Can China Become Singapore? | China Hang-up

Deng and Lee

During Deng Xiaoping’s famous 1992 “Southern Tour” that reignited economic reforms, he expressed admiration for an increasingly attractive political model. “Singapore’s social order is rather good,” he remarked. “Its leaders exercise strict management. We should learn from their experience, and we should do a better job than they do.”

The small Southeast Asian nation was enviable for how it had become rich and stable with a clean government, all while remaining authoritarian. Since that time, some 10,000 Chinese officials have gone to Singapore to take governance lessons, but can the system really be adapted to China?

Rachel Chang is a reporter for Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper, where she covered domestic politics before transferring to its Beijing bureau earlier this year. In today’s episode she gives us a whirlwind introduction to relations between the two countries, and how they’ve come to influence one another.

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