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China rethinks the Singapore model

By Martin Ward,2014-11-28 18:38
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China rethinks the Singapore model

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    ; The Chinese have always had a good impression of Singapore and held the republic in high regard - ever since the late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping proposed the idea of learning from Singapore’s experience during his whirlwind tour of south China in 1992.

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    ; Chinese officials have been coming to Singapore on learning trips in droves. Ordinary Chinese are also fascinated by Singapore as a tourist spot.

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    ; There have been numerous publications that make observations or heap praises on Singapore penned by some of the visitors. Some Chinese cities have even looked to Singapore as a model and embarked on a process of “cloning” In the eyes of many Chinese, Singapore is a

    near-perfect Garden City.

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    ; But with deeper insights into Singapore and more frequent exchange programmes between officials of the two sides, something has changed - Singapore has begun to lose its attraction to bigger Chinese cities.

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    ; The Economic Observer, a newspaper in China, recently published an article comparing developments of the north-eastern coastal city of Dalian and the eastern coastal city of Qingdao. ;

    ; Dalian is one of the early special zones that were opened to foreign investment. ;

    ; It is a city that combines Hong Kong’s economic model, European-style architecture and

    Singapore’s expertise in city planning programmes. Qingdao began copying Dalian’s growth strategies as early as seven years ago. Its economy has now taken off and its total economic output has surpassed Dalian.

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    ; Interestingly, while tapping Dalian’s experience, Qingdao has begun to raise doubts about

    Dalian’s “model” - Singapore. A Qingdao official, for instance, has said that the Confucian values Dalian has been learning from Singapore have become irrelevant in the information age. Besides, the authoritative style of government in both Dalian and Singapore which bears the imprint of a strong leader, is also deemed unsuitable. According to the official, Singapore’s set of uniform v

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