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China Model in Two Different Cities

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

The skyline of Chongqing city by Flickr user sanfamedia.com (CC BY-ND 2.0)

重庆:唱红打黑 强化大政府的管理机制
且看政治层面,重庆唱红打黑无疑在过去的一两年里赚足了眼球。然而,唱红打黑的背后是一个强政府的存在,这些都需要一个权力较为集中的政府,需要政府能调动各种资源,保持一定而持续的社会动员力。而这有可能对司法权构成挑战,所以,在李庄案发生后,引起了法律界的一片哗然,法律界怀疑行政权对司法权进行了干涉,这无疑危及了法律界所念兹在兹的“司法独立”。
另外,重庆恢复共产党的群众路线,重庆在全市机关干部中组织开展“三进三同”、“结穷亲”和“大下访”三项活动,按照中央部署唱红打黑,扫除腐败,让共产党重新获得最大多数人民的拥护。 因此,重庆模式可以说是部分地回归原有体制,以此缓解当下的社会冲突。

广东:思想解放 强调国家治理体系创新
政治方面,广东强调社会发展要以幸福为导向,提倡社会自治。近年来,广东各地在不同层面进行了广泛的改革,包括广州政府的预算公开化、顺德的“党政联动”大部制改革、河源与惠州的网络问政、深圳党内民主的试点以及广东最近提出的社会管理中的“多元共治”等。汪洋对于法治的强调,也是合乎上述变革之逻辑的,这些就构成了一个取向鲜明的“广东模式”。 曾有人大代表说,中国的民主制度主要体现在人大制度,而广东一直处在中国人大制度改革的最前沿。
汪洋访德之后,大力提倡思想解放,就是要赋予“广东模式”以政治、文化与精神的内涵。

Chongqing: Sing red songs and crack down on mafias, strengthen government control 

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”.

Guangzhou and Pearl River by Flickr user sanfamedia.com (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Economics: Market or government

广东:注重市场机制
汪洋认为,广东现在要把社会建设摆在重要位置,尤其强调要注重民生问题。但是要做大蛋糕仍然是要以经济建设为中心,就是说分蛋糕不是重点工作,做蛋糕是重点;广东省长黄华华认为当前一些提出是不是要以“公平”为中心的舆论不合时宜,还是要以经济发展为中心,效率与公平是对立的,经济建设、经济发展、经济效率比社会公平、分配合理更重要。
就广东模式而言,虽然也在中国模式的框架之下运行,但这一模式的重点并非固守旧有的元素,而是试图增加新的元素。政治学者肖滨认为,相比重庆模式,广东模式更因循市场逻辑的发展,并试图去缓解中国模式内部的紧张性,推动中国模式按照市场运行的逻辑向前发展。

重庆:政令护“公平”
中国的改革开放尽管是摸着石头过河,但却一直是以市场化为导向的,但市场并不是万能的,不仅在经济领域常常失效,对许多社会问题更不能提供解决之道:如环境保护、贫富差距。今天在中国形成的三大民怨:高房价、看病难、教育负担。重庆模式可谓是针对这些问题提出的解决方法,以此促进民生。
重庆率先征收房产税,而后又推出保障房政策,以期为虚火上身、高烧不退的房地产市场降温 。此外,还进行民生户籍改革,加强食品医药管理,也提出了要调整收入分配,实现共同富裕的目标。

Guangdong: Market mechanism 

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

重庆:红色的频道
文化方面,重庆卫视全面改版。改版后,重庆卫视不再播出商业广告,并将减少电视剧和外购外包节目,同时增加新闻节目、自办文化栏目、公益广告和公益宣传片。重庆广电集团将策划制作一大批符合频道定位、展示重庆城市形象、倡导社会公德职业道德家庭美德等方面的公益广告和宣传片。此类公益广告和宣传片将不在单个节目或电影、电视剧中插播,而是安排在各档节目之间适当播出。
重庆已然继承了革命的、大众的文化传统,甚至黄金频道都改成了红色频道,对于这种重庆上下一片红的壮观景象,有人警惕的认为有文革遗风,也有人认为仅仅是宣扬主旋律而已。

广东:媒体的胆量
广东在文化方面的开放则为其他地方所不及,所谓“南方报系”影响范围极广,充分继承和发扬了敢想、敢说、敢做的“领头羊精神”。国内的纸媒中,数广东的媒体最不吝啬舆论监督。07年的一次新闻界联谊会上,广州市委书记朱小丹说,“好的舆论监督是连带批评和建议一起出来的。对于政府工作中的问题,老百姓怎么看,媒体出出主意,这对政府本身就是推动。一句话,加强舆论监督,可以使我们不至于盲目,不至于懈怠,不至于失职。”
广东的开放在自有其历史渊源,晚清时期广东就是革命的思想策源地,也是革命在实践上的试验场,改革开放也是在广东打响了第一枪;此外,加之广州经济的发达和距离港澳的有地利之便,思想新风容易传入。如果说重庆的颜色是红色的话,那么,至少在思想文化上,广东则呈现出海洋文明所特有的蓝色。

Chongqing: the red channel 

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

广东:民主才是硬道理
广东首开网络问政的先河,省委书记汪洋、省长黄华华率先触网,在网络上与网友互动,直接交流,听取民意。同时,广州市人大创新人大代表视察制度,规定人大代表可以自发相约调研。此外,广州市人大明确常委会可以对代表和人民群众普遍关心的问题,开展专题询问和质询…
广州还涌现了一大批具有强烈的现代民主意识、鲜明的现代民主观念的现代公民,他们关注公共事务,并且依法、和平、理性地表达他们对公共事务的关注。

重庆:民生才是硬道理
薄熙来曾强调:“如果发展不能改善民生,那就不是‘硬道理’,而是‘没道理’。”“五个重庆”,个个都紧扣民生——“森林重庆”是为了让老百姓多吸氧,“畅通重庆”要让主城不塞车、乡村有油路,“平安重庆”要让群众的人身、财产和家庭安全有保障,“健康重庆”要让孩子长得壮、老人能长寿,“宜居重庆”要让全市百姓,特别是中低收入的市民都有房住,而且环境好。

Guangdong: Democracy is the path 

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.

Netizens’ comments

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:

大兴一叶孤帆 半斤对八两,不要心存幻想。(21分鐘前)

大兴一叶孤帆 : They are the same, don't you imagine too much.

ly-1983 2个模式 2个人 2个背后集团(38分鐘前)

ly-1983 : Two models, two persons, two power blocs behind them.

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)

昊戈 : I disagree with you. There is no struggle between the two models. They are just the political capital of the leaders. Prince Bo carried out so many developmental projects when he was in Dalian; now that he is in Chongqing, he is cracking down on the mafia and singing red songs. It is because Chongqing has little space for development. If he were in Guangdong he would also stress economic development rather than singing those stupid red songs. The same choice would be made by the Guangdong leaders if they moved to Chongqing.

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)

江门大南瓜 : I have lived in Guangdong for many years and can't see any sign of democracy here. The slogan “Guangdong is relatively democratic” is totally groundless: same authoritative rule, same bureaucracy.

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)

杨乾武 : If they have addressed the real problems and have come up with paths to reform, even though the paths differ, it doesn't matter. There is no one single strategy. However, if the solution relies on the decision of the leaders, the so-called models are just pure lies.

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)

火焰山之虎 : I have never believed that authoritarianism can give people fairness. I have never believed some leaders can give people happiness.

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)

无敌豌豆 : The government says democracy, there comes democracy. The government says harmony, there comes harmony. Can people really experience it?

cq姚伟 不管白猫黑猫,能抓到老鼠的就是好猫。广东重庆模式敦优敦劣,三十年后自然有一个公断。

cq姚伟 : It doesn't matter if the cat is white or black, a cat capable of catching rats is a good cat. In 30 years, we will see which model is better.

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)

程远征 : Without democracy there is no way to improve people's livelihood. Without taking care of people's livelihood, democracy has lost its meaning. The two are twins and cannot be separated. There are some political calculations to discuss the two separately. If Chongqing really cared about people's livelihoods, it wouldn't waste so much money on the red campaign and would invest more in education, healthcare and employment. If Guangdong really cared about democracy, we wouldn't have so many riots and forced demolitions. And the most ridiculous Shenzhen Universiade 2011.

古道西风0427 我想自己做自己的主,不想做猪。

古道西风0427 : I just want to be my own master and don't want to be a pig.

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