China: fighting for harmony

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China: fighting for harmony

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China is certainly a big society, but is it a harmonious one?

David Cameron recently visited China. I heard that he swapped notes with Chinese leaders about his “big society” idea. Apparently it shares common ground with China’s “harmonious society” drive. I’m not so sure. I don’t think that Britain is the place for Chinese-style harmony either.

One prominent sign of local harmony is the ongoing makeover of villages. Travelling through our area I see lovely little parks, fancy pagodas and grand arches across entry roads. A lot of money is being spent on outward appearances, not so much on social benefits, pension schemes and healthcare. But who’s going to complain when everything looks so pretty?

Some pundits see signs of grassroots democracy in the “harmonious society.” But in a democracy, you elect leaders and let them get on with making the decisions. This kind of grassroots democracy is more

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Mark Kitto

Mark Kitto
Mark Kitto lives in Moganshan, a mountain resort near Shanghai 

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