Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 17:16 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 17:16 | SYDNEY

China: Thinking global, but not acting local


Sam Roggeveen


30 November 2007 10:19

The tagline of this Asia Sentinel story ('Beijing backs down on a property ownership reform law') doesn't quite match the content. What you read is a story not of policy reversal but of poor policy implementation — local officials have an interest in keeping the old system in place, so they resist change. The New York Times sees something similar on the Chinese energy front. As soon as the central government introduced measures to reduce energy consumption, local governments, fearing economic downturn, sought ways to circumvent the measures.

The image that outsiders typically have of China involves high levels order brought about by strong state control. But my guess is that for most Chinese, daily life is characterised by a lack of political control most of the time, and completely arbitrary political control the rest of the time.