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Breaking the ‘monolithic China’ perception

Daryl Guppy
Daryl Guppy5/21/2018 07:30 AM GMT+08  • 6 min read
Breaking the ‘monolithic China’ perception
SINGAPORE (May 21): Monolithic China is a concept exploited in many comments about the country. China is ruling the South China Sea, or China is stealing intellectual property, or China has an all-powerful central government. This is the vision of China t
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SINGAPORE (May 21): Monolithic China is a concept exploited in many comments about the country. China is ruling the South China Sea, or China is stealing intellectual property, or China has an all-powerful central government. This is the vision of China that represents the majority of Western thinking about the country.

Tourists have a slightly different perspective. It is obvious that China has many different parts. This stretches from the super metropolises of Beijing to the second-tier cities such as Xi’an. Tropical Kunming is very different from Harbin in the cooler north. The seaside resorts of Hainan are different from the mountains of Yunnan or the landscape of Guangzhou. But these same tourists who have seen the diversity often continue to subscribe to the idea of a monolithic China.

The domestic reality is different. The government is not unified. It is filled with diverse opinions and diverse politics. The politics is not split along the same lines as in the West, but by the same token, it cannot be described as monolithic. Divisions are deep and just as real as the division between Democrats and Republicans.

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