Democracies should not gloat about China’s stumbles

The country still boasts a technocratic elite capable of recovering from even calamitous policy errors. How many of its neighbours can say the same? 

China might withstand this period better than many democratic countries, says the writer. PHOTO: REUTERS
Gift this subscriber-only story to your friends and family

As China’s death toll mounts and its economy slows, the country seems to be reaping the bitter fruits of President Xi Jinping’s zero-Covid policy. Ill-informed and arbitrary decision-making looks to be, in the eyes of many in the West, the fatal weakness of China’s autocratic political system.

But a self-righteous contrast between democracy and autocracy cannot explain away the challenges of governance that confront many nations today. After all, terrible political decisions have brought Britain, the world’s oldest democracy, to the point where its hollowed-out state is struggling to offer even basic services to citizens.

Already a subscriber? 

Read the full story and more at $9.90/month

Get exclusive reports and insights with more than 500 subscriber-only articles every month

Unlock these benefits

  • All subscriber-only content on ST app and

  • Easy access any time via ST app on 1 mobile device

  • E-paper with 2-week archive so you won't miss out on content that matters to you

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.