China has made tremendous progress economically and is second only to the United States in terms of economic strength and global influence. The standard of living of the Chinese people has improved significantly over the past decades and millions have been lifted out of poverty. The gap between urban and rural areas has been narrowed in terms of access to basic amenities such as water, housing and other infrastructural developments. There is enhanced delivery of goods and social services in particular in the critical areas of health and education delivery.
All of these resulted from a people-oriented approach to development by the Communist Party of China which has been the main governing party for close to seven decades.
I do not believe that there is any political or economic blueprint applicable to all countries. China, for instance has a development model that has evolved over the decades which has undoubtedly worked in terms of economic growth and development. To a large extent, it was successful in creating a much more egalitarian society than any other developed country, especially in the Western world. China today has constructed a new paradigm of development with Chinese characteristics which is referred to as ‘market socialism.’
It is my view, however, that the recent decision by the Communist Party of China to remove presidential term limits from its Constitution is politically a backward step. I firmly believe that presidential term limits are an important mechanism to guard against abuse of power. Indeed, there is considerable merit in the saying that ‘power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’
I do not subscribe to the view that any individual, however competent or well-meaning, is irreplaceable and therefore should hold office for life. This is a retrograde step and inconsistent with the basic and fundamental norms of innovation and change. Besides, it speaks to an outmoded perception of individual indispensability which is anathema from an organizational perspective.