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It's The Economy Stupid, Youth in China Have Experienced Economic & Social Growth without Democracy

NIKKEIAsia December 12, 2021 05:00 JST OPINION “Why young Chinese have so little interest in democracy” “Economic well-being matters a lot more than the right to vote” By Zhou Xin-”is co-founder of Yicai Global, chief Hong Kong correspondent for Shanghai TV, a business editor with CBN and associate editor-in-chief of Caixin Media”


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Young Chinese trends-Only 23% of young women are ready to wed, 54% of young people “neither support nor oppose” marriage. Does this align them with “youngsters everywhere” reacting to climate change, COVID and a general sense “that we are living in a world hell-bent on destroying itself…” “Or is this an extension of fatalism spawned by China’s ‘lying flat’ movement-a checking out due to the sense that working hard doesn’t lead to a substantially improved life.


These data come from a survey by Yicai Global of more than 2,200 people that reveal that young people are “far more comfortable with marital infidelity, maintaining multiple sexual partners and same-sex relationships.” Missing in the data is any preference for democracy that “Western media” concludes is caused by “China suppressing free speech and brainwashing people through its education system.”


Why no apparent call for democracy among the 208,000,000 young Chinese?


As the survey shows young Chinese aren’t embracing all teachings certainly as it relates to social practices, so brainwashing isn’t a singular explanation. Compared to their parent’s generation, younger Chinese have been experiencing a different Chinese Communist Party (CCP) one that is organized socially by “well trained party elites” who combine “social administration with flexibility that offers clear answers on future economic growth” that nonetheless sticks with the CCP’s “founding principles and goals.”


Of course these youngsters have seen the result of the CCP’s efforts-incredible economic development (GDP of $16.2 trillion in 2020 versus one-tenth of that in 2000), social compromise on “same-sex” marriage for example and even the tolerance for social unrest when largely justified, for example in response to “an environmental incident.” In that latter example, “the officials involved are dealt with promptly, and the public is kept up to date with details on how the government will respond, nipping potential protests in the bud.”


Times are good, but the remarkable economic success, “that is almost 75% connected to the U.S.”, still falls short when considering standard-of-living. Only a tenth of the Chinese population have a per capita GDP greater than $20,000 versus “the whole of the U.S…[is] just over $63,000.” And this ties back to the “lying flat” youth as they want more for their effort and achievement. At least the CCP must keep the engine running or face “consequences.” So it is the economic issues that “Biden and other Western democratic leaders must answer before they can expect China’s youth to pay attention to the idea of democracy or their “democracy summit.”



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