For China’s One-Party Rulers, Legitimacy Flows from Prosperity and Competence

The West Still Underestimates Beijing’s Ancient Social Contract with “Heaven”

It is widely assumed in the West that legitimacy of a government comes from universal suffrage and multiparty competitive elections. Yet this assumption raises two issues: First, historically it is not true, as universal suffrage is a recent development. One can claim, for instance, that U.S. administrations only became truly legitimate in 1965, when African Americans were really allowed to vote. Furthermore, this practice is confined only to nation-states. It is difficult to imagine that, say, the European Union could establish its legitimacy and play its unifying role on the …

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