is loathe to arouse false expectations among the nation’s intelligentsia by going all out in his emulation of Hu Yaobang’s “Theory of the Three Tolerances.” Plans mooted earlier this year by his aides, such as allowing a dozen-odd of the less controversial Tiananmen Square-related exiled dissidents to return to China, have been abandoned. It will not be surprising, then, that perhaps for the rest of the decade, Chinese society will only exude a kind of artificial, party-sanctioned harmony that endures at the pleasure of New Strongman Hu.

2. WTO talks move in China's direction, according to William Hawkins:

Beijing thus finds the current world system well suited to its needs. It has easy access to affluent foreign markets like the United States, with minimal formal commitments to reciprocate. It runs a trade surplus and holds very large hard-currency reserves. Beijing prefers to make bilateral deals in Central Asia, Africa and Latin America, rather than be ensnared in multilateral “global” agreements. There is nothing in the Doha Round that it needs, and it has been successful in fending off any initiatives that would weaken its own development program.

posted by Simon on 01.04.06 at 09:56 AM in the China brief category.


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