George Yeo, Singapore’s former foreign minister, shares his thoughts on China’s evolution with Lianhe Zaobao on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. He sees the milestone as just a pitstop in the long journey of the Chinese nation. Fresh thinking and innovation will be needed as the country progresses. Equally important, developing a “broad-minded and big-hearted nationalism” which is humble and learns from others will keep China on the path of being a great nation. Here are edited excerpts from the interview.
The CCP has much to be proud of on the 100th anniversary of its founding on 1 July. Coincidentally, this year also marks the 30th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU)’s demise. Chinese leaders have learnt much from the Soviet Union’s experience, not least the importance of a people-centric approach. In fact, the party is undergoing a grand synthesis of its reforms to chart the country’s way forward. However, amid problems such as regional disparities and insatiable expectations, fresh solutions need to be found. The CCP also needs to present a brand new image of itself in the international arena.
China feeds about 20% of the global population, but its overall self-sufficiency in food seems to be dropping. Even though it is self-sufficient in some staples such as wheat, rice and corn, it is less so in others. In fact, it is the largest importer of food in the world. Recent calls by President Xi Jinping to cut food wastage has people thinking that political reasons aside, China’s food supply is at risk. This risk could yet be amplified by changes in land policies, rural-urban migration and more.
Lai Xiaomin, former chairman of China Huarong Asset Management, was recently charged with taking bribes worth over 1.78 billion RMB. Corruption cases have been dealt with harshly in the past, but not in the case of a deputy minister-level official taking bribes of such a large magnitude. Will Lai be made an example of as a signal to other "pests” who are waiting to crawl out of the woodwork?
The retrial and reinstatement of a death sentence meted out to crime boss Sun Xiaoguo is not only a win for those championing legal reform, but also those looking to strengthen China’s business environment. This landmark case exposes corruption ills and eradicates bad hats in one fell swoop.