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What the “Chinese Dream” Can Learn From Michael Bloomberg
Summary:Realizing the “Chinese dream” requires a series of conditions; the most important of which is a relaxed and inclusive environment that allows every citizen to exercise their rights. Then a variety of individual dreams can blossom and beautify the greater Chinese dream.

By Zhang Shiyi ( 
Issue 599, Dec 17, 2012
Nation, page 16
Translated by Zhu Na
Original article:

When Cao Tian (曹天) announced on Weibo last year that he intended run for mayor of Zhengzhou, Henan, it captivated the public.

The wealthy real estate developer said that if he were successful, he wouldn’t take a penny in wages. He even offered to put down 100 million yuan of his own money as a “clean government” guarantee, which would automatically go to the state treasury if he were ever found guilty of corruption. He also said he’d severely punish corrupt officials and make sure Chengguan (city urban management) never harassed ordinary people.

Many saw promise in Cao and were enthusiastic by the prospect of a businessman campaigning for office. Unfortunately for them, the story didn’t have a happy ending. Cao was one of many “independent candidates” that sprang up across the nation during that period who were pressured away from their ambitions by sitting leaders. Soon after he announced his intentions, Cao was investigated and his company was fined 34 million yuan by tax authorities.

After Cao’s story was reported, a wave of responses broke out online. Many expressed disappointment, while others scoffed at his lofty ambitions. “This guy may have watched too much U.S. news,” said one commenter. Another said Cao was silly. Becoming a mayor doesn’t require 100 million yuan; a few tens of millions would suffice if properly placed.

Among all these comments, one stuck out. It said, “Cao Tian considered himself like Michael Bloomberg, but it’s neither the right time nor place.

Bloomberg is founder of the media company which bears his name and the current mayor of New York City. This year he was ranked the 10th richest person in America with a fortune of $25 billion, which may have something to do with his annual mayoral salary being just a symbolic $1. Although he previously had no experience as an elected official, he’s been quite popular among New York Residents.

Bloomberg’s family didn’t have an impressive background, but he triumphed through many ups and downs to have great financial and political success. He’s a model for the American dream.

Whether or not Cao Tian knows Bloomberg’s story is unknown. However, there are many similarities between Cao’s dream of becoming a politician and the path Bloomberg took. I think Cao not only has the right to dream of becoming mayor, but he should represent the Chinese dream.

Shortly after becoming general secretary of the Communist Party, Xi Jinping mentioned the Chinese dream while visiting the “The Road Toward Renewal" exhibition in Beijing. “Everyone has their own ideal and pursuit, as well as their own dream,” he said. “Now people are also discussing the Chinese dream and what that dream is. I think realizing the great renewal of the Chinese nation is the greatest dream for China in modern history.

This was the first time that China’s top leader had used the concept of a “Chinese dream” in public. Xi didn’t attempt to make a very concrete designation of what the “Chinese dream” is, but I believe it includes the dreams of every Chinese individual. The Chinese nation isn’t an empty concept. It’s made up of ordinary, yet ambitious individuals with their own pursuits and ideals. Only when everyone has the opportunity to find their own happiness and achieve their individual dreams can we fulfill the “Chinese dream.

This Chinese dream should be able to tolerate Cao Tian’s dream. Cao challenged the current rules for selecting officials, but he wasn’t just talking nonsense. There was a legal basis.Cai Xia (蔡霞), professor at the Party School of the Central Committee of the CPC, says that the Electoral Law gives Cao the right to run for mayor as long as there are 20 deputies from the people’s congress to nominate him.

Cao wanted to become a servant of people by using his own money. As long as the procedures are followed and there’s no bribery involved in the election, why shouldn’t he run for mayor?

Of course, the Chinese dream won’t fall down from the sky by itself. Making it come true requires a series of conditions; the most important of which is a relaxed and inclusive environment that allows every citizen to exercise their rights. Then a variety of individual dreams can blossom and beautify the greater Chinese dream.

Unfortunately, Cao’s dream was too short-lived. Maybe those already in power viewed his goal as too naive and overconfident. But in my opinion, a society that considers Cao’s actions as naïve is a disappointment. In such a society, those who dare to be the first to break outdated customs and bad habits in pursuit of their ideals will be laughed at. But those who play it safe and assist evildoers will always have the last laugh.

Cao’s dream is part of the Chinese dream. It should have the same respect and opportunity that Michael Bloomberg’s had.

Links and Sources
Xinhua Agency:  "Chinese dream" resonates online after Xi\'s speech



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