The recent editorial by former Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo that claimed that traditional society like China is more resistant to populism than the West is riddled with errors and misleading assertions.
It fundamentally ignores the past two centuries of Chinese history and is often filled with incorrect statements. He ignores the two largest populist movements in world history, the Great-leap-Forward and the Cultural Revolution which are textbook examples of populism.
A leader promising an easy sounding solution to the common people that pit’s them against a powerful elite in order to reduce inequality.Trump’s brand of populism pales in comparison to the horrors of the great-leap-forward and these actions go against the fundamental thesis of the editorial. This isn’t some sort of ancient history but instead dates back less than a century,
He then also goes along and mistakes Geographical challenge with conscious decision, claiming that China’s lack of diversity is intentional.
He wrote, “This is not accidental. Chinese dynasties could easily have expanded China to colonise non-Han people in large numbers but chose not to. Non-Han groups reside mainly in strategic border regions. Some have been partially assimilated over a long period of time, like the Manchus and the Mongols.”
Ignoring the several geographic barriers that all Chinese dynasties face with further expansion, the northern border was deserted and incredibly poor, the South was blocked by jungles preventing armies from being logistical supported while the West was highly Mountainous terrain preventing any conquest beyond that. China was also often taken over by those from outside its borders such as during the Qing dynasty which were then assimilated into Chinese culture, rendering the idea that China is unable to assimilate people into their culture quite laughable.
These are two major errors that destroy the foundation of his thesis that China and other Asian countries are somehow resistant to populism, Ignoring these parts of Chinese history is a drastic error and I hope that our honorable Former Foreign Minister will respond to this as quickly as possible