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The China ModelPolitical Meritocracy and the Limits of Democracy$
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Daniel A. Bell

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691173047

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691173047.001.0001

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Concluding Thoughts

Concluding Thoughts

Realizing the China Model

(p.179) Concluding Thoughts
The China Model

Daniel A. Bell

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers three basic principles of the China model and how they have guided political reform in the post-Mao era: democracy at the bottom, experimentation in the middle, and political meritocracy at the top. There remains a large gap between the ideal and the reality, however, and the chapter suggests ways of closing that gap, noting that the legitimacy problem is perhaps the most serious threat to the meritocratic system. It argues that the Chinese government may need to secure the people's consent to the Chinese adaptation of vertical democratic meritocracy by means such as a referendum. It concludes by discussing the exportability of the China model: while the model as a whole cannot readily be adopted by countries with a different history and culture, its different planks can be selectively adopted and the Chinese government can play a more active role in promoting its model abroad.

Keywords:   political reform, democracy, experimentation, political meritocracy, legitimacy, democratic meritocracy, referendum, China model, China

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