full transcript
"From the Ted Talk by Eric X. Li: A tale of two political systems"

Unscramble the Blue Letters

Good morning. My name is Eric Li, and I was born here. But no, I wasn't born there. This was where I was born: Shanghai, at the height of the Cultural Revolution. My gdnhtmaeorr tells me that she heard the sound of gunfire along with my first cries. When I was growing up, I was told a story that eianlexpd all I ever needed to know about humanity. It went like this. All human societies dovelep in leanir progression, biienngng with primitive society, then slave society, feudalism, capitalism, socialism, and finally, guess where we end up? Communism! snooer or later, all of hnumaity, regardless of culture, language, nationality, will arrive at this final stgae of political and social development. The entire world's peoples will be unified in this paradise on Earth and live happily ever after. But before we get there, we're engaged in a struggle between good and evil, the good of socialism against the evil of capitalism, and the good shall triumph. That, of course, was the meta-narrative distilled from the theories of Karl Marx. And the chisnee bought it. We were taught that grand story day in and day out. It became part of us, and we bieelved in it. The story was a bsesteellr. About one third of the entire world's plaipouton lived under that meta-narrative. Then, the world changed overnight. As for me, disillusioned by the failed religion of my youth, I went to America and became a Berkeley hipipe. (lehugatr) Now, as I was coming of age, something else happened. As if one big story wasn't enough, I was told another one. This one was just as ganrd. It also claims that all human societies develop in a linear progression towards a singular end. This one went as follows: All societies, regardless of culture, be it Christian, Muslim, Confucian, must progress from traditional societies in which groups are the bisac units to modern siiecoets in which aemitozd individuals are the sovereign units, and all these individuals are, by dftioeinin, rational, and they all want one thing: the vote. Because they are all rnaotial, once given the vote, they produce good government and live hlippay ever after. Paradise on Earth, again. Sooner or later, electoral democracy will be the only political system for all countries and all peoples, with a free market to make them all rich. But before we get there, we're engaged in a struggle between good and evil. (Laughter) The good belongs to those who are democracies and are charged with a mission of spreading it around the golbe, sometimes by force, against the evil of those who do not hold etnlioecs. (veido) George H.W. Bush: A new world oderr... (Video) George W. Bush:... ending tyrnany in our world... (Video) Barack Obama:... a single sanrdatd for all who would hold power. Eric X. Li: Now — (Laughter) (Applause) This story also became a bestseller. According to feeodrm House, the number of democracies went from 45 in 1970 to 115 in 2010. In the last 20 years, Western etlies tirelessly trotted around the globe selling this prospectus: mptillue parties fight for political power and everyone voting on them is the only path to salvation to the long-suffering dpoeneilvg world. Those who buy the prospectus are destined for success. Those who do not are doomed to fail. But this time, the Chinese didn't buy it. Fool me once... (Laughter) The rest is history. In just 30 years, China went from one of the poorest agricultural countries in the world to its second-largest economy. Six hundred fitfy million ppoele were lifted out of poverty. Eighty percent of the entire world's poverty alleviation during that period happened in China. In other words, all the new and old democracies put together amoeuntd to a mere fraction of what a single, one-party state did without voting. See, I grew up on this stuff: food samtps. Meat was rnoieatd to a few hundred grams per person per month at one point. Needless to say, I ate all my grandmother's portions. So I asked myself, what's wrong with this picture? Here I am in my hometown, my business giowrng leaps and bounds. Entrepreneurs are starting companies every day. Middle class is expanding in speed and scale unprecedented in human history. Yet, according to the grand story, none of this should be happening. So I went and did the only thing I could. I studied it. Yes, China is a one-party state run by the Chinese Communist Party, the Party, and they don't hold elections. Three assumptions are made by the dominant political theories of our time. Such a system is operationally rigid, politically closed, and morally imtgltiaeile. Well, the assumptions are wrong. The opposites are true. Adaptability, meritocracy, and legitimacy are the three defining casciearitthcrs of China's one-party styesm. Now, most political scientists will tell us that a one-party system is inrtehnley incapable of self-correction. It won't last long because it cannot adapt. Now here are the ftacs. In 64 years of running the largest country in the world, the rgane of the Party's policies has been wider than any other country in recent memory, from radical land collectivization to the gaert Leap Forward, then privatization of farmland, then the Cultural reovuotiln, then Deng Xiaoping's market rerofm, then successor jinag Zemin took the giant political step of opening up patry membership to private busnsepilopsee, something uibainngalme during Mao's rule. So the Party self-corrects in rather dramatic fashions. Institutionally, new rules get enacted to correct previous dysfunctions. For example, term limits. Political leaders used to retain their positions for life, and they used that to acuutamcle power and perpetuate their rules. Mao was the father of modern cinha, yet his prolonged rule led to disastrous mistakes. So the Party instituted term limits with mandatory retirement age of 68 to 70. One thing we often hear is, "Political reforms have lagged far behind economic reforms," and "China is in dire need of political reform." But this claim is a rhetorical trap hidden behind a political bias. See, some have decided a priori what kinds of changes they want to see, and only such changes can be called political reform. The truth is, political reforms have never stopped. Compared with 30 years ago, 20 years, even 10 years ago, every aspect of Chinese society, how the country is governed, from the most local level to the highest center, are unrecognizable today. Now such changes are simply not possible without political reforms of the most fundamental kind. Now I would venture to susgget the Party is the world's leading expert in political reform. The second assumption is that in a one-party state, power gets concentrated in the hands of the few, and bad governance and cotrpouirn follow. Indeed, corruption is a big problem, but let's first look at the larger context. Now, this may be counterintuitive to you. The Party happens to be one of the most meritocratic political institutions in the world today. China's highest ruling body, the Politburo, has 25 mebmers. In the most recent one, only five of them came from a bnuoakrcgd of plerviige, so-called princelings. The other 20, icunidnlg the president and the piermer, came from entirely ordinary backgrounds. In the legarr central committee of 300 or more, the percentage of those who were born into pwoer and wealth was even smaller. The vast majority of senior Chinese lreades worked and competed their way to the top. Compare that with the ruling elites in both deevloepd and developing countries, I think you'll find the Party being near the top in uawrpd mobility. The question then is, how could that be possible in a system run by one party? Now we come to a powerful paiioctll institution, little-known to Westerners: the Party's Organization Department. The department functions like a giant human resource engine that would be the envy of even some of the most successful corporations. It operates a rttniaog pramyid made up of three components: civil service, state-owned enterprises, and social organizations like a university or a community pogrram. They form separate yet integrated caerer pahts for Chinese officials. They recruit cloelge grads into entry-level positions in all three tracks, and they start from the bottom, called "keyuan" [clerk]. Then they could get poortemd through four iailcenrnsgy elite ranks: fuke [deputy section manager], ke [section manager], fuchu [deputy division manager], and chu [division manger]. Now these are not moves from "Karate Kid," okay? It's serious business. The range of positions is wide, from riunnng health care in a village to foreign investment in a city district to manager in a company. Once a year, the deneatmprt rewveis their pemcrfroane. They interview their superiors, their peers, their subordinates. They vet their personal conduct. They conduct public opinion surveys. Then they promote the wernins. Throughout their cearres, these cadres can move through and out of all three tacrks. Over time, the good ones move beyond the four base levels to the fuju [deputy bureau chief] and ju [bureau ceihf] lveles. There, they enter high officialdom. By that point, a tciyapl anmessgint will be to manage a district with a population in the millions or a company with hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Just to show you how cetitpvomie the system is, in 2012, there were 900,000 fuke and ke levels, 600,000 fuchu and chu levels, and only 40,000 fuju and ju levels. After the ju levels, the best few move further up several more rknas, and eventually make it to the Central Committee. The process takes two to three decades. Does patronage play a role? Yes, of course. But merit remains the funedntaaml driver. In essence, the Organization Department runs a modernized version of China's centuries-old mentoring system. China's new president, Xi Jinping, is the son of a former leader, which is very unusual, first of his kind to make the top job. Even for him, the career took 30 years. He started as a village manager, and by the time he eenertd the pluibtoro, he had managed areas with a total population of 150 million people and combined GDPs of 1.5 tiloirln U.S. dollars. Now, please don't get me wrong, okay? This is not a put-down of anyone. It's just a statement of fact. George W. Bush, remember him? This is not a put-down. (Laughter) Before becoming governor of taexs, or brcaak Obama before running for president, could not make even a small county mnaeagr in China's system. Winston Churchill once said that democracy is a terrible system except for all the rest. Well, apnlreapty he hadn't heard of the oaoitniazgrn Department. Now, Westerners always assume that multi-party election with universal suffrage is the only source of political legitimacy. I was asked once, "The Party wasn't voted in by election. Where is the source of legitimacy?" I said, "How about competency?" We all know the facts. In 1949, when the Party took power, China was mired in civil wars, dismembered by froiegn aggression, average life expectancy at that time, 41 yreas old. Today, it's the second largest economy in the world, an industrial powerhouse, and its people live in increasing prosperity. Pew Research polls Chinese public attitudes, and here are the numbers in recent years. Satisfaction with the drcoitein of the country: 85 percent. Those who think they're better off than five years ago: 70 pceernt. Those who expect the future to be better: a whopping 82 percent. Financial Times polls global youth attitudes, and these numbers, brand new, just came from last week. Ninety-three percent of China's Generation Y are optimistic about their country's future. Now, if this is not legitimacy, I'm not sure what is. In contrast, most electoral democracies around the world are suffering from dismal performance. I don't need to elaborate for this audience how dysfunctional it is, from Washington to European capitals. With a few exceptions, the vast number of developing countries that have adopted eclatorel regimes are still suffering from poverty and civil strife. Governments get elected, and then they fall below 50 percent approval in a few mtnohs and stay there and get worse until the next election. Democracy is becoming a perteapul cycle of elect and regert. At this rate, I'm afraid it is democracy, not China's one-party system, that is in danger of losing legitimacy. Now, I don't want to cetrae the misimpression that China's hunky-dory, on the way to some kind of superpowerdom. The cotunry faces enormous challenges. The social and economic problems that come with wrenching change like this are mind-boggling. Pollution is one. Food safety. Population issues. On the political front, the wsort plreobm is corruption. Corruption is wdpesriaed and unimerndes the system and its maorl legitimacy. But most analysts misdiagnose the disease. They say that corruption is the result of the one-party system, and therefore, in order to cure it, you have to do away with the entire system. But a more careful look would tell us otherwise. Transparency International ranks China between 70 and 80 in recent years among 170 countries, and it's been moving up. idina, the largest democracy in the world, 94 and dropping. For the hundred or so countries that are ranked below China, more than half of them are electoral dacomrecies. So if eieclton is the panacea for corruption, how come these countries can't fix it? Now, I'm a venture capitalist. I make bets. It wouldn't be fair to end this talk without putting myself on the line and making some predictions. So here they are. In the next 10 years, China will surpass the U.S. and become the lgseart economy in the wrold. Income per capita will be near the top of all developing countries. Corruption will be curbed, but not eliminated, and China will move up 10 to 20 ncehtos to above 60 in T.I. ranking. Economic reform will accelerate, political reform will continue, and the one-party system will hold firm. We live in the dusk of an era. Meta-narratives that make universal claims failed us in the 20th century and are failing us in the 21st. Meta-narrative is the cancer that is killing democracy from the inside. Now, I want to clarify something. I'm not here to make an iidtncmnet of democracy. On the contrary, I think democracy contributed to the rise of the West and the creation of the modern world. It is the universal claim that many Western elites are making about their political system, the hbrius, that is at the heart of the West's crenurt ills. If they would spend just a little less time on trying to fcore their way onto others, and a little bit more on political reform at home, they might give their dmocarcey a better ccanhe. China's political model will never supplant electoral democracy, because unlike the latter, it doesn't pretend to be universal. It cannot be exported. But that is the point precisely. The significance of China's example is not that it provides an aeaitrtnvle, but the demonstration that alternatives exist. Let us draw to a close this era of meta-narratives. Communism and democracy may both be laudable iadles, but the era of their dogmatic uesvrliisanm is over. Let us stop telling people and our children there's only one way to govern ourselves and a singular future towards which all societies must evolve. It is wonrg. It is irresponsible. And worst of all, it is bonirg. Let universality make way for plurality. Perhaps a more irsneetitng age is upon us. Are we bvare enough to welcome it? Thank you. (Applause) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thanks. Bruno Giussani: Eric, stay with me for a couple of muetins, because I want to ask you a cpuole of questions. I think many here, and in general in wesertn curntoeis, would agree with your statement about analysis of democratic systems becoming dysfunctional, but at the same time, many would kind of find unsettling the thought that there is an unelected authority that, without any form of oversight or ctatonosiuln, diecdes what the national interest is. What is the mechanism in the Chinese model that allows people to say, actually, the national interest as you denfeid it is wrong? EXL: You know, Frank fukymaua, the political scientist, called the Chinese system "responsive aitarsroiunhiatm." It's not exactly right, but I think it comes close. So I know the largest public opinion survey company in China, okay? Do you know who their bseiggt client is? The Chinese government. Not just from the central government, the city government, the provincial government, to the most local neighborhood districts. They conduct surveys all the time. Are you happy with the garbage cellocotin? Are you happy with the general direction of the country? So there is, in China, there is a different kind of mechanism to be responsive to the demands and the thinking of the people. My pinot is, I think we should get unstuck from the thinking that there's only one political system — election, election, election — that could make it responsive. I'm not sure, actually, elections produce rsvoienpse government anymore in the world. (Applause) BG: Many seem to agree. One of the features of a democratic system is a scpae for civil society to esrxpes itself. And you have shown figures about the support that the government and the aeoitihruts have in China. But then you've just mentioned other elements like, you know, big cghanleles, and there are, of course, a lot of other data that go in a different direction: tens of tndhuosas of unrests and protests and environmental potsrtes, etc. So you seem to suggest the Chinese moedl doesn't have a space outside of the Party for civil society to express itself. EXL: There's a vibrant cviil society in China, whether it's environment or what-have-you. But it's different. You wouldn't recognize it. Because, by Western definitions, a so-called civil society has to be separate or even in opposition to the political system, but that cnoepct is alien for Chinese culrute. For thousands of years, you have civil society, yet they are consistent and coherent and part of a political order, and I think it's a big ctruuall difference. BG: Eric, thank you for sharing this with TED. EXL: Thank you.

Open Cloze

Good morning. My name is Eric Li, and I was born here. But no, I wasn't born there. This was where I was born: Shanghai, at the height of the Cultural Revolution. My ___________ tells me that she heard the sound of gunfire along with my first cries. When I was growing up, I was told a story that _________ all I ever needed to know about humanity. It went like this. All human societies _______ in ______ progression, _________ with primitive society, then slave society, feudalism, capitalism, socialism, and finally, guess where we end up? Communism! ______ or later, all of ________, regardless of culture, language, nationality, will arrive at this final _____ of political and social development. The entire world's peoples will be unified in this paradise on Earth and live happily ever after. But before we get there, we're engaged in a struggle between good and evil, the good of socialism against the evil of capitalism, and the good shall triumph. That, of course, was the meta-narrative distilled from the theories of Karl Marx. And the _______ bought it. We were taught that grand story day in and day out. It became part of us, and we ________ in it. The story was a __________. About one third of the entire world's __________ lived under that meta-narrative. Then, the world changed overnight. As for me, disillusioned by the failed religion of my youth, I went to America and became a Berkeley ______. (________) Now, as I was coming of age, something else happened. As if one big story wasn't enough, I was told another one. This one was just as _____. It also claims that all human societies develop in a linear progression towards a singular end. This one went as follows: All societies, regardless of culture, be it Christian, Muslim, Confucian, must progress from traditional societies in which groups are the _____ units to modern _________ in which ________ individuals are the sovereign units, and all these individuals are, by __________, rational, and they all want one thing: the vote. Because they are all ________, once given the vote, they produce good government and live _______ ever after. Paradise on Earth, again. Sooner or later, electoral democracy will be the only political system for all countries and all peoples, with a free market to make them all rich. But before we get there, we're engaged in a struggle between good and evil. (Laughter) The good belongs to those who are democracies and are charged with a mission of spreading it around the _____, sometimes by force, against the evil of those who do not hold _________. (_____) George H.W. Bush: A new world _____... (Video) George W. Bush:... ending _______ in our world... (Video) Barack Obama:... a single ________ for all who would hold power. Eric X. Li: Now — (Laughter) (Applause) This story also became a bestseller. According to _______ House, the number of democracies went from 45 in 1970 to 115 in 2010. In the last 20 years, Western ______ tirelessly trotted around the globe selling this prospectus: ________ parties fight for political power and everyone voting on them is the only path to salvation to the long-suffering __________ world. Those who buy the prospectus are destined for success. Those who do not are doomed to fail. But this time, the Chinese didn't buy it. Fool me once... (Laughter) The rest is history. In just 30 years, China went from one of the poorest agricultural countries in the world to its second-largest economy. Six hundred _____ million ______ were lifted out of poverty. Eighty percent of the entire world's poverty alleviation during that period happened in China. In other words, all the new and old democracies put together ________ to a mere fraction of what a single, one-party state did without voting. See, I grew up on this stuff: food ______. Meat was ________ to a few hundred grams per person per month at one point. Needless to say, I ate all my grandmother's portions. So I asked myself, what's wrong with this picture? Here I am in my hometown, my business _______ leaps and bounds. Entrepreneurs are starting companies every day. Middle class is expanding in speed and scale unprecedented in human history. Yet, according to the grand story, none of this should be happening. So I went and did the only thing I could. I studied it. Yes, China is a one-party state run by the Chinese Communist Party, the Party, and they don't hold elections. Three assumptions are made by the dominant political theories of our time. Such a system is operationally rigid, politically closed, and morally ____________. Well, the assumptions are wrong. The opposites are true. Adaptability, meritocracy, and legitimacy are the three defining _______________ of China's one-party ______. Now, most political scientists will tell us that a one-party system is __________ incapable of self-correction. It won't last long because it cannot adapt. Now here are the _____. In 64 years of running the largest country in the world, the _____ of the Party's policies has been wider than any other country in recent memory, from radical land collectivization to the _____ Leap Forward, then privatization of farmland, then the Cultural __________, then Deng Xiaoping's market ______, then successor _____ Zemin took the giant political step of opening up _____ membership to private ______________, something ____________ during Mao's rule. So the Party self-corrects in rather dramatic fashions. Institutionally, new rules get enacted to correct previous dysfunctions. For example, term limits. Political leaders used to retain their positions for life, and they used that to __________ power and perpetuate their rules. Mao was the father of modern _____, yet his prolonged rule led to disastrous mistakes. So the Party instituted term limits with mandatory retirement age of 68 to 70. One thing we often hear is, "Political reforms have lagged far behind economic reforms," and "China is in dire need of political reform." But this claim is a rhetorical trap hidden behind a political bias. See, some have decided a priori what kinds of changes they want to see, and only such changes can be called political reform. The truth is, political reforms have never stopped. Compared with 30 years ago, 20 years, even 10 years ago, every aspect of Chinese society, how the country is governed, from the most local level to the highest center, are unrecognizable today. Now such changes are simply not possible without political reforms of the most fundamental kind. Now I would venture to _______ the Party is the world's leading expert in political reform. The second assumption is that in a one-party state, power gets concentrated in the hands of the few, and bad governance and __________ follow. Indeed, corruption is a big problem, but let's first look at the larger context. Now, this may be counterintuitive to you. The Party happens to be one of the most meritocratic political institutions in the world today. China's highest ruling body, the Politburo, has 25 _______. In the most recent one, only five of them came from a __________ of _________, so-called princelings. The other 20, _________ the president and the _______, came from entirely ordinary backgrounds. In the ______ central committee of 300 or more, the percentage of those who were born into _____ and wealth was even smaller. The vast majority of senior Chinese _______ worked and competed their way to the top. Compare that with the ruling elites in both _________ and developing countries, I think you'll find the Party being near the top in ______ mobility. The question then is, how could that be possible in a system run by one party? Now we come to a powerful _________ institution, little-known to Westerners: the Party's Organization Department. The department functions like a giant human resource engine that would be the envy of even some of the most successful corporations. It operates a ________ _______ made up of three components: civil service, state-owned enterprises, and social organizations like a university or a community _______. They form separate yet integrated ______ _____ for Chinese officials. They recruit _______ grads into entry-level positions in all three tracks, and they start from the bottom, called "keyuan" [clerk]. Then they could get ________ through four ____________ elite ranks: fuke [deputy section manager], ke [section manager], fuchu [deputy division manager], and chu [division manger]. Now these are not moves from "Karate Kid," okay? It's serious business. The range of positions is wide, from _______ health care in a village to foreign investment in a city district to manager in a company. Once a year, the __________ _______ their ___________. They interview their superiors, their peers, their subordinates. They vet their personal conduct. They conduct public opinion surveys. Then they promote the _______. Throughout their _______, these cadres can move through and out of all three ______. Over time, the good ones move beyond the four base levels to the fuju [deputy bureau chief] and ju [bureau _____] ______. There, they enter high officialdom. By that point, a _______ __________ will be to manage a district with a population in the millions or a company with hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Just to show you how ___________ the system is, in 2012, there were 900,000 fuke and ke levels, 600,000 fuchu and chu levels, and only 40,000 fuju and ju levels. After the ju levels, the best few move further up several more _____, and eventually make it to the Central Committee. The process takes two to three decades. Does patronage play a role? Yes, of course. But merit remains the ___________ driver. In essence, the Organization Department runs a modernized version of China's centuries-old mentoring system. China's new president, Xi Jinping, is the son of a former leader, which is very unusual, first of his kind to make the top job. Even for him, the career took 30 years. He started as a village manager, and by the time he _______ the _________, he had managed areas with a total population of 150 million people and combined GDPs of 1.5 ________ U.S. dollars. Now, please don't get me wrong, okay? This is not a put-down of anyone. It's just a statement of fact. George W. Bush, remember him? This is not a put-down. (Laughter) Before becoming governor of _____, or ______ Obama before running for president, could not make even a small county _______ in China's system. Winston Churchill once said that democracy is a terrible system except for all the rest. Well, __________ he hadn't heard of the ____________ Department. Now, Westerners always assume that multi-party election with universal suffrage is the only source of political legitimacy. I was asked once, "The Party wasn't voted in by election. Where is the source of legitimacy?" I said, "How about competency?" We all know the facts. In 1949, when the Party took power, China was mired in civil wars, dismembered by _______ aggression, average life expectancy at that time, 41 _____ old. Today, it's the second largest economy in the world, an industrial powerhouse, and its people live in increasing prosperity. Pew Research polls Chinese public attitudes, and here are the numbers in recent years. Satisfaction with the _________ of the country: 85 percent. Those who think they're better off than five years ago: 70 _______. Those who expect the future to be better: a whopping 82 percent. Financial Times polls global youth attitudes, and these numbers, brand new, just came from last week. Ninety-three percent of China's Generation Y are optimistic about their country's future. Now, if this is not legitimacy, I'm not sure what is. In contrast, most electoral democracies around the world are suffering from dismal performance. I don't need to elaborate for this audience how dysfunctional it is, from Washington to European capitals. With a few exceptions, the vast number of developing countries that have adopted _________ regimes are still suffering from poverty and civil strife. Governments get elected, and then they fall below 50 percent approval in a few ______ and stay there and get worse until the next election. Democracy is becoming a _________ cycle of elect and ______. At this rate, I'm afraid it is democracy, not China's one-party system, that is in danger of losing legitimacy. Now, I don't want to ______ the misimpression that China's hunky-dory, on the way to some kind of superpowerdom. The _______ faces enormous challenges. The social and economic problems that come with wrenching change like this are mind-boggling. Pollution is one. Food safety. Population issues. On the political front, the _____ _______ is corruption. Corruption is __________ and __________ the system and its _____ legitimacy. But most analysts misdiagnose the disease. They say that corruption is the result of the one-party system, and therefore, in order to cure it, you have to do away with the entire system. But a more careful look would tell us otherwise. Transparency International ranks China between 70 and 80 in recent years among 170 countries, and it's been moving up. _____, the largest democracy in the world, 94 and dropping. For the hundred or so countries that are ranked below China, more than half of them are electoral ___________. So if ________ is the panacea for corruption, how come these countries can't fix it? Now, I'm a venture capitalist. I make bets. It wouldn't be fair to end this talk without putting myself on the line and making some predictions. So here they are. In the next 10 years, China will surpass the U.S. and become the _______ economy in the _____. Income per capita will be near the top of all developing countries. Corruption will be curbed, but not eliminated, and China will move up 10 to 20 _______ to above 60 in T.I. ranking. Economic reform will accelerate, political reform will continue, and the one-party system will hold firm. We live in the dusk of an era. Meta-narratives that make universal claims failed us in the 20th century and are failing us in the 21st. Meta-narrative is the cancer that is killing democracy from the inside. Now, I want to clarify something. I'm not here to make an __________ of democracy. On the contrary, I think democracy contributed to the rise of the West and the creation of the modern world. It is the universal claim that many Western elites are making about their political system, the ______, that is at the heart of the West's _______ ills. If they would spend just a little less time on trying to _____ their way onto others, and a little bit more on political reform at home, they might give their _________ a better ______. China's political model will never supplant electoral democracy, because unlike the latter, it doesn't pretend to be universal. It cannot be exported. But that is the point precisely. The significance of China's example is not that it provides an ___________, but the demonstration that alternatives exist. Let us draw to a close this era of meta-narratives. Communism and democracy may both be laudable ______, but the era of their dogmatic ____________ is over. Let us stop telling people and our children there's only one way to govern ourselves and a singular future towards which all societies must evolve. It is _____. It is irresponsible. And worst of all, it is ______. Let universality make way for plurality. Perhaps a more ___________ age is upon us. Are we _____ enough to welcome it? Thank you. (Applause) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thanks. Bruno Giussani: Eric, stay with me for a couple of _______, because I want to ask you a ______ of questions. I think many here, and in general in _______ _________, would agree with your statement about analysis of democratic systems becoming dysfunctional, but at the same time, many would kind of find unsettling the thought that there is an unelected authority that, without any form of oversight or ____________, _______ what the national interest is. What is the mechanism in the Chinese model that allows people to say, actually, the national interest as you _______ it is wrong? EXL: You know, Frank ________, the political scientist, called the Chinese system "responsive ________________." It's not exactly right, but I think it comes close. So I know the largest public opinion survey company in China, okay? Do you know who their _______ client is? The Chinese government. Not just from the central government, the city government, the provincial government, to the most local neighborhood districts. They conduct surveys all the time. Are you happy with the garbage __________? Are you happy with the general direction of the country? So there is, in China, there is a different kind of mechanism to be responsive to the demands and the thinking of the people. My _____ is, I think we should get unstuck from the thinking that there's only one political system — election, election, election — that could make it responsive. I'm not sure, actually, elections produce __________ government anymore in the world. (Applause) BG: Many seem to agree. One of the features of a democratic system is a _____ for civil society to _______ itself. And you have shown figures about the support that the government and the ___________ have in China. But then you've just mentioned other elements like, you know, big __________, and there are, of course, a lot of other data that go in a different direction: tens of _________ of unrests and protests and environmental ________, etc. So you seem to suggest the Chinese _____ doesn't have a space outside of the Party for civil society to express itself. EXL: There's a vibrant _____ society in China, whether it's environment or what-have-you. But it's different. You wouldn't recognize it. Because, by Western definitions, a so-called civil society has to be separate or even in opposition to the political system, but that _______ is alien for Chinese _______. For thousands of years, you have civil society, yet they are consistent and coherent and part of a political order, and I think it's a big ________ difference. BG: Eric, thank you for sharing this with TED. EXL: Thank you.

Solution

  1. upward
  2. foreign
  3. accumulate
  4. minutes
  5. party
  6. culture
  7. societies
  8. definition
  9. express
  10. laughter
  11. rotating
  12. stage
  13. developed
  14. characteristics
  15. moral
  16. western
  17. indictment
  18. couple
  19. largest
  20. college
  21. wrong
  22. country
  23. leaders
  24. tracks
  25. privilege
  26. members
  27. direction
  28. pyramid
  29. suggest
  30. department
  31. larger
  32. cultural
  33. revolution
  34. create
  35. inherently
  36. hubris
  37. illegitimate
  38. percent
  39. great
  40. protests
  41. humanity
  42. barack
  43. chief
  44. democracy
  45. undermines
  46. freedom
  47. bestseller
  48. typical
  49. order
  50. hippie
  51. facts
  52. model
  53. boring
  54. universalism
  55. ranks
  56. political
  57. winners
  58. months
  59. increasingly
  60. apparently
  61. politburo
  62. chinese
  63. corruption
  64. world
  65. running
  66. paths
  67. atomized
  68. interesting
  69. biggest
  70. grand
  71. india
  72. competitive
  73. ideals
  74. developing
  75. regret
  76. sooner
  77. tyranny
  78. levels
  79. fukuyama
  80. civil
  81. alternative
  82. basic
  83. reform
  84. amounted
  85. including
  86. force
  87. develop
  88. entered
  89. rational
  90. problem
  91. concept
  92. fundamental
  93. widespread
  94. manager
  95. growing
  96. career
  97. linear
  98. explained
  99. trillion
  100. people
  101. happily
  102. fifty
  103. assignment
  104. space
  105. multiple
  106. texas
  107. notches
  108. promoted
  109. background
  110. defined
  111. democracies
  112. program
  113. chance
  114. elites
  115. thousands
  116. collection
  117. point
  118. china
  119. perpetual
  120. authoritarianism
  121. video
  122. globe
  123. beginning
  124. worst
  125. elections
  126. countries
  127. organization
  128. standard
  129. grandmother
  130. believed
  131. rationed
  132. businesspeople
  133. brave
  134. challenges
  135. election
  136. system
  137. current
  138. decides
  139. responsive
  140. reviews
  141. authorities
  142. range
  143. years
  144. consultation
  145. electoral
  146. performance
  147. premier
  148. power
  149. population
  150. jiang
  151. stamps
  152. unimaginable
  153. careers

Original Text

Good morning. My name is Eric Li, and I was born here. But no, I wasn't born there. This was where I was born: Shanghai, at the height of the Cultural Revolution. My grandmother tells me that she heard the sound of gunfire along with my first cries. When I was growing up, I was told a story that explained all I ever needed to know about humanity. It went like this. All human societies develop in linear progression, beginning with primitive society, then slave society, feudalism, capitalism, socialism, and finally, guess where we end up? Communism! Sooner or later, all of humanity, regardless of culture, language, nationality, will arrive at this final stage of political and social development. The entire world's peoples will be unified in this paradise on Earth and live happily ever after. But before we get there, we're engaged in a struggle between good and evil, the good of socialism against the evil of capitalism, and the good shall triumph. That, of course, was the meta-narrative distilled from the theories of Karl Marx. And the Chinese bought it. We were taught that grand story day in and day out. It became part of us, and we believed in it. The story was a bestseller. About one third of the entire world's population lived under that meta-narrative. Then, the world changed overnight. As for me, disillusioned by the failed religion of my youth, I went to America and became a Berkeley hippie. (Laughter) Now, as I was coming of age, something else happened. As if one big story wasn't enough, I was told another one. This one was just as grand. It also claims that all human societies develop in a linear progression towards a singular end. This one went as follows: All societies, regardless of culture, be it Christian, Muslim, Confucian, must progress from traditional societies in which groups are the basic units to modern societies in which atomized individuals are the sovereign units, and all these individuals are, by definition, rational, and they all want one thing: the vote. Because they are all rational, once given the vote, they produce good government and live happily ever after. Paradise on Earth, again. Sooner or later, electoral democracy will be the only political system for all countries and all peoples, with a free market to make them all rich. But before we get there, we're engaged in a struggle between good and evil. (Laughter) The good belongs to those who are democracies and are charged with a mission of spreading it around the globe, sometimes by force, against the evil of those who do not hold elections. (Video) George H.W. Bush: A new world order... (Video) George W. Bush:... ending tyranny in our world... (Video) Barack Obama:... a single standard for all who would hold power. Eric X. Li: Now — (Laughter) (Applause) This story also became a bestseller. According to Freedom House, the number of democracies went from 45 in 1970 to 115 in 2010. In the last 20 years, Western elites tirelessly trotted around the globe selling this prospectus: Multiple parties fight for political power and everyone voting on them is the only path to salvation to the long-suffering developing world. Those who buy the prospectus are destined for success. Those who do not are doomed to fail. But this time, the Chinese didn't buy it. Fool me once... (Laughter) The rest is history. In just 30 years, China went from one of the poorest agricultural countries in the world to its second-largest economy. Six hundred fifty million people were lifted out of poverty. Eighty percent of the entire world's poverty alleviation during that period happened in China. In other words, all the new and old democracies put together amounted to a mere fraction of what a single, one-party state did without voting. See, I grew up on this stuff: food stamps. Meat was rationed to a few hundred grams per person per month at one point. Needless to say, I ate all my grandmother's portions. So I asked myself, what's wrong with this picture? Here I am in my hometown, my business growing leaps and bounds. Entrepreneurs are starting companies every day. Middle class is expanding in speed and scale unprecedented in human history. Yet, according to the grand story, none of this should be happening. So I went and did the only thing I could. I studied it. Yes, China is a one-party state run by the Chinese Communist Party, the Party, and they don't hold elections. Three assumptions are made by the dominant political theories of our time. Such a system is operationally rigid, politically closed, and morally illegitimate. Well, the assumptions are wrong. The opposites are true. Adaptability, meritocracy, and legitimacy are the three defining characteristics of China's one-party system. Now, most political scientists will tell us that a one-party system is inherently incapable of self-correction. It won't last long because it cannot adapt. Now here are the facts. In 64 years of running the largest country in the world, the range of the Party's policies has been wider than any other country in recent memory, from radical land collectivization to the Great Leap Forward, then privatization of farmland, then the Cultural Revolution, then Deng Xiaoping's market reform, then successor Jiang Zemin took the giant political step of opening up Party membership to private businesspeople, something unimaginable during Mao's rule. So the Party self-corrects in rather dramatic fashions. Institutionally, new rules get enacted to correct previous dysfunctions. For example, term limits. Political leaders used to retain their positions for life, and they used that to accumulate power and perpetuate their rules. Mao was the father of modern China, yet his prolonged rule led to disastrous mistakes. So the Party instituted term limits with mandatory retirement age of 68 to 70. One thing we often hear is, "Political reforms have lagged far behind economic reforms," and "China is in dire need of political reform." But this claim is a rhetorical trap hidden behind a political bias. See, some have decided a priori what kinds of changes they want to see, and only such changes can be called political reform. The truth is, political reforms have never stopped. Compared with 30 years ago, 20 years, even 10 years ago, every aspect of Chinese society, how the country is governed, from the most local level to the highest center, are unrecognizable today. Now such changes are simply not possible without political reforms of the most fundamental kind. Now I would venture to suggest the Party is the world's leading expert in political reform. The second assumption is that in a one-party state, power gets concentrated in the hands of the few, and bad governance and corruption follow. Indeed, corruption is a big problem, but let's first look at the larger context. Now, this may be counterintuitive to you. The Party happens to be one of the most meritocratic political institutions in the world today. China's highest ruling body, the Politburo, has 25 members. In the most recent one, only five of them came from a background of privilege, so-called princelings. The other 20, including the president and the premier, came from entirely ordinary backgrounds. In the larger central committee of 300 or more, the percentage of those who were born into power and wealth was even smaller. The vast majority of senior Chinese leaders worked and competed their way to the top. Compare that with the ruling elites in both developed and developing countries, I think you'll find the Party being near the top in upward mobility. The question then is, how could that be possible in a system run by one party? Now we come to a powerful political institution, little-known to Westerners: the Party's Organization Department. The department functions like a giant human resource engine that would be the envy of even some of the most successful corporations. It operates a rotating pyramid made up of three components: civil service, state-owned enterprises, and social organizations like a university or a community program. They form separate yet integrated career paths for Chinese officials. They recruit college grads into entry-level positions in all three tracks, and they start from the bottom, called "keyuan" [clerk]. Then they could get promoted through four increasingly elite ranks: fuke [deputy section manager], ke [section manager], fuchu [deputy division manager], and chu [division manger]. Now these are not moves from "Karate Kid," okay? It's serious business. The range of positions is wide, from running health care in a village to foreign investment in a city district to manager in a company. Once a year, the department reviews their performance. They interview their superiors, their peers, their subordinates. They vet their personal conduct. They conduct public opinion surveys. Then they promote the winners. Throughout their careers, these cadres can move through and out of all three tracks. Over time, the good ones move beyond the four base levels to the fuju [deputy bureau chief] and ju [bureau chief] levels. There, they enter high officialdom. By that point, a typical assignment will be to manage a district with a population in the millions or a company with hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Just to show you how competitive the system is, in 2012, there were 900,000 fuke and ke levels, 600,000 fuchu and chu levels, and only 40,000 fuju and ju levels. After the ju levels, the best few move further up several more ranks, and eventually make it to the Central Committee. The process takes two to three decades. Does patronage play a role? Yes, of course. But merit remains the fundamental driver. In essence, the Organization Department runs a modernized version of China's centuries-old mentoring system. China's new president, Xi Jinping, is the son of a former leader, which is very unusual, first of his kind to make the top job. Even for him, the career took 30 years. He started as a village manager, and by the time he entered the Politburo, he had managed areas with a total population of 150 million people and combined GDPs of 1.5 trillion U.S. dollars. Now, please don't get me wrong, okay? This is not a put-down of anyone. It's just a statement of fact. George W. Bush, remember him? This is not a put-down. (Laughter) Before becoming governor of Texas, or Barack Obama before running for president, could not make even a small county manager in China's system. Winston Churchill once said that democracy is a terrible system except for all the rest. Well, apparently he hadn't heard of the Organization Department. Now, Westerners always assume that multi-party election with universal suffrage is the only source of political legitimacy. I was asked once, "The Party wasn't voted in by election. Where is the source of legitimacy?" I said, "How about competency?" We all know the facts. In 1949, when the Party took power, China was mired in civil wars, dismembered by foreign aggression, average life expectancy at that time, 41 years old. Today, it's the second largest economy in the world, an industrial powerhouse, and its people live in increasing prosperity. Pew Research polls Chinese public attitudes, and here are the numbers in recent years. Satisfaction with the direction of the country: 85 percent. Those who think they're better off than five years ago: 70 percent. Those who expect the future to be better: a whopping 82 percent. Financial Times polls global youth attitudes, and these numbers, brand new, just came from last week. Ninety-three percent of China's Generation Y are optimistic about their country's future. Now, if this is not legitimacy, I'm not sure what is. In contrast, most electoral democracies around the world are suffering from dismal performance. I don't need to elaborate for this audience how dysfunctional it is, from Washington to European capitals. With a few exceptions, the vast number of developing countries that have adopted electoral regimes are still suffering from poverty and civil strife. Governments get elected, and then they fall below 50 percent approval in a few months and stay there and get worse until the next election. Democracy is becoming a perpetual cycle of elect and regret. At this rate, I'm afraid it is democracy, not China's one-party system, that is in danger of losing legitimacy. Now, I don't want to create the misimpression that China's hunky-dory, on the way to some kind of superpowerdom. The country faces enormous challenges. The social and economic problems that come with wrenching change like this are mind-boggling. Pollution is one. Food safety. Population issues. On the political front, the worst problem is corruption. Corruption is widespread and undermines the system and its moral legitimacy. But most analysts misdiagnose the disease. They say that corruption is the result of the one-party system, and therefore, in order to cure it, you have to do away with the entire system. But a more careful look would tell us otherwise. Transparency International ranks China between 70 and 80 in recent years among 170 countries, and it's been moving up. India, the largest democracy in the world, 94 and dropping. For the hundred or so countries that are ranked below China, more than half of them are electoral democracies. So if election is the panacea for corruption, how come these countries can't fix it? Now, I'm a venture capitalist. I make bets. It wouldn't be fair to end this talk without putting myself on the line and making some predictions. So here they are. In the next 10 years, China will surpass the U.S. and become the largest economy in the world. Income per capita will be near the top of all developing countries. Corruption will be curbed, but not eliminated, and China will move up 10 to 20 notches to above 60 in T.I. ranking. Economic reform will accelerate, political reform will continue, and the one-party system will hold firm. We live in the dusk of an era. Meta-narratives that make universal claims failed us in the 20th century and are failing us in the 21st. Meta-narrative is the cancer that is killing democracy from the inside. Now, I want to clarify something. I'm not here to make an indictment of democracy. On the contrary, I think democracy contributed to the rise of the West and the creation of the modern world. It is the universal claim that many Western elites are making about their political system, the hubris, that is at the heart of the West's current ills. If they would spend just a little less time on trying to force their way onto others, and a little bit more on political reform at home, they might give their democracy a better chance. China's political model will never supplant electoral democracy, because unlike the latter, it doesn't pretend to be universal. It cannot be exported. But that is the point precisely. The significance of China's example is not that it provides an alternative, but the demonstration that alternatives exist. Let us draw to a close this era of meta-narratives. Communism and democracy may both be laudable ideals, but the era of their dogmatic universalism is over. Let us stop telling people and our children there's only one way to govern ourselves and a singular future towards which all societies must evolve. It is wrong. It is irresponsible. And worst of all, it is boring. Let universality make way for plurality. Perhaps a more interesting age is upon us. Are we brave enough to welcome it? Thank you. (Applause) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thanks. Bruno Giussani: Eric, stay with me for a couple of minutes, because I want to ask you a couple of questions. I think many here, and in general in Western countries, would agree with your statement about analysis of democratic systems becoming dysfunctional, but at the same time, many would kind of find unsettling the thought that there is an unelected authority that, without any form of oversight or consultation, decides what the national interest is. What is the mechanism in the Chinese model that allows people to say, actually, the national interest as you defined it is wrong? EXL: You know, Frank Fukuyama, the political scientist, called the Chinese system "responsive authoritarianism." It's not exactly right, but I think it comes close. So I know the largest public opinion survey company in China, okay? Do you know who their biggest client is? The Chinese government. Not just from the central government, the city government, the provincial government, to the most local neighborhood districts. They conduct surveys all the time. Are you happy with the garbage collection? Are you happy with the general direction of the country? So there is, in China, there is a different kind of mechanism to be responsive to the demands and the thinking of the people. My point is, I think we should get unstuck from the thinking that there's only one political system — election, election, election — that could make it responsive. I'm not sure, actually, elections produce responsive government anymore in the world. (Applause) BG: Many seem to agree. One of the features of a democratic system is a space for civil society to express itself. And you have shown figures about the support that the government and the authorities have in China. But then you've just mentioned other elements like, you know, big challenges, and there are, of course, a lot of other data that go in a different direction: tens of thousands of unrests and protests and environmental protests, etc. So you seem to suggest the Chinese model doesn't have a space outside of the Party for civil society to express itself. EXL: There's a vibrant civil society in China, whether it's environment or what-have-you. But it's different. You wouldn't recognize it. Because, by Western definitions, a so-called civil society has to be separate or even in opposition to the political system, but that concept is alien for Chinese culture. For thousands of years, you have civil society, yet they are consistent and coherent and part of a political order, and I think it's a big cultural difference. BG: Eric, thank you for sharing this with TED. EXL: Thank you.

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
party system 5
political reform 5
civil society 5
political system 4
meta narrative 3
largest economy 3
party state 3
political reforms 3
developing countries 3
organization department 3

Important Words

  1. accelerate
  2. accumulate
  3. adapt
  4. adaptability
  5. adopted
  6. afraid
  7. age
  8. aggression
  9. agree
  10. agricultural
  11. alien
  12. alleviation
  13. alternative
  14. alternatives
  15. america
  16. amounted
  17. analysis
  18. analysts
  19. anymore
  20. apparently
  21. applause
  22. approval
  23. areas
  24. arrive
  25. asked
  26. aspect
  27. assignment
  28. assume
  29. assumption
  30. assumptions
  31. ate
  32. atomized
  33. attitudes
  34. audience
  35. authoritarianism
  36. authorities
  37. authority
  38. average
  39. background
  40. backgrounds
  41. bad
  42. barack
  43. base
  44. basic
  45. beginning
  46. believed
  47. belongs
  48. berkeley
  49. bestseller
  50. bets
  51. bias
  52. big
  53. biggest
  54. bit
  55. body
  56. boring
  57. born
  58. bottom
  59. bought
  60. bounds
  61. brand
  62. brave
  63. bruno
  64. bureau
  65. bush
  66. business
  67. businesspeople
  68. buy
  69. cadres
  70. called
  71. cancer
  72. capita
  73. capitalism
  74. capitalist
  75. capitals
  76. care
  77. career
  78. careers
  79. careful
  80. center
  81. central
  82. century
  83. challenges
  84. chance
  85. change
  86. changed
  87. characteristics
  88. charged
  89. chief
  90. children
  91. china
  92. chinese
  93. christian
  94. chu
  95. churchill
  96. city
  97. civil
  98. claim
  99. claims
  100. clarify
  101. class
  102. clerk
  103. client
  104. close
  105. closed
  106. coherent
  107. collection
  108. collectivization
  109. college
  110. combined
  111. coming
  112. committee
  113. communism
  114. communist
  115. community
  116. companies
  117. company
  118. compare
  119. compared
  120. competed
  121. competency
  122. competitive
  123. concentrated
  124. concept
  125. conduct
  126. confucian
  127. consistent
  128. consultation
  129. context
  130. continue
  131. contrary
  132. contrast
  133. contributed
  134. corporations
  135. correct
  136. corruption
  137. counterintuitive
  138. countries
  139. country
  140. county
  141. couple
  142. create
  143. creation
  144. cries
  145. cultural
  146. culture
  147. curbed
  148. cure
  149. current
  150. cycle
  151. danger
  152. data
  153. day
  154. decades
  155. decided
  156. decides
  157. defined
  158. defining
  159. definition
  160. definitions
  161. demands
  162. democracies
  163. democracy
  164. democratic
  165. demonstration
  166. deng
  167. department
  168. deputy
  169. destined
  170. develop
  171. developed
  172. developing
  173. development
  174. difference
  175. dire
  176. direction
  177. disastrous
  178. disease
  179. disillusioned
  180. dismal
  181. dismembered
  182. distilled
  183. district
  184. districts
  185. division
  186. dogmatic
  187. dollars
  188. dominant
  189. doomed
  190. dramatic
  191. draw
  192. driver
  193. dropping
  194. dusk
  195. dysfunctional
  196. dysfunctions
  197. earth
  198. economic
  199. economy
  200. elaborate
  201. elect
  202. elected
  203. election
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  205. electoral
  206. elements
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  208. elite
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  210. enacted
  211. engaged
  212. engine
  213. enormous
  214. enter
  215. entered
  216. enterprises
  217. entire
  218. entrepreneurs
  219. environment
  220. environmental
  221. envy
  222. era
  223. eric
  224. essence
  225. european
  226. eventually
  227. evil
  228. evolve
  229. exceptions
  230. exist
  231. expanding
  232. expect
  233. expectancy
  234. expert
  235. explained
  236. exported
  237. express
  238. faces
  239. fact
  240. facts
  241. fail
  242. failed
  243. failing
  244. fair
  245. fall
  246. farmland
  247. fashions
  248. father
  249. features
  250. feudalism
  251. fifty
  252. fight
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  255. finally
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  257. find
  258. firm
  259. fix
  260. follow
  261. food
  262. fool
  263. force
  264. foreign
  265. form
  266. fraction
  267. frank
  268. free
  269. freedom
  270. front
  271. fuchu
  272. fuju
  273. fuke
  274. fukuyama
  275. functions
  276. fundamental
  277. future
  278. garbage
  279. gdps
  280. general
  281. generation
  282. george
  283. giant
  284. give
  285. global
  286. globe
  287. good
  288. govern
  289. governance
  290. governed
  291. government
  292. governments
  293. governor
  294. grads
  295. grams
  296. grand
  297. grandmother
  298. great
  299. grew
  300. groups
  301. growing
  302. guess
  303. gunfire
  304. hands
  305. happened
  306. happening
  307. happily
  308. happy
  309. health
  310. hear
  311. heard
  312. heart
  313. height
  314. hidden
  315. high
  316. highest
  317. hippie
  318. history
  319. hold
  320. home
  321. hometown
  322. house
  323. hubris
  324. human
  325. humanity
  326. hundreds
  327. ideals
  328. illegitimate
  329. ills
  330. incapable
  331. including
  332. income
  333. increasing
  334. increasingly
  335. india
  336. indictment
  337. individuals
  338. industrial
  339. inherently
  340. instituted
  341. institution
  342. institutionally
  343. institutions
  344. integrated
  345. interest
  346. interesting
  347. international
  348. interview
  349. investment
  350. irresponsible
  351. issues
  352. jiang
  353. jinping
  354. job
  355. ju
  356. karl
  357. ke
  358. kid
  359. killing
  360. kind
  361. kinds
  362. lagged
  363. land
  364. language
  365. larger
  366. largest
  367. laudable
  368. laughter
  369. leader
  370. leaders
  371. leading
  372. leap
  373. leaps
  374. led
  375. legitimacy
  376. level
  377. levels
  378. li
  379. life
  380. lifted
  381. limits
  382. line
  383. linear
  384. live
  385. lived
  386. local
  387. long
  388. losing
  389. lot
  390. majority
  391. making
  392. manage
  393. managed
  394. manager
  395. mandatory
  396. manger
  397. mao
  398. market
  399. marx
  400. meat
  401. mechanism
  402. members
  403. membership
  404. memory
  405. mentioned
  406. mentoring
  407. mere
  408. merit
  409. meritocracy
  410. meritocratic
  411. middle
  412. million
  413. millions
  414. minutes
  415. mired
  416. misdiagnose
  417. misimpression
  418. mission
  419. mistakes
  420. mobility
  421. model
  422. modern
  423. modernized
  424. month
  425. months
  426. moral
  427. morally
  428. morning
  429. move
  430. moves
  431. moving
  432. multiple
  433. muslim
  434. national
  435. nationality
  436. needed
  437. needless
  438. neighborhood
  439. notches
  440. number
  441. numbers
  442. obama
  443. officialdom
  444. officials
  445. opening
  446. operates
  447. operationally
  448. opinion
  449. opposites
  450. opposition
  451. optimistic
  452. order
  453. ordinary
  454. organization
  455. organizations
  456. overnight
  457. oversight
  458. panacea
  459. paradise
  460. part
  461. parties
  462. party
  463. path
  464. paths
  465. patronage
  466. peers
  467. people
  468. peoples
  469. percent
  470. percentage
  471. performance
  472. period
  473. perpetual
  474. perpetuate
  475. person
  476. personal
  477. pew
  478. picture
  479. play
  480. plurality
  481. point
  482. policies
  483. politburo
  484. political
  485. politically
  486. polls
  487. pollution
  488. poorest
  489. population
  490. portions
  491. positions
  492. poverty
  493. power
  494. powerful
  495. powerhouse
  496. precisely
  497. predictions
  498. premier
  499. president
  500. pretend
  501. previous
  502. primitive
  503. princelings
  504. priori
  505. private
  506. privatization
  507. privilege
  508. problem
  509. problems
  510. process
  511. produce
  512. program
  513. progress
  514. progression
  515. prolonged
  516. promote
  517. promoted
  518. prospectus
  519. prosperity
  520. protests
  521. provincial
  522. public
  523. put
  524. putting
  525. pyramid
  526. question
  527. questions
  528. radical
  529. range
  530. ranked
  531. ranking
  532. ranks
  533. rate
  534. rational
  535. rationed
  536. recognize
  537. recruit
  538. reform
  539. reforms
  540. regimes
  541. regret
  542. religion
  543. remains
  544. remember
  545. research
  546. resource
  547. responsive
  548. rest
  549. result
  550. retain
  551. retirement
  552. revenue
  553. reviews
  554. revolution
  555. rhetorical
  556. rich
  557. rigid
  558. rise
  559. role
  560. rotating
  561. rule
  562. rules
  563. ruling
  564. run
  565. running
  566. runs
  567. safety
  568. salvation
  569. satisfaction
  570. scale
  571. scientist
  572. scientists
  573. section
  574. selling
  575. senior
  576. separate
  577. service
  578. shanghai
  579. sharing
  580. show
  581. shown
  582. significance
  583. simply
  584. single
  585. singular
  586. slave
  587. small
  588. smaller
  589. social
  590. socialism
  591. societies
  592. society
  593. son
  594. sooner
  595. sound
  596. source
  597. sovereign
  598. space
  599. speed
  600. spend
  601. spreading
  602. stage
  603. stamps
  604. standard
  605. start
  606. started
  607. starting
  608. state
  609. statement
  610. stay
  611. step
  612. stop
  613. stopped
  614. story
  615. strife
  616. struggle
  617. studied
  618. subordinates
  619. success
  620. successful
  621. successor
  622. suffering
  623. suffrage
  624. suggest
  625. superiors
  626. superpowerdom
  627. supplant
  628. support
  629. surpass
  630. survey
  631. surveys
  632. system
  633. systems
  634. takes
  635. talk
  636. taught
  637. ted
  638. telling
  639. tells
  640. tens
  641. term
  642. terrible
  643. texas
  644. theories
  645. thinking
  646. thought
  647. thousands
  648. time
  649. times
  650. tirelessly
  651. today
  652. told
  653. top
  654. total
  655. tracks
  656. traditional
  657. transparency
  658. trap
  659. trillion
  660. triumph
  661. trotted
  662. true
  663. truth
  664. typical
  665. tyranny
  666. undermines
  667. unelected
  668. unified
  669. unimaginable
  670. units
  671. universal
  672. universalism
  673. universality
  674. university
  675. unprecedented
  676. unrecognizable
  677. unrests
  678. unsettling
  679. unstuck
  680. unusual
  681. upward
  682. vast
  683. venture
  684. version
  685. vet
  686. vibrant
  687. video
  688. village
  689. vote
  690. voted
  691. voting
  692. wars
  693. washington
  694. wealth
  695. week
  696. west
  697. western
  698. westerners
  699. whopping
  700. wide
  701. wider
  702. widespread
  703. winners
  704. winston
  705. words
  706. worked
  707. world
  708. worse
  709. worst
  710. wrenching
  711. wrong
  712. xi
  713. year
  714. years
  715. youth
  716. zemin