Lance Gore

Senior research fellow, East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore

Lance Gore previously taught at several universities in the United States and Australia, and is currently a senior research fellow at the East Asian Institute of National University of Singapore. His recent books include The Chinese Communist Party and China’s Capitalist Revolution: The Political Impact of Market and Chinese Politics Illustrated: The Social, Cultural and Historical Context. His current research is on the new technological revolution. He is working on two books, one examining the post-capitalist trends in the world and the policy and political implications for China, and the other on entrepreneurship in the public sector.

Men twirl dragon streamers on the Bund promenade along the Huangpu River during sunrise in Shanghai, China, on 7 September 2022. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

[State of our world] China’s future in a politicised world

As the world rapidly shifts from an economic one to a highly political one, competition will no longer be about who wins more but about who loses less. In the shift from a win-win to a zero-sum game, China is torn as it strives to get closer to the developed world yet seeks to maintain a distance from the third world and Russia. In navigating these troubled waters, three critical developments — relations with Russia, Taiwan, and decoupling from the West — may alter the fate of China. This is the last in a series of four articles contemplating a changing world order.
A Russian soldiers stands with a national flag at the Red Square during the Spasskaya Tower International Military Music Festival at the Red Square in Moscow, Russia, on 26 August 2022. (Alexander Nemenov/AFP)

Will China and Russia join hands to push for an alternative world order?

Out of the ashes of a changing global order could rise a growing China-Russia alliance, says East Asian Institute senior researcher Lance Gore. Such a prospect is made possible by the common ground they share, including having a victim complex, harbouring resentment towards the West and aspiring to regain their past grandeur. However, the two civilisations are very different and there could still be a misalignment of objectives. In light of the obstacles, will their relationship stay a strategic partnership that goes no further?
This Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense handout picture taken and released on 24 August 2022 shows a US-made 155mm howitzer firing during a drill at Penghu islands. (Handout/Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense/AFP)

Cross-strait reunification is not a precondition for China’s national rejuvenation

The Chinese government should not cave in to nationalist voices keen on equating reunification with China’s national rejuvenation, says East Asian Institute senior research fellow Lance Gore. Given the strength of the PLA, neither the US nor its allies are keen or have the capability to engage in a direct conflict with China. Rather than overreacting at every premeditated provocation, the mainland should have confidence in coming to a common understanding with Taiwan and work on improving its international image.
A Chinese flag flutters near people lining up to get tested at a makeshift nucleic acid testing site, amid the Covid-19 outbreak in Beijing, China, 18 May 2022. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Can capitalists ever feel at ease in socialist China?

The Chinese Communist Party has yet to resolve in theory and in practice two great issues: the ever widening rich-poor divide and the question of capitalists’ place in a socialist market economy. This is why the slogan "common prosperity" caused widespread panic across the private sector when it was first put forth. How will the authorities prove that “the rich will never be robbed in order to help the poor”?
A screen displays a CCTV state media news broadcast showing Chinese President Xi Jinping addressing world leaders at the G20 meeting in Rome via video link at a shopping mall in Beijing, China, 31 October 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Xi Jinping's misguided return to ideology

East Asian Institute senior research fellow Lance Gore argues that two contexts made Xi’s resurrection of ideological orthodoxy almost inevitable — Leninist party rule and China’s rise on the global stage. But Xi’s return to ideology may be to China’s detriment, as it could reverse achievements of the reform and opening up era, and also set China on a collision course with Western liberal democracies.
A Chinese flag flutters near people lining up to get tested at a makeshift nucleic acid testing site, amid Covid-19 outbreak in Beijing, China, 18 May 2022. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Why Xi Jinping's bold experiments with socialism are commendable

While China’s market-based socialism with Chinese characteristics has lifted many out of poverty, creating the Chinese miracle, the ills of abiding by the “laws of the market” should be tackled and reined in. In the ever-evolving model of new socialism, a mechanism needs to be established that can raise and maintain a good standard of living in the absence of economic growth. This is so that people can transcend the pursuit of the material and live their lives with meaning and purpose.
A woman rides a bicycle along a street in Beijing, China, on 6 April 2022. (Jade Gao/AFP)

Why China's 'peaceful rise' will be particularly difficult

EAI academic Lance Gore notes that China’s “peaceful rise” is a particular hard sell because it involves the rise of a major heterogeneous civilisational power, which is different from the mere transfer of hegemony between states from the same civilisation. Thus China needs to work on gaining acceptance from the international community by conveying the merits of its civilisational traits and avoiding pitfalls such as a reversion to cultural dead wood or failed Marxist orthodoxy.
Students take part in an evacuation drill in a primary school in Kunming, Yunnan province, China, 11 May 2022. (CNS)

China wants to create a new democratic system. Is that possible?

Domestic and external pressures compel China to face the issue of democracy. With growing affluence and diversity in the population, the government needs to find a way to incorporate various views that goes beyond the Mao-era “mass line”. In forging a new path, the Chinese Communist Party is feeling its way around bringing about a socialist neo-democracy, or what has been verbalised as “whole-process people’s democracy”. But what stands in the way of putting thought into action?
People wearing face masks stand in front of a painting of late Chinese chairman Mao Zedong, while waiting in line to enter a flagship merchandise store for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics before it opens, on Wangfujing Street in Beijing, China, 9 February 2022. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Are the Chinese people the true masters of their country?

Lance Gore reflects on what Chinese Communist Party cadres today understand by the phrase “Serve the People”, stating that people in positions of power could either serve the people slavishly or ride roughshod over them. The impetus to do right by the populace is simply not ensured. As the authorities seek to get the people more involved in “whole-process democracy”, they will need to consider how the regime’s affinity with the people may be maintained in the absence of electoral democracy.