fredag 30. juli 2021

“Poverty Has Been Eliminated in China”—Only, It Is Not True

President Xi Jinping has hailed in a public ceremony for having achieved what he had promised: eradicating poverty in China by the end of the year 2020. And the CCP’s People’s Daily celebrated Xi’s “historical victory” with one of its longest articles in recent years. It is a nice story. Even some Western media seemed to believe it. Only, it is not true.

First, what is true is that there is less poverty in China today than in the 20thcentury, when the country suffered for decades the consequences of Chairman Mao’s Great Leap Forward (1958–1962), widely regarded as the greatest human-made disaster in history, with estimates ranging from 15 to 55 millions of Chinese who died of starvation. While we should not forget that it was the CCP that created the disaster, nobody denies that the situation is incomparably better now. The lie, in celebrative articles such as the one published last week by the People’s Daily, is in the argument that China achieved some results due to the CCP approach, which privileges the fight on poverty over the Western concept of democracy.

Even if we accept Chinese official statistics (on which more below) at face value, India’s results are comparable to China, and India, with all its problems, is a democracy. Tanzania, which did better than China, is regarded by some as only partially democratic, but certainly has more democracy than China, and did not rely on Xi Jinping’s thought to achieve its results in the fight against poverty.