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CAIXINMEDIA

Adam Smith To Xi Jinping, Wealthy Nations Need Good Laws

As China holds its 18th CCP Fourth Plenary Session with the theme of the "rule of law in China," it is clear that the corrupt system that fueled the country's economic boom is bankrupt.

In a Beijing court in April.
In a Beijing court in April.
Wang Yong*

BEIJING — In his book The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith explained that under tyrannical and monarchical rule, property rights are always at imminent risk of infringement — and people will usually hide their wealth. In case of emergency, they can immediately transfer their holdings to another safe haven.

Though not as serious as Smith's description, China's situation is nevertheless very grim. Indeed, even though that emergency is yet to come, China's rich people are already transferring their assets abroad on a large scale. The country is experiencing the third largest emigration spree in history. As statistics show, among business owners with over 100 million RMB ($16 million) of personal assets, 27% have already emigrated while 47% are considering doing so.

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Geopolitics

Is Soft Power Dead?

With an activist Supreme Court creating a gap between democratic rhetoric and reality in the U.S., and Russia and China eager to flex military muscle, the full-force return to hard power looks bound for dominance.

U.S. flag and Chinese flag

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — Russia's war in Ukraine rages on, tensions are erupting in the South China Sea and now abortion rights are being stripped away in the U.S.: Looking around the world, we have to ask: what is left of the notion of soft power?

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How can we talk about the power to convince when the power to coerce is increasingly the norm? And when there is such a gap between rhetoric and reality in the U.S. and in Russia and China, hard power almost seems to have become part of soft power?

“We will lead the world not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example,” Joe Biden said the day after his election. But what kind of example was he talking about? That of the Supreme Court’s judges, whose decision promises a terrible future to women and to all those who still wanted to believe in an enlightened and liberal America?

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