Inter Se Anatomy of Two Giants

Sino-Indian Relations - 3

Continued from “The Hegemonic and Belligerent Nation”

Having said earlier in the context of the military and diplomatic standoff on Doklam that China lacks the diplomatic disposition, decorum and finesse while dealing the contentious issues with other sovereign nations, one would wonder what makes them to use so crude, aggressive and offensive language to justify their position before the international and domestic audience. The answer perhaps lies in the hegemonic, belligerent and arrogant approach of the authoritarian leadership in a closed Chinese society traditionally deprived of the fundamental rights and freedom of expression, a major roadblock in human development. To appreciate this, one needs to have a comparative study of the major physical and philosophical attributes of the two giant Asian nations - China hovering on an authoritatrian regime and India nurturing democratic values.

Geographic and Demographic Diversity

China has one party system and is officially known as the People's Republic of China (PRC). The Communist Party of China is the sole and all powerful party of this huge unitary sovereign country in East Asia. With a total area of approximately 9.6 million square kilometres (3.7 million square miles), it is the world's second-largest country by land area and third or fourth-largest by total area. Different sources such as Encyclopaedia Britannica, UN Demographic Yearbook etc. compile data on geography, as also on demography, periodically based on certain defined parameters of measurement for the land area and total area. Accordingly, in Land Area Russia, China, USA and Canada are considered as four largest in the same order while in Total Area Russia, Canada, China and USA appear as four largest countries in that order - with certain riders on 3rd or 4th spot.

India (Hindi: Bharat) is officially called a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic and has a multi-party governance. The Indian National Congress and Bhartiya Janta Party are two largest national parties besides a large number of other smaller national and regional parties with limited presence or influence over a state or region. Located in South Asia with an area of approximately 3.29 million square kilometres (1.27 million square miles), the Indian Republic is seventh largest country in the world.

China also has the longest land border of over 22,100 km sharing its boundaries with fourteen countries namely India, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan (through POK), Afghanistan, Russia, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. It shares maritime boundaries with Japan, Vietnam, Philippines and South Korea. It also happens to be only country in the world having maximum numbers of land and maritime disputes with its neighbours. India has a land frontier of about 15,200 km and coastline of 7,517 km. It effectively shares land borders with six countries (sans Afghanistan due to POK) namely Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh. Its nearest maritime neighbours are Sri Lanka and Maldives while it shares maritime boundaries with Indonesia and Thailand through the Union Territory of Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

China continues to be the most populous country of the world despite having adopted one child norm way back in 1979 currently with a population of approximately 1.38 billion. After China, India is the second most populous country with as estimated population of over 1.30 billion. Due to political and religious constraints, India has not been able to put effective check on the population rate and in a few years it may overtake China to become the most populous country. In China, Chinese Han people constitute more than 91% population and the remaining population is represented by various minority ethnic and religious groups including Tibetans, Mongols and Muslims. Chinese Communist Party and government officially do not endorse any religion and in fact have barred its members for any religious affiliation or activity. The majority Chinese population, however, follow traditional Chinese faiths Taoism and/or Confucianism. In India, state has no interference in religious matters and every citizen has liberty to pursue any religion. As per 2011 Census, Hinduism has the largest (79.80%) followed by Islam (14.23%); the remaining being Christianity (2.30%), Sikhism (1.72%), Buddhism (0.70%), Jainism (0.36%) and others (0.9%).

With the rising economy and military might, China has become a major regional power within Asia nurturing global ambition to emerge as a superpower and is seen competing with the United States on many fronts in the process. Currently, with faster economic growth rate and military strength wise ranked only next to China, India is also globally recognised as the emerging Asian power with a potential to become next superpower around the middle of this century.

Democracy versus Autocracy

India has a flourishing democratic rule under the multi-party system with a fixed tenure of the elected government and elections held under an independent and unbiased Election Commission in the Central and States. Each party is allowed to pursue its defined ideology and election manifesto. Any citizen of India who fulfils the prescribed conditions can exercise his (or her) franchise to elect a choice candidate. Elections are usually held every five years and elected representatives of the people (legislatures) reach to the National and State Assemblies. These elected legislatures elect their leader as prime minister or chief minister, as the case may be, who in turn selects his (or her) council of ministers from the elected legislatures to form the government. In China, under a single party system it is more of an authoritarian regime though an election system does exist. These elections are based on a hierarchical electoral system, whereby local People's Congresses are directly elected, and all higher levels of People's Congresses up to the National People's Congress, the national legislature, are indirectly elected by the People's Congresses. The President and the State Council are elected by the National People's Congress.

Despite many weaknesses and shortcomings, it is because of the prospering democracy in India that allows people civil liberties and freedom of speech or expression in true spirit, so much so that some people go to the extent of criticizing even the highest institutions of nation including president or prime minister of India with no adverse fallout. As against this, even a minor criticism of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) or President can easily earn a person long imprisonment. The pro-democracy protests of the unarmed Chinese students and civilians of 4th June, 1989 is a case in point where even assault rifles and tanks were used to crush the peaceful dissent by the autocratic Chinese leadership. The event is remembered in history by many as the ‘Tiananmen Square Massacre’. Though the Chinese government sources admitted 241 dead and about 7,000 wounded but many western sources including Amnesty International, Times magazine etc. put the estimated death toll of about 1,000 to 2,600. Liao Yiwu, a Chinese writer and musician, was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment just for writing the poem ‘Massacre’ about Tiananmen Square.

Here the issue is not as to how many students and civilians were killed or wounded but how severely and brutally disproportionate force was used by the political leadership to crush the uprising and dissenting voice of people. Such a brutal suppression of people is beyond imagination in any democracy and could happen in an authoritarian regime.

China has successfully controlled its population growth over the years by rigidly implementing one-child norm thus improving per capita availability of services and goods. But then democracy and autocracy have their own fallacies. One would find numerous cases in China of abortion by application of force and coercion, even instances where a lady is abducted and detained by authorities only to release after forced abortion. On the other hand in democratic India, in 1970s attempts for small family norms were made by enforcing sterilization on people mainly in the north India; the event led to a mass upsurge and electoral defeat of the ruling party in general election.

After liberalization of economy in late 1970s, a faster pace of physical development has been achieved in China largely due to its autocratic governance, which certainly facilitates quick and unhindered policy decisions. On one hand, autocracy in China has ensured fast building of high speed rail lines, six-lane highways, fastest urbanization programmes and business opportunities with almost 10% GDP growth in previous years; on the other hand, the same autocracy is the root cause of many existing evils like lack of civil liberty and freedom to speak, express or even maintain family or property, besides creating a vast nexus of vested economic and political interests leading to endemic corruption, massive wasteful investment, near African-levels of inequality and rising social tensions.

In a democratic country like India with its size, population and diversity, for introducing any significant programme or reform a large scale consultation with the states and various other stakeholders is mandatory and this takes time with many challenges to resolve and implement even though the well-intentioned people in governance endeavor to carry it out on a fast track. Besides, the elements of corruption further complicate and slow the process so often defeating the very purpose. So the democracy has its own fruits and prices to pay. But then it is on account of the mature democracy in this country that even today separatist Hurriyat leaders of Kashmir can carry out Pakistani agenda or a large section of the Muslims minority continues to refuse national anthem, national song or bow before mother soil and country is able to absorb the shock, while most of the Chinese would perhaps have forgotten own 'Tiananmen Square Massacre' by now.

Economy and Trade

On the GDP (Nominal) basis in 2016, the Chinese economy was the second largest in the world at about $11 trillion (14.8%) only next to USA at $18 trillion (24.2%), while India ranked seventh with approximately $2 trillion (2.85%). As per IMF projection released for 2017, China shall continue to remain second largest on GDP (nominal) (15.1%) basis and is likely to overtake USA on GDP (Purchase Power Parity) (18.3%), while India shall take sixth position with 3.15% on GDP (Nominal) and third position with 7.49% on GDP (PPP). As per IMF’s World Economic Outlook, China has once again become world’s fastest growing economy at 6.7% compared with India at 6.6% which in the past few years held the cap of the fastest growing economy. The main reason, according to IMF, for slowdown of the growth rate was demonetization by the Indian government as a crackdown on corruption. The IMF, however, forecasts India’s expansion to bounce back to 7.2% this year and accelerate to 7.7% in 2018. China, meanwhile, is projected to continue decelerating to 6.5% in 2017 and 6.0% the year after.

The Chinese government opened to the world by introducing large scale economic reforms in 1978, and consequently, it picked up during the following years to become the world's fastest-growing economy. After three decades of spectacular growth, China passed Japan in during 2010 to become the world's second-largest economy behind the United States, and ever since it has maintained its position on GDP (Nominal) and GDP (PPP). As against this, despite being a democratic and liberal society, India opened much later in early nineties to economic reforms slowly and cautiously.

Trade wise, China is the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods, taking the cap from USA to become the world's largest trading nation in 2013. According to compiled data in 2015, China exported $2.37 trillion and imported $1.27 trillion, achieving a positive trade balance of $1.1 trillion. China’s biggest trading partners are US, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Germany Australia and Malaysia with over $100 billion and above per annum despite serious political differences and disputes with some of them. Compared to this, the bilateral trade between India and China in 2016 amounted to only about $70.8 billion - a slight decline over the previous year. Of this, Chinese exports share was $58.33 billion with a marginal increase of 0.2% over 2015 while Indian exports were pegged at $11.76 with approximately 12% decrease over the previous year. For the last few years, Indian exports are declining with China leading to a wide trade deficit and consequent adverse impact on Indian economy. Recently on one occasion, the Indian Commerce Minister attributed the increasing trade deficit to India’s demand of manufactured items in the fast expanding sectors like telecom and power. This may partially explain the adverse trade balance but the reasons are for more diverse and complicated.

Globally, the top exports of China are computers, broadcasting equipment, telecom equipment, integrated circuits (ICs) and other machinery and hardware while the top imports are crude petroleum, ICs, gold, iron ore and cars, in the same order. While a large chunk of the Indian imports from China comprise of telecom equipment (mainly cellular networks), computers, machinery instruments, apparatus and appliances (including Power & Energy), silver and chemical fertilizers, antibiotics and a whole range of other items, the chief exports are refined copper/copper alloy, cotton yarn, petroleum oils, monumental building stones, iron ores, vegetable fats and oils, and so on so forth. As can be seen from the above while China is exporting mostly manufactured high-value items, India’s export is mainly pegged around raw materials and low technology items.

For the time being, let’s forget the heavy industry and manufacturing sector, the Chinese are even aggressively targeting to influence and earn from the cultural and festive occasions of nations by flooding their markets with cheap, attractive, use and throw kind of products. Most of the Indian have become accustomed to Holi, Diwali and Raksha Bandhan in the last few years with Chinese colours, lamps and sacred threads, respectively which are not only cheap but attractive too. Some time back, a friend from US sent me a simple New Year greetings and I was amazed to find it was made in China. A detailed analysis of the Chinese political and trade tactics are beyond the scope of this article but to put the Chinese strategy of trade in one line – ‘the aggressive pricing on the back of state subsidy thanks to the Chinese xenophobic nationalism, a protectionist outlook, cheap finance and open economy in the democratic world, have allowed Chinese manufacturers to outprice target nations’ domestic market’.

Other day, I saw a news item in an Indian national daily during the Doklam Standoff that the escalation of hostilities may impact availability of a particular vaccine being imported from China for Japanese encephalitis patients, currently epidemic in eastern UP and parts of Bihar. Reportedly, domestic vaccine production in a Bareilly (Western Uttar Pradesh) based firm was closed on account of higher cost some time back when the cheaper Chinese vaccine flooded the pharmaceutical market. This small instance suggests how an unmindful trade and a nation’s failure to safeguard its own products can so easily spoil indigenous manufacturing capacity and trade.

Like China diplomatically and militarily keeps occupied its neighbours and potential rivals by selectively raising contentious issues and territorial disputes, so has it done while trading with other countries. Even USA has lately waked up to investigate whether the Chinese have been following unethical tactics in trade by stealing American technology and intellectual property rights in the past. With a view to minimizing China centric trade gap and unfair practices, India needs to comprehensively review its bilateral trade policies and arrangements including Restricted List / Negative List to see whether indigenous manufacturing is not put at disadvantage or genuine constraints while competing with Chinese firms, and if so, anti-dumping and other laws in vogue should be invoked in the national interest.

Human Rights

The Chinese Constitution which has been written and re-written at least 4 times after the People’s Republic of China (PRC) came in existence in 1949 and amended several times since the last version enforced in 1982 and theoretically provides full freedom and rights to its citizens. With the single party rule and the communist Part of China (CPC) in infallible position, there is hardly any scope for anyone expressing his (or her) opinion critical to the government without incurring the wrath of authorities. The nationwide crackdown on human rights activists and lawyers is the recurring feature year after year and they are regularly subjected to monitoring, harassment, intimidation, arrest and detention. Unlawful detention outside the formal facilities often without the access to a lawyer for long periods, the risk of torture and other ill-treatment is not unusual for dissidents. Even incidents of enforcement agencies acting outside their jurisdiction is not uncommon as there have been instances when activists, publishers, booksellers and even journalist went missing in the neighbouring countries and later was found under detention in China.

The well documented Indian Constitution adopted by the National Constituent Assembly was implemented in January 1950 and need based amendments have been made from time to time. The Constitution provides fundamental human rights to all citizens besides democratic governance, multiparty system, aware and active civil societies, freedom of expression, freedom of media and press and above all a strong and proactive judiciary in India. Notwithstanding above, isolated instances of human right violation are reported, which are dealt with according to the laws of the land. Such instances are mainly on account of the obtaining social and religious tensions and the direct role of state is almost non-existent. In China, any criticism of the role of the CPC or Chinese premier can easily render a citizen to long term imprisonment or even execution, while in India every citizen can criticise the policies and role of the government and its head without the fear of any coercion.

In November 2016, the Chinese government passed a Cyber Security Law, which drastically curtails online freedom and anonymity, tightens control over the internet and further puts restrictions on media outlets for reporting any material which deviates from the CPC line. In the ethnic minority autonomous regions of Tibet and Xinjiang, China is continuing highly repressive rule, curtailing all political activities and even peaceful expressions of ethnic and religious identity on many occasions. Annually, China continues to lead the number of executions world over but the official statistics are never revealed. Only recently a directive was issued for the members of the CPC not to pursue any religion and, reportedly, religious repression is dealt with as ‘anti-separatism’ or ‘counter-terrorism’ particularly in the autonomous regions of Tibet and Xinjiang.


In India, the Cyber Security Laws have been designed to deal with the instances of cyber-crime, such as hacking, cyber-bullying, phishing, identity theft, online scam or fraud, child abuse and pornography rather than curtailing online freedom and anonymity of users. All communities and ethnic groups have full liberty to exercise religious beliefs, follow customs and rituals without disturbing others’ peace. There is no religious restriction on government servants and in fact the government allows extra free time to minority Muslims workers enabling them to offer Friday namaz as per their belief. Similarly, there are absolutely no restrictions on political activities and peaceful expression of ethnic and religious identity by the communities. Despite being a nation of over 1.30 billion people, unlike China the number of execution is minimum and transparent only in rarest of rare crimes.

Of late, some cases of social or religious intolerance and violent incidents leading to alleged lynching by mobs have been reported and widely publicised by interested groups blaming the government. In fact rather than human rights abuse, these isolated events are usual criminal or sedition cases which have been given the magnitude of human rights violation by the interested groups to score points in political game. In a multi-party democratic system, Indian politics has a fallacy of still revolving around the cast and creed consideration for seeking power ever since independence.

The oldest and most dominant party since independence, the Indian National Congress traditionally relied on Muslim and scheduled castes as the trusted vote banks. Subsequently, the left and other socialist parties too tried to woo them to garner support with the addition of the Indian backward classes through reservation. Based on loosely held ideological principles, these parties together call themselves as secular parties. With the ideological backing of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) emerged as the second major party in early 1990s which largely capitalised on the Hindu cultural heritage and nationalist sentiments. There is another rather elite and apolitical class with leftist leanings that loves to be known as liberals. It is not surprising that in the dirty political game, these (so called) secularists and liberals find it convenient to stick together to oppose the nationalist BJP government branding it as a communal force, and in the process often even maligning the image of state.

To illustrate above point, let’s briefly see the merit of the four major cases of 2016 which were widely publicised by opposition, a section of media, said secularists and liberals as the incidents of blatant human rights violation, suppression of the freedom of expression and atrocities against Muslims and dalit class, which in turn considerably tarnished the image of nation internationally:

Rohith Vemula and few other student activists of the Hyderabad University held demonstration on 3rd August 2015 against the death penalty for Yakub Memon, a convicted hardcore terrorist involved in the 1993 Bombay serial blasts leading to the death of about 350 civilians and thousands of injuries. On a complaint, disciplinary action was initiated by the university authorities against Vemula and other students and, finding them guilty, they were suspended and barred from hostel. Psychologically unstable Vemula committed suicide later in January 2016. His suicide was much publicised by the interested groups (opposition parties, so called liberals and a section of media) as a case of discrimination against dalits; ironically, later a controversy was raised about his caste status and on investigation it was indeed held that neither Rohith nor his mother Radhika were Dalits.

In another incident, Kanhaiya Kumar, ex-President of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union and a leader of the All India Students Federation, the student wing of the Communist Party of India along with Umar Khalid, Ms Shehla Rashid and other student activists organized a rally on 9th February 2016 to protest against the capital punishment of Mohammad Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri separatist convicted for the 2001 Indian Parliament attack. They raised anti-national slogans and incendiary speeches and consequently were prosecuted on sedition charges by the Delhi police. In my opinion, even more evolved western democracies would not tolerate sedition and anti-national activities on their soil and firmly deal with such cases under the laws of the land. Though in none of these cases, the federal government had any direct involvement but both cases were used against them by the interested groups.

Then in one unfortunate case of mob killing by the alleged cow vigilante in Uttar Pradesh on suspicion of keeping beef in house, swift action was taken by the law enforcement agencies to apprehend the culprits and prosecute under law in vogue. In another case, a death in group violence on a running train was aggressively publicised as an act of a radical Hindu group sponsored religious atrocity against minority through the cow vigilante but on investigation it was found to be an ordinary spat escalated to violent group clash on the issue of seat sharing. Incidents of human rights violation including discrimination and harassment of people irrespective of caste, religion and region are occasionally reported in India but these are mostly on account of social tensions and state acts against the offenders in such cases as per laws of the land.

In a few areas China has shown modest improvements of late. The trial regulations were promulgated in February 2016 that gives hope for the reduction in the numbers pre-trial detention. The other areas are the Supreme People’s Court’s endeavour to retry cases of wrongful convictions and executions, and the courts’ acceptance of discrimination cases brought by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals. Other than these, even after more than three decades of pledging to “reform and open up” for international consumption, there is absolutely nothing that suggests the CPC’s intention to change its authoritarian grip. Under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, who is likely to remain in power at least until 2022, the future for fundamental human rights, freedoms of expression, freedom of assembly, association and religion is likely to remain uncertain. In fact, the government’s systematic efforts to silence independent civil society, introduction of abusive new laws and a much politicized anti-corruption campaign may only further undermine an already obscure Chinese judicial system.

Despite constitutional provisions of gender equality, women in China face systemic discrimination in higher education and employment as also domestic violence and sexual harassment with inadequate response of the government towards these abuses. China officially endorsed under law two-child policy with effect from January 2016 after years of the strict enforcement of one-child norm but in effect a woman’s body still remains in the domain of the State with the erstwhile coercion means remaining in force leading to forced pregnancy examinations and consequent forced abortions, involuntary sterilization or sex selective abortion of baby girls. Indian laws are gender neutral and provide equal opportunities to woman in all walks of life but they are not free from discrimination either in education and employment. Similarly they are also a victim of domestic violence and sexual harassment in work places and elsewhere. Condition of Indian Muslim women is particularly worse because they are still regulated under Sharia, the age old Muslim Personal Law. Many archaic and medieval practices like triple talaq, halala and polygamy are still prevalent among Muslims and any effort of reforms by the government is vehemently opposed by the conservative community. A recent Supreme Court judgement abolishing the triple talaq in one go has raised some positive hope for the Indian Muslim women.

Freedom of Speech and Expression

Article 35 of the Chinese constitution, 1982 edition stipulates ‘Citizens of the PRC have freedom of speech, publication, assembly, association, procession and demonstration.’ However in effect, the freedom of speech continues to be a big issue due severe Chinese censorship. Any public speech or expression critical to the CPC or government may lead the individual in a serious trouble including surveillance, detention or even long imprisonment.

The philosophy behind is perhaps the reason that in a communist society, the individual's interests are indistinguishable from the society's interest. Thus fundamentally the very idea of an individual freedom remains incompatible with a communist ideology. Ideologically, individual speech and expression rights would only to better the society (in the eyes of State), a condition which is very difficult to be met, making by default the lack of individual freedom.

Even the posts on print and electronic media, particularly internet, are monitored and inappropriate contents are blocked besides separately taking action against the person. Inappropriate contents include criticism of the government policies, offensive or insulting words against Mao and CCP leaders, Falun Gong, any information on freedom movement in Tibet or Xinjiang, any reference to Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, public display of ROC flag, and so on do forth. Every company which wants business with the Chinese market must obey special policies about censorship. Google, Facebook and videos on YouTube videos are not available to mainland Chinese populace.

In India, the Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles of State Policy and Fundamental Duties of citizens are integral part of the Constitution that guarantees six fundamental rights to Indian citizens as follows: (i) right to equality, (ii) right to freedom, (iii) right against exploitation, (iv) right to freedom of religion, (v) cultural and educational rights, and (vi) right to constitutional remedies. Now a constitutional bench of the Supreme Court have added one more into it ‘Right to Privacy’ which states that everyone has the right to seek their privacy from others.

Freedom of speech and expression is the most basic of all freedoms granted to the citizens of India under the constitution. Freedom of speech is an essential ingredient of a free society because it serves the purposes of self-fulfilment, discovery of truth, capacity of a person to make decisions and social change. But at the same time, this also bestows on citizen with certain responsibilities. For instance, a hate speech in the garb of freedom of speech can incite tension and conflict among communities or groups. Hence a person needs to exercise his freedom with due care and consideration. Since many people tend to deviate or act irresponsibly, almost all democratic governments including India put some restrictions on speech and expression. The most common limitations are libel, slander, sedition, hate speech, copyright violations, right to privacy, obscenity and pornography etc.

Unfortunately, the freedom of speech and expression is one which is also abused to the maximum in the Indian democracy equally by the individuals, groups, politicians, private media and press. Needless to elaborate, there is no dearth of illustrations and one can easily find it while visiting social media like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and YouTube world over. Freedom of speech and expression is fascinating and indeed the most important of all freedoms. But the unfortunate part is that with the upsurge of the technology based print and electronic media, particularly the internet, people are spewing all kind of trash, unsubstantiated allegations, slanderous statements and even abusive words and phrases to demean, defame and denigrate adversaries, famous individuals, institutions, society or even own nation.

By doing this they are misusing the fundamental rights, freedom of speech and expression besides doing heavy damage and disservice to the society and nation. Only if they could do some introspection to realize and learn that any freedom has some premium but limitations too, they can perhaps remedy the situation by helping self and avoid hurting others’ feelings and sensitivities.

China, India Corruption Perceptions Index

Now let us see both India and China on relative indices of corruption. Nearly for the last 20 years, a Germany based NGO namely Transparency International has been attempting to rank countries based on certain parameters on how corrupt their public sectors are perceived to be. Rankings are given on a scale of zero to hundred, where zero denotes a perception of highly corrupt and hundred represents a very clean position. As per the 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), India ranked 94th with a score of 36 while China stood at 80th spot with a score of 40. Thus both the countries fared low signifying a higher level of corruption in their public life with China slightly better placed in inter se comparison. The recent CPI report released for 2016 put India and China together at 79th spot with a score of 40 each. The score is still low but the ranking of India has considerable improved in three years while the position of China remains more or less static.

It may be remembered that in an authoritarian regime, it is very difficult to get reliable data on any social-economic or political parameters because of the large restrictions and censorship on people in terms of the freedom of speech and expression to divulge with details, including the media freedom. For collecting data, the said NGO’s one of the criteria is perception of people and experts in country. The other issue with the western NGOs is that they usually have an elite bias (a pointer towards the developed West) and are not fair with the developing and under developed countries.

The main criticism stems from the difficulty and skepticism in measuring corruption, as by definition it happens everywhere behind the curtains. Data can vary widely depending on the sample size of the public perception of a country, the completeness of the surveys and the methodology used. Therefore, the findings of the CPI can be used as a reference point but not to be taken as sacrosanct for all purposes. Yet the findings are indicative enough to suggest that despite the tight control and censorship by the state virtually over the governance and freedom of citizens, China has not been able to restrict or minimize corrupt practices and, in fact, actual level of corruption could be much more than reported.

Authoritarian Regime Has Small Shelf-life

The enormous geographical spread, vast manpower resources, phenomenal economic progress and rising military strength are chief factors for the emergence of China as a global power, and at the same time same factors also appear to have made China belligerent and arrogant enough to keep scratching potential rivals in the neighbourhood and challenging the US supremacy globally. Then the utter disregard and apathy towards human rights and freedom are enough reasons for the members of CPC and Government in lacking diplomatic courtsy and decorum while dealing with the sovereign nations like India.

An oppressed and fragile Chinese society deprived of basic human rights, brewing anger among people against suffocative restrictions and censorship on the freedom of speech and expression, growing resentment against the brutal supression of the rising demand for democracy and independence in various parts including Chinese autonomous regions like Tibet and Xinxiang provinces, communism losing its popularity and relevance in now an open economy and greater exposure of democratic values to the Chinese people travelling abroad in connection with education, business and trade are some of the major factors bound to change the face of Chinese dragon, sooner or later, in the 21st Century.

But then is it not true of almost all authoritarian regimes and their history of suppression of civil liberties and human rights? In the recent times, the erstwhile Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) had been the world's largest authoritarian communist regime till early 1991. With the introduction of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's reform policies of Perestroika (restructuring) and Glasnost (openness) in 1980s, we are all aware of the nemesis that the USSR was waiting for. Given a choice, any human civil society would invariably prefer to opt for the civil liberties and fundamental human rights. The Authoritarian China cannot escape this destiny though, as of now, one cannot forecast the day of reckoning as to when and how it will take place.

War Cry of The Bullish Neighbour


More by :  Dr. Jaipal Singh

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