The Real China Model: What other developing countries should learn from China

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On August 23, 2018, the United Nations and UN Development Programme hosted a public lecture titled, 'The Real China Model: What other developing countries should learn from China'.

Many view the China model as simply top-down governance coupled with massive investments in infrastructure, and worryingly, assume that other developing countries should or will copy these features. Yuen Yuen Ang debunks this common misunderstanding by drawing on her book, How China Escaped the Poverty Trap, which systematically traces the history of China’s economic and institutional changes from 1978 to 2012. The real key to China’s success is not top-down control; instead, it’s “directed improvisation”—the mixture of top-down direction from Beijing and bottom-up improvisation among numerous local governments—that enabled a locally tailored pattern of development.  

Disclaimer: This lecture was designed to provide a different perspective for development professionals in Cambodia. This lecture was not meant to be an endorsement of the Author, her book or any specific development strategy, but merely as learning opportunity for the community.

Introduction by UN Resident Coordinator for Cambodia

Welcoming remarks by UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director

The Real China Model: Full lecture by Professor Yuen Yuen Ang

In the lecture above, Professor Ang points out that the real key to China’s success is not top-down control; instead, it’s “directed improvisation”— the mixture of top-down direction from Beijing and bottom-up improvisation among numerous local governments—that enabled a locally tailored pattern of development.

Q&A Discussion

Prof. Yuen Yuen Ang, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Author of “How China Escaped the Poverty Trap”; H.E. Dr. Mey Kalyan, Senior Advisor, Supreme National Economic Council, Royal Government of Cambodia Mr Haoliang Xu, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Asia-Pacific; and Ms Pauline Tamesis, UN Resident Coordinator for Cambodia

PRESS RELEASE

Professor Ang portrait_kh

The United Nations in Cambodia organized a public lecture during which Professor Yuen Yuen Ang, author of the book How China Escaped the Poverty Trap, spoke on “The Real China Model: What other developing countries should learn from China”.   

Read the full press release here.

Book cover_#EscapingThePovertyTrap

Op-ed | The China Model: It's not what you think

By Yuen Yuen Ang

In 2016, the South Sudanese politician Anthony Kpandu led a delegation to China. What he saw there blew him away: modern industrial parks, high-speed trains, gleaming infrastructure, dazzling skylines. “It was magnificent,” he enthused. “You can’t believe it, but it’s there. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Read the full op-ed published in Foreign Affairs Magazine here.

Download the presentation here:

Presentation photoClick on the image to download the full presentation (PDF).
Yuen Yuen Ang Khmer Times

Author lauds Cambodia’s effort to revive traditional silk weaving

Speaking at ‘The real China model: What other developing countries should learn from China’ conference, Ms Ang said the use of local resources in Cambodia, such as the revival of the silk weaving industry, is an example of how authorities are driving development in the villages.

Read the full article here.