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.

To continue reading,

Sign in to access this Premium article.

Subscription entitlements:

Less than $9 per month
3 Simultaneous logins across all devices
Unlimited access to latest and premium articles
Bonus unlimited access to online articles and virtual newspaper on The Edge Malaysia (single login)

Stay updated with Singapore corporate news stories for FREE

Follow our Telegram | Facebook