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Aug 22, 2010

Special Political Zone

Word has it that Beijing intends to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Shenzhen's "Special Economic Zone" status by turning it into a "Special Political Zone" (Reuters article here).

What does that entail? Most articles I found were short on specifics, but "like Singapore, like Hong Kong" is a common refrain. It seems the idea is to figure out how to get a more effective and less corrupt administration rolling.

The article above takes as an example a 2003 Shenzhen policy of dividing responsibilities for formulating policy, executing it and maintaining oversight among three different groups [update: that plan was abandoned because the press "misunderstood" it as a checks and balances system]. The reforms seem likely to focus on this "practical" end of improving policy execution without too greatly increasing public oversight or elections.

This seems to be part of an overall pattern of stepping up "intra-party democracy" and "Chinese style democracy" slogans.

We'll see what, if anything, actually happens. But I would like to speak to the general wisdom of undergoing political reforms from a position of strength. I hope for the best.

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