Cheng Li on China, and DC statehood

Let me just start this off by admitting I have a nerd-crush on Cheng Li, so my bias is on the table. I recently read this interview of him ("The Bo Xilai Crisis: a Curse or a Blessing for China?" from 04/18) in which he talks about how Bo Xilai's exit from the political scene might affect China's future. It's almost 2 months old now, but what strikes me isn't any particular aspect of his analysis, it's his optimism about the future. 

It may be that this optimism is intentional -- he could be espousing optimism in order to affect public discourse somehow -- but for no particular reason I get the impression that Cheng Li is unlikely to say something he doesn't mean. He is optimistic that this series of events could turn out for the better -- that it could be a chance for the government to become more democratic and more stable at the same time.


This all got me thinking about US politics and what could be done to make America more democratic and stable. Stability is not much of an issue, but democracy could be improved. DC, where I live, does not even have voting representation in Congress, and I've been told that there's no political will for this to be changed. It's a Catch 22 -- there's no one willing to support the change because no one represents us in Congress. Still, there are hundreds of thousands of people living in the District -- surely that is will enough?


I suppose my wildly optimistic hope is that I'll see true democracy in DC in my lifetime. It'll be interesting to see whether democracy in China comes first.

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