Mano Sabnani disagrees with Kishore Mahbubani, says that there are blind spots with regards to personal freedoms of Chinese people

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Photo: YouTube screengrab

Yesterday afternoon, Chairman & CEO at Rafflesia Holdings and former Chief Executive Officer and Editor-in-Chief of TODAY Mano Sabnani shared a video on his Facebook page of Kishore Mahbubani, former dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

In the video, the latter spoke at an event by The Long Now Foundation about the fundamental and unexpected changes China underwent.

Mr Mahbubani said, “China was ruled by Communist Party in 1949, it was ruled by Communist Party in 1979, it will be ruled by Communist Party in 2019. And you assume that China hasn’t changed. It is still being run by the same Communist Party. But the Chinese Communist Party has obviously changed fundamentally.”

“Every year, 120 million Chinese leave China freely as tourists. Amazingly, 120 million Chinese return to China freely”, he added in jest, citing an example of the freedom the Chinese people now have with regards to mobility, education, and vocation.

He also added that while the personal freedom of the Chinese has exploded, Mr Mahbubani said that “the political freedoms in China haven’t increased”.

In his Facebook post, while Mr Sabnani agreed with Mr Mahbubani that “China has changed since the 1980s [and that] the people have more economic liberties”, the former disagreed on another front.

“There are blind spots. Major ones too, especially in regard of personal freedoms”, Mr Sabnani wrote.

Mr Sabnani continued, “It’s not clear if the Chinese government will liberalize on that front. Human rights are involved. But China should be allowed to resolve these issues on its own. It’s a big, complex country with a long history.”

While the two men disagreed on the area of personal freedom the people of China have, they both agreed that any issues China might have with its political system, it should be allowed to resolve these issues on its own, without interference from the outside or other countries such as The United States of America.

Netizens got in on the debate as well.


obbana@theindependent.sg