03 November 2012

"To get ahead here you have to be corrupt or have connections"

Chinese professionals are growing wary of what may come in the future. They are beginning to pick up and leave the country in unprecedented numbers. Unsure of their fates in new and strange lands, they only know that China cannot offer them what they need.
“We don’t feel that China is suitable for people like us,” Ms. Wang said... “To get ahead here you have to be corrupt or have connections; we prefer a stable life.”

...At 30, Chen Kuo had what many Chinese dream of: her own apartment and a well-paying job at a multinational corporation. But in mid-October, Ms. Chen boarded a midnight flight for Australia to begin a new life with no sure prospects...

...Like hundreds of thousands of Chinese who leave each year, she was driven by an overriding sense that she could do better outside China. Despite China’s tremendous economic successes in recent years, she was lured by Australia’s healthier environment, robust social services and the freedom to start a family in a country that guarantees religious freedoms.

...Few emigrants from China cite politics, but it underlies many of their concerns. They talk about a development-at-all-costs strategy that has ruined the environment, as well as a deteriorating social and moral fabric that makes China feel like a chillier place than when they were growing up. Over all, there is a sense that despite all the gains in recent decades, China’s political and social trajectory is still highly uncertain.

“People who are middle class in China don’t feel secure for their future and especially for their children’s future,” said Cao Cong, an associate professor at the University of Nottingham who has studied Chinese migration. “They don’t think the political situation is stable.”

Most migrants seem to see a foreign passport as insurance against the worst-case scenario rather than as a complete abandonment of China. _NYT
They are leaving China in record numbers, off to live in Canada, Australia, Europe, the US, New Zealand, Singapore, . . . . somewhere with opportunity, freedom, and perhaps a bit less corruption. Note that none of the migrants interviewed by the NYT listed Russia as their destination.

China's leaders, their families, and friends, have gotten very wealthy under the current CCP regime. But they are few, and the Chinese are almost a billion and half people. Instability and popular unrest could crop up very quickly and "unexpectedly."
The [man] tipped to be anointed China’s new president when the unelected and self-replicating Communist Party leadership meets on Nov. 8 is a shadowy geezer by the name of Xi Jinping. His family has amassed about $400 million in a wealth trajectory that by the oddest coincidence mirrors Comrade Xi’s rise through party ranks. But that’s nothing. By the meticulous reckoning of a Pulitzer-worthy New York Times investigation published last week, the family of outgoing Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has accrued to itself a net worth of nearly $3 billion. _TC
China's CCP leaders understand that they must make an effort to control the public image of corruption in the top party ranks. The perception of corruption has led to the toppling of Chinese governments in the past.
The Communist Party knows its history: one of the many compelling reasons it originally came to power over the Kuomintang was the latter's wide spread corruption, a burden born by rural Chinese in particular. Today's leaders in China know that they can ill afford to turn a blind eye forever on corruption; it took down their predecessors, and it could also curtail their leadership. Income inequality remains a major source of insecurity. The Pew report notes "... there is a general consensus in China that the economic gains of recent years have not benefited everyone equally." In what is coming to be a common refrain not only in China, but in the United States as well, Pew found "81% [of Chinese] agree with the statement the 'rich just get richer while the poor get poorer,' and 45% completely agree." (emphasis original) This has obvious implications to the future of economic reform in China.

If the next group of China's leadership is not able to illustrate how additional capitalist reforms empower the individual and set in motion greater economic equality, it will be difficult for the trajectory of China's anticipated reform to match what the West has long hoped to see. _AT

You see the fix China's leaders are in? Hint: Bad loans, shoddy construction, failing state owned enterprises, poisoned air, water, soil, food, etc etc.

Without economic reforms, the China gravy train may well go off the rails and crash. Economic growth would slow or stop. If that happens, the people of China in their unemployed poverty will be very unhappy with their corrupt and wealthy leaders.

But if economic reforms are enacted, saving the Chinese boom, hundreds of leaders and their cronies -- who have gotten very rich from the way things are -- will speed up the rate of capital flight out of the country, leaving many reasonable facsimiles of rusted, crumbling, polluted, ghost infrastructures in their wake. And all that corruption will be very difficult to cover up.

China's leaders must quietly keep the corrupt kleptocrats and their cronies happy, while at the same time gainfully employing enough of China's people to keep them from rebelling.

Meanwhile, the trickle of middle class professionals leaving China is growing to a significant stream. And the stream of the wealthy classes along with the corrupt classes who were already leaving China, could easily grow into a river -- taking their wealth and gold with them as much as possible.

Could anyone have predicted all this? Good question. More on that later.


Stealth power grab at the top of China's government

More on China corruption and resulting popular unrest

500 riots and demonstrations every day in China There are chaotic forces at play. Be careful.


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Blogger Matt M said...

Sounds like what you need to be (corrupt or connected) when you apply for a job at the ABC stores in North Carolina.

Monday, 05 November, 2012  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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