When President Bush cited Taiwan as a model for mainland China, though he wasn’t quite as aggressive as the headlines suggest, he raised some interesting historical specters: what if the Nationalists hadn’t lost China? Does the success of Taiwan validate the socialist Republicanism (and stages of political development) of Sun Yat-sen? And, of course, is Taiwan’s model of transition from single-party developmental state to multi-party (if still somewhat immature) democracy with flourishing high-value economy something that China could draw on?

Andrew Meyer, who’s been studying Taiwan and China for two decades or so has some thoughts on the plausibility of the president’s model.

This analysis, though [via Simon World] suggests that the Taiwanisation argument is in no small part wishful thinking to cover up the fact that we don’t like to admit the developmental success of (some) unfree societies.

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