Can China be a role model for Belarus?

Stereotypes suggest that Belarus resembles China in terms of political and economic development. But experts maintain a small European nation can hardly be compared with Asia’s economic giant. Political analyst Andrei Fiodarau is convinced Belaya Rus has little in common with the Communist Party of China. Peter Marstev doubts that Belarus will manage to carry out economic reforms in the Chinese way.

“I am very grateful for what you have done for us. You can rest assured that we will respond with gratefulness to your investments in Belarus”, Alexander Lukashenka said about China. The European Radio for Belarus asked local experts what Belarus should adopt from the Chinese.

Over the past 100 years, the Chinese leaders have promised their people a certain type of democracy. Sung Yat-sen, Mao Tse-tung and Deng Xiaoping had different visions of democracy. Sun Yat-sen wanted a constitutional rule with free elections and the division of powers, something that resembles the western European way the most. Mao and Den demonstrated democracy meant little to them. But all of the three politicians agreed that democracy was not a priority goal but a mechanism to turn China into a country that will not fear foreign nations.

In terms of economy, China has enough population that boosted economic development since Xiaoping’s reforms. It is no surprise that few in China care about politics with the current level of economic achievements. That’s exactly the case when money rules any other emotions.

It is not grateful to try to compare Belarus and China. On the one hand, parallels are obvious: the lack of democracy, pressure on independent media and a bad human rights record. On the other hand, the secretary general in China is controlled by the party bodies, while Belarus is ruled singlehandedly.

“The Communist Party of China indeed plays a major role in the Chinese society. In Belarus, this role is performed by one person. In China, the party leader is a very influential person, yet it is controlled by other leaders (Political Bureau and Central Committee)”, says political analyst Andrei Fiodarau.

Over the past two years, attempts to create a power party (Belaya Rus) can be observed. But the party is being shaped according to the Russian not Chinese model, Fiodarau suggests.

“Nothing is working out as regards the creation of Belaya Rus party. We are yet to see what happens. They keep denouncing that they will be a party in the future. They call themselves a movement. But it seems that we will not have a Chinese-type or a Soviet-style communist party. It will rather resemble the Russian model of the United Russia party which was formed to support the personality of Putin”, Fiodarau says.

“Belarus and China are totally different countries both in terms of history and scale. But with a formal approach, we could borrow the Chinese experience of economic reforms. Unfortunately, Belarus is not ready yet for large-scale economic reforms”, says Peter Martsev, the editor-in-chief of Belaruskaya Delovaya Gazeta.

In the view of Marstev, it is hardly possible to copy the Chinese experience for Belarus, because our nation is in Europe.

“Of course, anything is possible. But I think that we will have our own innovations despite alleged likeliness between the countries”.