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2012/05/03

#Chen makes direct appeal to Congress to come to US AND MinXin Pei's WSJ piece

-Dark days for America. Darker for Chen. 


UPDATED 5:55 p.m. ET
(CBS News) -- The blind Chinese activist who recently left the U.S. embassy in Beijing on Thursday made a surprising and direct appeal to lawmakers on Capitol Hill to come to the United States.
Calling in to the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, dissident Chen Guangcheng told lawmakers he is concerned for the safety of his family and he wants to thank Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her efforts to help him over the past few days.


Nowadays Chinese leaders seem too busy putting out fires to think about their regime's long-term survival. 

To appreciate the mortal dangers lying ahead for the party, look at three numbers: 6,000, 74 and seven. Statistical analysis of the relationship between economic development and survival of authoritarian regimes shows that few non-oil-producing countries can sustain their rule once per capita GDP reaches $6,000 in purchasing power parity (PPP). Based on estimates by the International Monetary Fund, Chinese GDP per capita is $8,382 in PPP terms ($5,414 in nominal terms).

This makes China an obvious authoritarian outlier. Of the 91 countries with a higher per capita GDP than China now, 68 are full democracies, according to Freedom House, 10 are "partly free" societies, and 13 are "not free." Of the 13 countries classified as "not free," all except Belarus are oil producers. Of the 10 "partly free" countries, only Singapore, Tunisia and Lebanon are not oil producers. Tunisia has just overthrown its long-ruling autocracy. Prospects of democracy are looking brighter in Singapore. As for Lebanon, remember the Cedar Revolution of 2005?




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