China’s pragmatism vs US liberal Universalism

Here are my latest published articles:


2014 Sep 24

Foreign Policy In Focus, India and China’s Pragmatism Challenge U.S. Superpower Status


2014 Jul 9

Eurasia Review, A new power structure in Asia: India+China+Japan


For details, please visit my primary blog at:


Xi’s Helmsmanship on IR — [1] China as a Woken-up Lion

If Deng’s “Peaceful Rise” doctrine is to restrict the Chinese leaders not to pose threats to the world, Xi Jin-ping’s “China as a peaceful, friendly and civilized Woken-up Lion” analogy is to tell the world that China can no longer be “bullied”.

This assertion indicates that Beijing is confident enough in its forces to fend off blows from foreign powers and even strike back.  It is a milestone for China in the sense that Xi as the incumbent helmsman ruler dares to face off foreign powers at international level.  I believe that from now on Beijing will dare to be very harsh towards those irritating challenges and even afflict them with some sorts of measures.

Update 1: The subscription-only UK journal Philosophy Now published my article “Could Plato’s Republic Work in China?”  in its Issue 101 Mar/Apr 2014 main theme: The Ship of Fools – Plato and Democracy.  Here are the links:

Comments and questions are welcome.

Update 2: “From Democracy to Veto-cracy: Destabilizing World Politics” is my latest article on the “head count” problem of the election mechanism in polarized angry nations.

When more self-radicalized individuals and interest groups do not play the waiting rules of democracy and choose to bring down their generally elected government in the name of “people’s democracy”, democracy as a political system for peaceful handover of authority will collapse worldwide very quickly.  Perhaps, it is what Plato foresaw 2,500 years ago.

Thailand, Ukraine, Belgium and Egypt: Secession or Helmsman Ruler System

Here is my latest article which argues that the problems in Thailand, Ukraine, Belgium and Egypt (named by me as the TUBE states) have exposed the fatal weakness of Democracy, namely, “tyranny of the majority” vs “mobocracy of the minority”; and that the peoples there should consider the Helmsman Ruler System (HRS) — the pragmatic version of Plato’s rotational ruler system:

Please kindly note that this Word Press blog was set up to meet the requirement of the China Daily Mail for publishing articles there.   I do not publish post at his blog regularly.  If you would like to be updated of my writings, please follow my primary blog:

From my primary blog, you can find:

[1] my most viewed post :From Liberal Universalism back to Multi-bloc Geopolitics  Groẞräume GeoPolitik

[2] the post about one of the pillar features of System: “The Historical Trace of Decentralization in China for the Helmsman Ruler System”

[3] the posts that explain why HRS is not a system for China only: “From 12 Angry Men to 12 Angry Nations” and “Helmsman Ruler System for Angry Nations II”

[4] Beijing’s reaction to and debate on the HRS

[5] My most viewed published articles’ highlights and web links:

China’s Rotational Ruler Model

How U.S. and China may administer the ‘Six Wars’

A China Model with British Accent

The Philippines and China will have a deal rather than a fight

A Roundtable with Saudi, Iran, Israel, China and the U.S. Soon (my original article title)

Susan Rice Attempts to Solve the Japan-China Deadlock

Thank you.

The Book about The Helmsman Ruler System

This second Helmsman Ruler blog was set up to facilitate my contribution to China Daily Mail for my book which was published in March 2013.

More postings can be found in my primary blog

Book Title

Helmsman Ruler:

China’s pragmatic version of Plato’s ideal political succession system in The Republic



[1] interpret and give a formal name to the “once-in-a-decade” transition of power in China as a pragmatic version of Plato’s ideal,

[2] systematically examine the system’s features, and

[3] provide a platform for future analyses.


A Comparative Study of China’s political succession with other non-democratic thoughts and/or systems:

[1] Plato’s rotational philosopher ruler in The Republic,

[2] the liberal Germanophiles’ open-yet-authoritarian elite theory of the 1890s-1920s,

[3] the rotational governorship of colonial Hong Kong in the 1950s-70s,

[4] the British cadet system of Hongkong Bank in the 1940s-70s’ and

[5] Carl Schmitt’s autonomous economic administration (1932) proposed for the Weimar Republic.

It is written in a style for general readers.


It is argued that three key features of China’s present experimental political succession system, named the Helmsman Ruler System (HRS) in this book, parallel Plato’s rotational ruler model: “those who have (i) come through all our practical and intellectual tests with distinction must be brought to their final trial … and when their turn comes they will, (ii) in rotation, …do their duty as Rulers… And so, when they have (iii) brought up successors like themselves to take their place as Guardians, they will depart to the islands of the blest…”(Plato: The Republic < 540a-b>, translated by Desmond Lee, Penguin Books, first published in 1955). The “open recruitment” and “possession of private property and family” in China are pragmatic differences from Plato’s prototype.

Under the System, the leading positions are handed over to persons without kinship to the predecessors.  The rulers are openly recruited, purposively trained and educated, and competitively selected.  It has also been an institutionalized practice that they take turns to be at the helm, and retire when their tenure ends.  Two paradigms, the “debate” and “struggle” models, are constructed to analyze the ruler-selection process.

Through the Helmsman Ruler System, the Chinese Communist Party has not only remolded the authoritarian state into an open-yet-authoritarian state by providing fluid socio-political mobility to the ordinary citizens, but also succeeded in managing China as a gigantic business conglomerate to serve the national interest.  With the System and based on the Platonic dichotomy between the state and economy, China has coincidentally tri-partitioned its political economy with an intermediate domain called autonomous economic administration, which is composed of state-owned enterprises, business chambers and occupational organizations, to train its helmsmen and draw allegiance of the capitalists and professionals to the state in a Hegelian way.

The Helmsman Ruler System as the embodiment of the national affirmation of the Platonic virtue of propriety may enable China to chart out a new path of development, and avoid the vicious cycle of technocentrism and consumerism.

A free preview is now available at Amazon Look Inside and Scribd the digital library .
Video presentation to provide a brief introduction to the Helmsman Ruler System is available on YouTube in EnglishGermanTurkishBulgarian and Spanish.

I wrote the book simply out of my intellectual interest in Plato’s philosophy and China’s politics.   I have no connection with the Chinese Communist Party except my uncle who has been working in a small town hospital is a party member.

Questions and comments can be sent to


Ch 1    Helmsman, not Philosopher

From Plato to China

Leaders at Helm

Concepts and Definitions

Effects of the Helmsman Ruler System on China

Ch 2     From Plato’s Ideal to Building an Open-yet-authoritarian State

Plato’s Dichotomy between Authoritarian Governance and Economy

A Platonic experiment in Latin America

China 1978: Could Authoritarianism co-exist with Capitalism?

A Platonic Dichotomy in Colonial Hong Kong 1950s-70s

Inclusive Administration and State Building

Germanophilism and the open-yet-authoritarian elite theory 1890s-1920s

The Chinese national aspiration for socio-political mobility

Citizens as (co)nationals

An Open-yet-authoritarian Definition of “Democracy”

Ch 3    Helmsman Ruler at work: For Socio-political Mobility

Power and Institutionalization

Open Recruitment of the CCP and the Civil Service

The Communist Youth League of China

CCP membership

Increasing emphasis on recruiting civil servants from ordinary families

Education and the Party Schools System


A rite of passage

The political functions

Examination, Rotational Posting, Promotion and the Lists


Rotational posting as dialectic

Party patronage

Bianzhi and Nomenklatura

Party Discipline

Ch 4    Helmsman Ruler at work For Selection of Rulers

Succession and Retirement

Two selection paradigms

Debate Model

Struggle Model

An analysis by applying the Struggle Model

An analysis by applying the Debate Model

The Models and Institutionalization of the System

Ch 5    Helmsman Ruler at work with a Tri-partitioned Political Economy

China and Western Economics

From rapid growth to slowdown

Economics in crisis

The Tri-partition

Carl Schmitt’s domain in between the state and the private sector

China’s Autonomous Economic Administration (AEA)

China’s AEA: The Occupational Organizations and the Party Organs

The red capitalists and the business associations


Experimental application of a Plato-Hegel-Schmitt approach to authoritarian governance

China’s AEA: The State-owned Enterprises

From Sir A Morse to GM Sayer at Hongkong Bank 1950s-70s

Guardianship as a factor of production for China plc

From China plc to the new nomos of the Earth

Ch 6   Helmsman Ruler at work in the Anthropocene

Anthropocene and the Helmsman Ruler System

Adam Smith’s propriety, prudence and benevolence

A feasible alternative

About the Author:

Keith K C Hui is a Chinese University of Hong Kong graduate major in Government and Public Administration, a Fellow of The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (UK), and now a retired businessman.