2007-07-17

Brad Delong on China: No matter if you are a RED cat or white cat...

Update
1) Twofish's comment on some issues in DeLong's post, which I largely agree
2) Commentator Bobby Fletcher alerted me that DeLong actually said "red cat". Well, we might as well just change that saying with DeLong's, since there are still people who refer to China (the government, the Chinese Capitalist Party, and often a blanket statement toward all its citizens) as the "Chinese Communist", apparently in an attempt to instill certain type of McCarthyistic terrorism bu more likely simply being confused.

---
via ESWN comes this link - a must read for any one who is interested is China, its economic "miracle", or even those who thought he already has understood China.

It is such a great one that I would make it a separate post (vs on the reading list up the right corner).

DeLong prasied Deng Xiaoping in such words!
  • "And in 1978 China had its first piece of great good luck in a long, long time--perhaps the first time some important chance broke right for China since the end of the Sung dynasty. China acquired as its paramount ruler one of the most devious and effective politicians of this or indeed any age, a man who was quite possibly the greatest human hero of the twentieth century: Deng Xiaoping. Deng sought to maintain the Communist Party oligarchy's control over China's politics while also seeking a better life for China's people, and he is guided by two principles: (i) be pragmatic ("what matters is not whether the cat is red or white, what matters is whether the cat catches mice), and (ii) be cautious ("cross the river by feeling for the stones at the bottom of the ford with your feet")."

I may not go so far as DeLong about Deng. I still cannot forgive him for what happened in 1989. But I could only concur. A great man is still a great man even if he has done something terrible.

The 2 points Delong mentioned was indeed the essence of Deng'ism. The cat principle and the feeling stone principle. A few centuries from now, these 2 principles will be honored in the same rank as Sun Zi's "Winning a 100 battle is not the best, the best of the best is winning without fighting". The cat principle is about strategy, and putting a simple criteria on what good strategy should qualify for. The stone principle is about execution, the execution instruction for someone who has no idea what lies ahead of him. Therefore, these 2 principles are universal, and eternal.

And it is probably the only thing the other hero of the past century, Lee Kuan Yew, might not be able to reach.

Related: 炎黄春秋 头条文章批当局搁置邓小平政改

3 comments:

bobby fletcher said...

SB, couple comments:

- Wasn't Deng's cat "black or white"?

- Just what do you think happened in 1989? Have you read the Columbia School of Journalism's TAM retrospective? Or more recently PBS' "The Tank Man"?

http://archives.cjr.org/year/98/5/tiananmen.asp

Here's journalist Garham Earnshaw's eye witness:

http://www.earnshaw.com/memoirs/content.php?id=16

Sun Bin said...

ha...didn't catch that fat red cat of delong :) -- i guess i skipped the words when i read.

i read all sort of reports. i know in person some of the student leaders who fled. i agree with some of their views, and i disagree with some others. i even think some conversation have led to their change in mind in supporting the MFN years ago.

but i do not think this changes much of the big picture. just like what Deng has achieved for China (in delong's word, for the "human" is not changed by some of his mistakes)

momo said...

not for nothing was Deng a hardy Hakka.
As to forgiving him, gu ren shuo: dui shi, bu dui ren. It's the deed, not the person.
Deng made a hard decision at a moment of national crisis. Right or wrong, necessary or not, the actions can be debated forever.
What matters is that the people who sacrificed their lives are always remembered.