architectural photograph of lighted city sky

The Resiliency of China

With the tariffs levied by the Trump administration and the maintained by the Biden administration, it seemed to me that the American philosophy with China of engagement to further democracy had quietly undergone a bipartisan change. I realized I knew very little about post WWII China that wasn’t vaguely related to movies. I had no real knowledge of their government structure and my only knowledge of the Cultural Revolution was the movie ‘Sent-Down Girl’. I’ve just finished reading ‘The Party’ by Richard McGregor. It was a great window into the workings of China, at least through 2012 when the book was finished writing.
  • The Party Doesn’t Exist: It’s not registered as a political party and the government (nor any other body) have oversight into it. “The Party… (relies).. on the single line in the preamble of the constitution, about it’s ‘leading role’, as the basis for it’s power.“(p.22)
  • Most Companies Have Parallel Communist Structures: I remember the idea of part parallel organizations in Communist Russia for state industry and the military, but the the success of the part to place them both into Chinese and International companies, including Wal-Mart (p.214) was eye-opening.
  • The Silence On the Cultural Revolution: McGregor takes a lot of time on this because of the significance of it’s impact on the population. It seems they’ve taken Russia’s ownership of the Stalinist atrocities as a cautionary tale.
While thinking through all of it, what’s most impressive to me is that, in the time that we’ve seriously opened trade and investment into China, they’ve grown their middle class from a tiny fraction of their population to be today being the same size or larger than the US middle class population.
Effectively, they have added the equivalent of the US economy domestically! Without including the strides they’ve made into other markets, especially in the Pacific and Africa, this internal economic growth has halved our impact on the Chinese economy. Above anything else, this really impressed upon me the changing power dynamics of the US-China relationship.