In the past, Europeans assumed that as China became wealthier and more developed it would inevitably become more like [them]. This led to a lack of curiosity about China’s internal debates and an attempt to primitively divide its thinkers and officials into ‘reformers’ who embrace Western ideas and ‘conservatives’ who want to return to China’s Maoist past... The stereotype outside China is that Chinese politics has remained trapped in aspic even as the economy has been through radical changes. In fact, the country has gone from having a system animated by larger-than-life charismatic figures such as Deng or Mao towards the collective bureaucratic leadership of technocrats who exercise power according to strict term limits and are subject to regular reviews by their peers and constituents... [A]lthough China’s footprint will become ever more important for the world, the drivers of its internal debates will be increasingly domestic.
In the economic realm, the main divide is between a social Darwinist New Right that wants to unlock entrepreneurial energy by privatising all the state-owned companies and an egalitarian New Left that believes the next wave of growth will be stimulated by clever state planning. In the political realm, the main divide is between political liberals who want to place limits on the power of the state, either through elections, the rule of law, or public participation, and neo-authoritarians who fear these measures will lead to a bureaucratised collective government that is unable to take tough decisions or challenge the vested interests of the corrupt, crony capitalist class. In the foreign-policy realm, the main divide is between defensive internationalists who want to play a role in the existing institutions of global governance or emphasise prudence and nationalists who want China to assert itself on the global stage.
Mark Leonard (2013) Introduction to China 3.0
Mark Leonard (2008) China's new intelligentsia (Vietnamese translation by Pham Toan)
Trần Hữu Dũng (2009) Ổn định và phát triển: Trí thức Trung Quốc đang nghĩ gì?