The rapid reaction by China's government to the earthquake, along with media -- much of it state-run -- that has spotlighted the best aspects of that response to a newly unified public, have all helped enhance the central government's image as responsive and effective. The strong world-wide expression of sympathy, meanwhile, has quieted -- at least for now -- criticism of Beijing's policies in Tibet and elsewhere that had threatened to overshadow its hosting of the Summer Olympics in August.(...) overall, the government's response appears likely to give a meaningful, and potentially lasting, boost in support for China's leadership, analysts said. That is a stark contrast to the Bush administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which was widely criticized in the U.S. as slow and ineffective. The resulting public backlash helped send President Bush's approval ratings, already suffering from economic concerns and the war in Iraq, to their current lows. In China's response last week, the most visible figure was Premier Wen, who has become a populist hero as a result of his actions. While Mr. Bush waited until two days after Katrina made landfall to travel to stricken New Orleans -- and then flew over it without landing -- Mr. Wen arrived in quake-battered Sichuan province within hours after the quake struck on May 12. He spent the next four days traveling from one devastated town to the next, often by helicopter when roads were blocked, comforting the victims and promising more help. Wall Street JournalDavid Seaton's News Links
I think it's time to give some serious study and analysis as to what exactly the Communist Party of China really is.
The recent earthquake is China put this huge organization to a brutal test, it responded humanely, with efficiency, flexibility and imagination in taking care of the victims and simultaneously getting the maximum political benefit from the catastrophe both at home and abroad.
Many people, all over the world, have drawn unfavorable comparisons with the American government's handling of Katrina, a far less damaging crisis, where government at all levels: local, state and federal, showed a bumbling, autistic indifference to the suffering of their fellow countrymen. The much vaunted private sector certainly didn't "step up", not one leader emerged from that crisis, from the President on down... This in a country that prides itself as no other on the quality of its management science, techniques that are exported to every corner of the earth, to MBA students who learn them and recite them with the devotion of little Muslim boys in a madrassa.
As a management team, the Communist Party of China is obviously agile, responsive and intelligent. Anyone with experience in large collective endeavors knows how difficult it is for such a massive organization to embody any of those qualities. I truly wish that Peter Drucker was still with us to analyze this dancing elephant!
We are looking at something truly formidable: massive and yet flexible. A listening organization and a learning organization.
How does it work? How are decisions taken? How does it collect information and process it? How does information move within it?
Everything that I read about this organization is colored by politics. What I am interested in is understanding a triumph of management practice, that has taken a feudal country, overrun by foreigners, gained its independence and sovereignty, unified a thousand million people, organized them, and then has shown supreme, pragmatic, flexibility in transforming Really Existing Socialism into dizzyingly successful capitalism.... all without losing control.
What philosophy has remained constant in all of this? Certainly I am going to be looking for books to read this summer, but I don't think I'll find anything written from the angle that interests me. If any of my readers know of any text that would enlighten me I would be very grateful. DS