China has a long process to select its leader while the West has one year to a few months of an election campaign. To be a Chinese leader, he has to be good at the grassroots to be put into a junior position, either in government or in CPC or PLA. Then he has to be good to ascent up the ladder step by step, from village cadre to country cadre, to regional carder, to provincial carder. By the time he becomes the leader, he probably already had experience in government and CCP or even PLA. He probably already had experience in rural positions and urban positions and have experience at least in three different areas: agriculture, industry, education, health, etc. It is more like a career path within a large consulting firm or a large financial firm that takes at least 15 years to climb into the top management team.

In contrast, in the Western system, if you are a celebrity and very popular, you can win an election and become a leader. Voters will cast their ballot based on the rhetoric and passion the candidate moved them. The western leader may easily be manipulated by government bureaucracy and lobbyists. They cannot focus on their job as they have to prepare the next campaign halfway through their term and between the congress sections.

Is it easier to manage a country than manage a firm? Why does it take 15 years for staff to climb to a top management position in a firm while it takes only one year for a celebrity to become president?

In China, one has to be willing to serve the people to become a CPC member. One has to take responsibility to take a junior position. A province in China is as large as a country in Europe. To be a Chinese leader, one has to have great achievements in a province. To be a province leader, one has to have great achievements in a county. Government achievement is compared with neighboring counties or other provinces, and see how is the economy developed and how people satisfied. If you are not good at serving the people of more and more populations, you cannot get up the ladder. That’s Chinese democracy. If one cannot serve the people of a village well, he or she cannot be an officer in a province. If one cannot serve the people of a province well, he or she cannot be an officer of the country.

China had its leaders based on what they had done before, while the West had its leaders based on what they said in the campaign. That is the unique character of the Chinese political system.

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Xiaoming Guo

Ph.D. from McGill University. MBA from Queen’s University. A patriot Canadian believes that a good relationship with China serves our best national interest.