Future of China: Minxin Pei vs Eric Li

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 8:41
Posted in category The Big Picture

Very interesting discussion between Minxin Pei and Eric Li took place that the 2012 Aspen Ideas festival.  It is an hour in length, moderated by James Fallows, and while the debate has a political title it is so much more than that.

A few thoughts:

1) Eric Li has been getting hammered for his views that China’s one party rule is the best thing for the country, and I think he won some people over.  I do not mean this necessarily as a good thing.  I personally find his arguments far too myopic in terms of timeline and scope, but that is balanced by Minxin being too “academic”.

2) The discussion generally supports my belief that it is the next 5-10 years that will be China’s MOST critical, and that it will be under Xi JiPing’s watch that the ship will either right itself or hit the iceberg.

3) More time needed to be spent on the challenges/ gaps that each presented, and I would have like for them to speak about issues of common concern particularly domestic unrest (which neither address).

James Fallows said in the early moments it was the panel he had been looking forward to, and with his facilitation, the discussion does not disappoint.

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Future of China: Minxin Pei vs Eric Li”

  1. Tim says:

    July 27th, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    Thanks for posting this Rich. Fascinating to watch. Eric Li is clearly an experienced debater and better prepared than Pei was for this audience and the discussion. 

    Not convinced that Fallow’s was the right man to facilitate; I suspect in his desire to be neutral he missed Li taking over framing the discussion. In particular the definition of democracy that he then uses later to justify a significantly less mature political system in the US than most would agree. Also impressive was his ability to relate to the audience’s disenchantment with their own government and turn this to justify a one-party system.

    Superb. Utterly ridiculous logic but a masterful debate.  

  2. Rich says:

    July 28th, 2012 at 4:03 am


    I’d totally agree, which is why Eric’s abilities scare me. Shows a real lack of understanding, about China in general, but also about what is important. Shows that if you have a good message in a package that you align with, even if not in your best interests, it can be very easy to sell.

    Nothing new. Ken Lay was able to do that well… Goldman Sachs was able to do that with their clients…. and we all know how that went.


  3. Eric Xi. The New Face of China’s Soft Power | All Roads Lead to China says:

    July 2nd, 2013 at 7:12 am

    […] soft power. He’s articulate, he’s armed with stats, and he has the ability to create doubt about scholars whose entire academic lives have been devoted to topics that he has only recently begun to engage […]