In the past few years, the term “China Model” has been widely discussed among intellectuals in China, and is now slowly spreading to other developing countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa. In short, the China Model is a system of government that is based upon economic freedom and political repression.
However, the implementation of the model within China varies from region to region. Recently on Public Consensus Net, there was a special feature comparing the model as implemented in Guangdong and Chongqing in four major areas: politics, economics, culture and public policy. Below is a translation of the major points of the feature:
Politics: The relationship between people and government
In terms of politics, Chongqing has caught everyone's attention in the past two years. However, it takes a strong and authoritative government to allocate resources and launch such a political campaign. It may undermine the judicial system. After the Li Zhuang case, the legal sector trembled and questioned the intervention of the administration in the judicial system, undermining the independence of the judiciary.
Guangdong: Liberate thought, stress innovation of state governance
Guangdong stresses that development should be guided by the principle of people's happiness and advocates a self-governing society. In recent year, a number of reforms have been introduced in the Guangdong region: the Guangzhou city government has adopted an open and transparent government budget; Shunde has encouraged more interaction between the government and the party; Heyuan and Weizhou have gathered opinions from the internet; Shenzhen has experimented with internal democracy within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP); Guangdong has introduced the idea of “diversity in social governance”. Guangdong Party leader, Wang Yang's emphasis on rule by law fits into the above-mentioned reforms, which are summed up by the term “Guangdong model”. A representative from the People's Congress has said that Chinese democracy lies in the system of People's Congress, and Guangdong is on the frontline of the People's Congress reform.
After Wang Yang visited Germany, he advocated the liberation of thought as the core value of the “Guangdong model”.
Economics: Market or government
Wang Yang believes that Guangdong should prioritize social development, in particular focus on people's livelihood. In order to make the economic cake bigger, economic development is still at the core; the emphasis is not on how to cut the cake but making it bigger. Huang Huahua, the head of the Guangdong province, believes the issue of “fairness” should be put aside, with economic development the core instead. Efficiency and fairness are contradictory. Economic construction and development is more important than fair and reasonable distribution.
Although the Guangdong model stills follow the principle of the China model, it has introduced some new elements. Scholar of political science Shao Bing has pointed out that when compared with Chongqing model, Guangdong follows the market mechanism to relieve the stress within the China Model.
Chongqing: Policy to protect “fairness”
Chinese reform has been guided by the market mechanism which has had moments of failure. It can't solve many social problems, such as environmental protection and the divide between the rich and the poor. There are three major grievances in China nowadays: expensive housing, lack of health care, and high education expenses. The Chongqing model attempts to address the above problems.
Chongqing is the first city to collect property tax and introduce a public housing policy in order to cool down the overheated property market. Moreover, it has also introduced household registration reforms, monitored the food and medicine markets and put forward the principle of the redistribution of wealth.
Culture: Red vs. blue
In terms of culture, the Chongqing satellite TV has changed its output radically. It has stopped broadcasting commercials and reduced soap operas and externally produced programs. At the same time, it has increased news reports, cultural programs and public welfare ads. The Chongqing broadcast bureau has produced a series of shows to improve the city's image, society's morals, family values and public welfare. All these programs are shown during and between movies and soap operas.
Chongqing has re-introduced the legacy of the revolution and changed its golden TV channel into a red channel. In the midst of this campaign of red culture, some are worried that it could trigger the political culture of the Cultural Revolution, but others claim that that the red culture campaign is merely propaganda.
Guangdong: Courageous media
Guangdong has a very open culture. Thanks to the influence of the Southern Media Corporation, people are very expressive. Media in Guangdong has played an important role in monitoring the government. During a gathering of media workers in 2007, the city party secretary Zhu Xiaodang said, “Good public opinion and monitoring comes with criticism and suggestions. The media can improve governance by monitoring the government, reflecting public opinion and making constructive suggestions. In a nutshell, monitoring by the public can help us to correct our mistakes.”
The open culture in Guangdong has a historical background. Guangdong has been a center of revolutionary thought since the late Qing Dynasty, and a experimental field for the revolution. Even the economic reform began in Guangdong. Moreover, Guangdong is geographically near to Hong Kong and Macau, so new ideas enter the region very quickly. If the color of Chongqin is red, Guangdong is represented by the color of the ocean – blue.
Public policy: Democracy or people's livelihood
Guangdong is among the first regions to engage with citizens through the internet. The party secretary Wang Yang and the head of the province Huang Huahua have interacted directly with netizens and listened to their opinions. Moreover, Guangzhou city encourages representatives of the People's Congress to organize investigative tours concerning city management. The Steering Committee of the People's Congress can demand the government answer questions that people are concerned about…
In Guangzhou, there is a large population of citizens that believes in democracy and cares about public affair. They show their concern for public affairs peacefully, rationally and legally.
Chongqing: People's livelihood is the path
Bo Xilai once said, “If development cannot improve livelihood, it is not ‘the path', it is a ‘dead end'.” The policy of “Five Chongqing” is all about people's livelihood: “Forest Chongqing” is to build a green city; “Unblocked Chongqing” is to clear the roads of traffic jams; “Safe Chongqing” is to develop a sense of security in people's lives, property and family life; “Healthy Chongqing” is to develop healthcare for children and the elderly; “Livable Chongqing” is to provide cheap and good quality housing for middle- and lower-income people.
So much for the description of the two models; let's take a look at how ordinary people have reacted to the comparison in Weibo's discussion thread:
ly-1983 2个模式 2个人 2个背后集团(38分鐘前)
昊戈 不同意你的观点。不存在模式之争。是领导的政治资本之争。薄少爷在大连搞城市建设。来重庆打黑除恶唱红歌，是因为重庆穷山恶水没得可搞不得已而为之，他去广东也搞经济，唱红歌不犯傻逼吗。广东的领导去重庆也是照方抓药。(今天 12:01)
江门大南瓜 我在广东干了几年，感受到一条毛的民主，“广东相对更民主”这种口号也不知道什么时候吹出去的，官僚、专制作风一点不比内地弱。(今天 11:47)
杨乾武 双方若是实事求是，从地域具体情况出发，探索改革之路，殊途同归，无可非议，都有理。原本就不可能一刀切，统一行动。但若还是依赖官本位，神马都是一把手拍脑袋说了算，甚至神化个人，那所谓XX模式恐怕仍然只是忽悠。(今天 11:37)
火焰山之虎 我从来不信专制可以给民众公平！我也从来不信靠某个官员可以让百姓幸福！(今天 11:33)
无敌豌豆 政府说民主就是民主，政府说和谐就和谐，真正人民感受到了吗？(今天 11:26)
程远征 没有民主何谈民生，没有民生就是奢谈民主，这是一对孪生兄弟，谁也离不开谁。想分开谈的人都是另有打算，用些美好的字眼做幌子而已。重庆真的注重民生就不会把钱花在唱红上，不如多关心教育医疗就业。广东如果真注重民主就不该有那些暴动和强拆，不该有深圳大运会无视民权的那些荒唐事件。(今天 10:52)