The idea that China’s economic surge was due to conditions unique to the country has long been a core concept of Chinese ideology and policy. But in a speech published last week on Peking University’s website, prominent Chinese economist Zhang Weiying argued that China’s growth was not the result of a special “Chinese model” of development. In fact, he asserted that there is no such thing as a Chinese model and that the concept itself widens the divide between China and the West and generates hostility toward Beijing.
In the past 40 years, China’s economy has certainly grown dramatically, and there are three possible explanations for its rise. The first is that it was simply the result of removing impediments to growth, such as Maoism, war and imperialism. The second explanation is that China developed economically for the same reason that other nations like the United States and Japan did: It adopted sufficient elements of a free market system. The third explanation is