China learning how to become modern

The most ‘impactful'(!) story I came across this morning was the video showing the public spanking of eight employees — men and women — of a Chinese bank who, apparently, had not been up to the mark while training.

This is available on BBC News website but, interestingly, it was first available on People’s Daily website. The People’s Daily is, of course, an official newspaper in China so, obviously, the bank’s spanking session was disapproved of by the Chinese government at a high level. It was thought useful to shame the two bank executives who had, in turn, been shaming the trainees. Which must mean, one would assume, that this sort of antiquated behaviour must still be widespread in China.

The big problem is — How do you change culture? The answer is — only with difficulty, and only little bit by little bit. It’s usually not the people at the bottom who are difficult — they’re amenable to almost anything — it’s the intermediate managers and officials who don’t want to lose personal power. In this case, the people at the very top — the Politburo — have decided that if they want China to become an advanced nation then their retinue had better start learning how to act as they do in the West.

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