Mis-modelling Singapore : China's Challenges in Learning from the City-state

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

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Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1014-1032
Journal / PublicationThe China Quarterly
Volume236
Online published28 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

Abstract

Singapore exemplifies what China strives for: resilient authoritarianism despite advanced development with good governance and political stability. But lessons Chinese observers draw from the Southeast Asian city-state have been selective, leading to misconceptions. We focus on three key areas in which Chinese observers claim inspiration from the “Singapore model.” The first, Singapore's “Asian values” discourse which is seen to provide an ideological defense of non-democratic rule, overestimates the impact of top-down conservative culturalism while underestimating the difficulty of propagating Confucianism in officially still communist China. Second, while elections in Singapore are seen to bolster the ruling People Action Party's legitimacy in Singapore, they have been implemented to such a limited extent in China that any legitimation gain is unlikely. Finally, the chief lesson derived from Singapore's fight against corruption, the importance of a committed leadership, ignores the importance of the rule of law in Singapore, a legacy of colonialism very different from China's post-totalitarian trajectory.
作為中國所學效的物件,新加坡除了發展先進、治理良好和政治穩定,亦擁有具彈性的威權主義。但中國的觀察員卻只選擇性的從東南亞城市國家中借鑒,而引致了誤解。我們現針對三個中國觀察員聲稱由新加坡模式所啟發的重點領域。第一,新加坡論述的『亞洲價值觀』只被看作為一個提供非民主統治意識形態的思想防線,高估了由上而下保守文化主義的影響,同時亦低估了一個在傳播孔儒思想上困難但仍然正式實施共產主義的中國。第二,新加坡的選舉仍被看作是支持執政人民行動黨在新加坡的認受性,這些選舉已經在中國有限度的實施,以使任何從中合法化獲得利益都。最後,來自於新加坡主要的學習得到的教訓為打擊腐敗,就是擁有一個堅定領導的重要性。新加坡法治的重要性是一個不容忽視的殖民主義遺產,這是與中國的後極權主義軌道截然不同的。

Research Area(s)

  • Singapore model, resilient authoritarianism, good governance, Asian values, elections, anti-corruption, 新加坡模式, 具彈性威權主義, 治理良好, 亞洲價值觀, 選舉, 反腐敗