How does the Chinese ruling elite view the world? Over the weekend, I participated in a dialogue between a handful of foreign scholars, journalists, top Chinese officials, academics and business people, organised by the Tsinghua University Academic Centre for Chinese Economic Practice and Thinking. The discussion was franker than any I have participated in during the 25 years I have been visiting China. Here are seven propositions our interlocutors made to us.
This idea went with the notion that China is in important ways a divided society: One participant even remarked that 500 million Chinese people love Deng Xiaoping's reforms, while 900 million favour the world view of Mao Zedong. Another pointed to the fact that the central government spends only 11 per cent of the total by all levels of government and employs just 4 per cent of all civil servants. Others emphasised that China is a developing country with huge challenges.