Imran’s Chinese Lessons


Democracy Protest Tienamen Square

Imran Khan recently said that PTI has a lot to learn from China. The PTI chief reaffirmed this belief on his visit to Beijing this week, saying that ‘Pakistanis have a lot to learn from the Chinese, particularly on the fronts of poverty alleviation, anti-corruption measures and accountability of officials and party leaders’.

The Kaptaan learned of China’s excellent record on poverty alleviation, anti-corruption measures and accountability of officials and party leaders from Chinese officials and party leaders themselves – rather like asking MNA’s to declare their own assets, isn’t it?

In fact, China scored as one of the two worst countries in a recent anti-corruption poll by Transparency International. The BBC wanted to learn more about how China is dealing with corruption, but rather than ask Chinese officials, they took a more ‘grassroots’ approach and asked ordinary people.

Qin, in Xi’an, emails: Corruption and bribe-paying happens not only in the commercial field but in almost all parts of social life here. It’s becoming more and more prevalent and is becoming a serious problem.

If this is ignored and continues to develop here in China I think our public moral value, integrity and faith which is the corner stone of any society will be thoroughly destroyed.

As for accountability of officials and party leaders, it’s something of a mystery how Imran compares China’s single party Communist government to a democracy where someone like Imran Khan has the opportunity to challenge the powers that be without fear of reprisal. Is this more evidence of Kaptaan’s soft spot for authoritarianism, or is Immy simply missing the point?

I thought it especially strange since I had recently received in my inbox an article comparing the similarities between the way that the way Chinese officials abuse their positions to harass those who dare to stand up to the government to the way the same is done in India. Does Imran think that Pakistan should take this lesson from India also?

I understand that Imran Khan wants to look like a global statesman, but this is not the way to go about it. While the Arab countries are rising up against authoritarianism, Imran Khan is looking for tips from a country whose own system is facing the need to change. Saying that he is taking lessons on corruption and accountability from Chinese communists only further increases my questions about which side of history Imran Khan is really on.


Author: Omar Derawal