Comparing India and China’s Potential for Economic Growth

The cover for The Economist of October 2 – 8, 2010, placed a bet on India in an economic race with China.

The Economist wants India to win this race, because India is a democracy as is the U.S., but what isn’t mentioned is that China is evolving into a republic closer to the original republic that the United States was in 1776 with a Chinese twist, which is what Dr. Sun Yat-sen wanted.

Some claim China is ruled be a dictator today but that is not true. China is a republic that is guided by the word of law, which is the essence of a Republic.  In 1982, China wrote a new Constitution that spelled out the law and China’s schoolchildren are taught what these laws mean and how to live with them. However, the Chinese Constitution is not the same as the one in the US, so the laws are different.

I opened The Economist magazine and read the two pieces the cover was about. One was India’s surprising economic miracle and the second piece was A bumpier but freer road.

On page 11, I read, “many observers think China has done a better job than India of curbing corruption…”

On page 77, a Western banker was quoted saying, “It’s much easier to deal with the well-understood ‘organization chart’ of China Inc than the freewheeling chaos of India.”

Corruption exists in every country and Transparency International attempts to define and identify what global corruption looks like. Comparing China and India, we discover that while India’s corruption appears to be getting worse, corruption in China is improving due to the evolution of its new legal system.

In fact, in the past 3 years, the perception of corruption in India was 74%, [in the United States that perception was 72%], while in China it was only 46%.

In addition, the BBC reported recently, “Widespread corruption in India costs billions of dollars and threatens to derail the country’s growth…”

After I read both pieces in The Economist comparing China with India, it was obvious that India would never beat China economically without controlling its corruption, shrinking severe poverty and increasing literacy. Overall, the latest World Bank data shows that India’s poverty rate is 27.5% [330 million people], based on India’s current poverty line of $1.03 per person per day and an illiteracy rate of almost 26% [312 million people].

In comparison, literacy in China is more than 94% and the World Bank says in 2004, people in China living in poverty represented 2.8% of the population.

There are more reasons The Economist is wrong about India winning this economic race just because it is a democracy. One reason is that America’s Founding Fathers hated democracy and had a good reason.

Live Journal goes into detail on this topic. Live Journal says, “It would be an understatement to say that the (U.S.) Founding Fathers hated democracy. They warned against it vehemently and relentlessly. They equated it–properly–with mob rule.”


The Founders of the US, who hated democracy, built a free country [a republic]. Our [meaning many Americans] ignorance of history, which has led to a love of democracy, is causing the US to surrender its freedoms at an alarming rate.

Dr. Sun Yat-sen (1866 – 1925), known as the father of modern China [by both China and Taiwan], said he wanted to model China’s government after America but by combining Western thought with Chinese tradition.

When he said this, it was 1910, and America, by definition, was still a republic. Once you read the two pieces in The Economist, you may understand why India’s democracy cannot beat China’s growing republic.


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Subscribe to “iLook China”
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page.

About iLook China

 This revised and edited post first appeared October 13, 2010.

8 Responses to Comparing India and China’s Potential for Economic Growth

  1. […] on December 31, 2011, in another post, I had this comment from Alessandro about China’s political system.  He is an Italian married to a Chinese citizen, and they […]

  2. […] question Parfitt asked in in his comment to Comparing India and China’s Potential for Economic Growth was, “What about China’s […]

  3. […] On December 30, 2011, Troy Parfitt, whom I debated in this Blog, left a comment to another post I wrote, Comparing India and China’s Potential for Economic Growth. […]

  4. Alessandro says:

    For Troy: are chinese citizen entitled to vote? Yes, my wife and her family just did it less than a couple of months ago.

    Was that how the communist party’s secretary Hu Jintao got his position?

    Yes, Hu Jintao was voted in by the people entitled to do that, the National People’s Congress (全国人民代表大会). Which in turn has been elected by the people’s congresses of the lower level, and so down to the lowest levels. At a grassroots level in villages, village chiefs are directly elected by the residents. That’s how the people’s congresses system works…people directly elects people’s congresses at the local level, which in turn elects the congresses of the superior level, to arrive to the top level (after close scrutiny and evaluation of their preparation by their peer). Now u are entitled to ur own tastes, and like it or not, (I personally don’t like color purple, but I am entitled to that as well), but that doesn’t add or detract anything from how the system is formed and work. Thank god, in the world there still exist different form of political organization….

    By the way, to directly translate chinese political or philosophical terms in english or other indoeuropean languages without carefully studying and understanding the profoundly different culture, philosophy, moral-political-social systems the are at their base, is clumsy at best, and quite dangerous at worst….for instance, translating 民权, one of Sun’s three principles of the people, simply and strictly with “democracy”, is quite wrong….considering the political situation in China at the time Sun proposed the three principles, it appears all quite different and more nuanced..those are “people’s rights” in a time when the people had no rights at all…

  5. Troy Parfitt says:

    Republic: a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law.

    Are Chinese citizens entitled to vote? Was that how the Communist Party’s general secretary Hu Jintao got his position?

    • Mr. Parfitt,

      You make me laugh as you twist the facts [as usual] to fit whatever truth you believe but seldom have the facts to support unless you leave out many facts and details from whatever source you borrow from. The word for that is “cherry picking” or “cultural bias” or “confirmation bias”. [Note: quotation marks used in place of italics to emphasize the word or phrase]

      The original republic of the United States, after the revolution and freedom from the British Empire in the 18th century, only allowed about 10% of the population to vote, which were white men that owned property (excluding Jews). Women and children were chattel or the property of men until the early 20th century, and in the southern states, African Americans were slaves until the end of the Civil War in 1864 and then treated as second-class citizens for another century until the Civil Rights era in the 1960s.

      In addition, it is clear that the Founding Fathers of the US would have been against the democracy the US became after President Wilson served in the White House, because the Founding Fathers saw democracy as leading to mob rule.

      The Founding Fathers firmly and rightly believed that most people were not educated enough or capable of making rational decisions as voters and recent events in America seem to prove them correct.

      The Communist Party of China has 80 million card-carrying members. Then there is the Communist Youth league with another 70 or 80 million members. The current president of China came up through the Youth League and later was accepted as a member of the Party. The Party goes out of its way to recruit people that are successful in the private sector. Most join and a few say no, which is why the party now has 80 million members instead of the 70 million it had at the end of the 20th century.

      In fact, most decisions that come from the CCP’s in Beijing are arrived at by consensus—not the decision of one man. Even the president of China, who may only serve two five-year terms, has a hot line (telephone connection) with the top three hundred ministers in the Party.

      The Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary says consensus is a “general agreement” or “the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned”. [Note: quotation marks used in place of italics to emphasize the word or phrase]

      Since you have often reminded us that because you have read so many books about China and taught ESL in Asia for more than a decade, you are “the expert” on China, I wonder if you are aware of the fact that within the CCP they do not all unanimously on the same issues unanimously and that it is well known that an ongoing debate within the party about China becoming a multi party republic has been a topic for some time but the consensus of the Party has been to stay the course that China has followed since Mao’s death.

      Due to the fact that the Party isn’t as transparent as the West and America wants it to be, many imaginations run wild with speculation of how the Party runs.

      “The Communist Party of China (CPC) is the party in power in the country. The CPC has both central and local organizations. At the top is the Central Committee and, while when it is not in session, the Political Bureau and its Standing Committee exercise the power of the Central Committee. Both the Political Bureau and its Standing Committee are elected by the plenary session of the Central Committee.

      “The CPC is a unified entity organized according to its program, constitution and the principle of democratic centralism. The Constitution of the Communist Party of China stipulates that any Chinese worker, farmer, member of the armed forces, intellectual and any advanced element of other social strata who has reached the age of 18 and who accepts the program and constitution of the CPC and is willing to join and work in one of the Party organizations, carry out the Party抯 decisions and pay membership dues regularly may apply for membership in the CPC.”


      To learn more, you may want to read [if you haven’t already done so] Richard McGregor’s book, “The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers”

      An eye-opening investigation into China’s Communist Party and its integral role in the country’s rise as a global superpower and rival of the United States

      China’s political and economic growth in the past three decades is one of astonishing, epochal dimensions. The country has undergone a remarkable transformation on a scale similar to that of the Industrial Revolution in the West. The most remarkable part of this transformation, however, has been left largely untold—the central role of the Chinese Communist Party.

      As an organization alone, the Party is a phenomenon of unique scale and power. Its membership surpasses seventy-three million, and it does more than just rule a country. The Party not only has a grip on every aspect of government, from the largest, richest cities to the smallest far-flung villages in Tibet and Xinjiang, it also has a hold on all official religions, the media, and the military. The Party presides over large, wealthy state-owned businesses, and it exercises control over the selection of senior executives of all government companies, many of which are in the top tier of the Fortune 500 list.

      In The Party, Richard McGregor delves deeply into China’s inner sanctum for the first time, showing how the Communist Party controls the government, courts, media, and military, and how it keeps all corruption accusations against its members in-house. The Party’s decisions have a global impact, yet the CPC remains a deeply secretive body, hostile to the law, unaccountable to anyone or anything other than its own internal tribunals. It is the world’s only geopolitical rival of the United States, and is steadfastly poised to think the worst of the West.

      In this provocative and illuminating account, Richard McGregor offers a captivating portrait of China’s Communist Party, its grip on power and control over China, and its future.


      From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. McGregor, a journalist at the Financial Times, begins his revelatory and scrupulously reported book with a provocative comparison between China™s Communist Party and the Vatican for their shared cultures of secrecy, pervasive influence, and impenetrability. The author pulls back the curtain on the Party to consider its influence over the industrial economy, military, and local governments. McGregor describes a system operating on a Leninist blueprint and deeply at odds with Western standards of management and transparency. Corruption and the tension between decentralization and national control are recurring themes–and are highlighted in the Party™s handling of the disturbing Sanlu case, in which thousands of babies were poisoned by contaminated milk powder. McGregor makes a clear and convincing case that the 1989 backlash against the Party, inexorable globalization, and technological innovations in communication have made it incumbent on the Party to evolve, and this smart, authoritative book provides valuable insight into how it has–and has not–met the challenge. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

    • Mr. Parfitt,

      Thanks for the definition of a “Republic”, which proves that China and its government, the CCP, is a republic even if China only has one VERY BIG political party with many members–equal to about a third of the US population. Nowhere in the definition does it say a republic has to have more than one political party and nowhere does it say that every citizen over a given age must be given the right to vote. Instead, the right to vote should be earned through merit as it is in China.

      You may not have noticed when the definition of a REPUBLIC said, “supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote”, that it does not say everyone and for sure 80 million members is a rather large body of voters. Then you mentioned that in a REPUBLIC, the government representative’s responsible to that BODY of voters must be governed according to the law [written, I assume].

      If you have not read the 1982 Chinese Constitution, you should because it pretty much explains why people such as that Noble Laureate and democracy advocate WHAT’S HIS NAME was arrested and tossed in jail. It’s no secret that he was breaking the law and was warned to stop many times. The standard practice is to pick up these violators of this part of Chinese law and have tea with them while requesting that they stop before the situation leads to jail time.

      You see, my wife and I know someone that was invited to one of those polite teas. Unlike WHAT’S HIS NAME, she heeded the warning, stopped, and never spent one day in jail and she was never tortured. In addition, my stepdaughter’s 80-year-old grandfather was a high-ranking member of the CCP before he retired and I have had many long conversations with him about how the CCP operates. Alessandro’s explanation is correct.

      The members of the CCP that were voted into a government job to run the country by the membership of the CCP were only following the letter of the law, which also stipulates that no politician may serve more than two, five year terms in any single political position, must retire at age 67, which even the US doesn’t do, and the CCP congress may impeach a president if he steps outside the law as defined by the 1982 Chinese Constitution, which was written to make sure that China would never be ruled by one man again for decades at a time.

      This link will take you to the English translation of China’s Constitution. To understand it, it helps to read it all slowly… Maybe more than once. It is not the US Constitution by any means but it is a body of law. Without it and the still evolving legal system in China, which is modeled after the German legal system, China would never have been admitted to the World Trade Organization in 2001.

  6. Troy Parfitt says:

    So, if China is a republic, and Sun Yat-sen wanted a republic based on the American model, has SYS’s dream been realized in China? One of the tenets of Sun’s philosophy was democracy. Has China achieved democracy?

    What about China’s debt problem? Would that hinder it in its supposed race against India?

Comments are welcome — pro or con. However, comments must focus on the topic of the post, be civil and avoid ad hominem attacks.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: