Is China A Meritocracy?

June 5, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

There is a widespread perception in the west that the Chinese government operates through a meritocratic system that promotes those with strong credentials. This is a myth, writes Minxin Pei, and it is time to bury it. Highlights include:

  • 60 of the 250 members of an elite group of the Communist party claim to have earned PhDs.
  • Yet the majority received them through part time programs in the party’s training schools after they had become government officials.
  • One individual received his PhD after just 21 months. These degrees are not credible.
  • Another way that China is thought to be a meritocracy is that it promotes those who have delivered high economic growth.
  • Yet these numbers are very obviously fabricated by officials.
  • Or they grow GDP by borrowing large amounts from banks and by selling land. This burdens subsequent local governments with high debt and wasted investments.
  • Overall the governance structure of China is more corrupt than is commonly perceived.

To read about how a Master’s degree doesn’t cut it in China anymore, how Bo Xilai personifies the Chinese “meritocracy”, why even fake credentials aren’t good enough, how guanxi is now the only way to secure power, and the average length that a local official will serve before they are promoted click here.

Source: Project Syndicate

Via: Marginal Revolution