The People’s Republic of China Goes Austrian?

What does an average guy from the West like myself know about China? Tian’anmen Square, the Great Firewall, communism, and collectivism. One can still find remnants of these generalizations in Chinese society today, even after the free-market reforms introduced by Deng Xiaoping in 1978. However, there is no doubt that China is radically changing. While there, I observed expensive luxurious cars on the street, lavish malls with ice skating rings, an abundance of technological products, and people using mini segways instead of walking. I spoke to many Chinese students, some sporting Rothbard shirts, and realized that they want to be individualistic and create their own paths in the world. They all question the information blockade and know about Facebook, Twitter, and their government’s restrictive policies. Their willingness to listen to my and other outsider views on China demonstrate their eagerness to learn more. This open mindset will not go away and is sure to influence political opinions in the future. Three years ago, I co-founded European Students For Liberty (ESFL). At that point, I was blown away to discover a handful of people committed enough to spend their time and energy promoting liberty. Before that, I thought there were barely any classical-liberals out there. Now, this fall, ESFL is organizing 16 conferences in 15 countries and the African Students For Liberty Conference this past weekend had 1180 student attendees. Things truly are changing! China is no exception, as demonstrated by this picture from the Shanghai Austrian Economics Summit organized by our friends from TFT Events and the International Society for Individual Liberty (and the great Schoolland family). Many Chinese professors talked about the follies and shortcomings of government intervention in the economy. Everyone at the event had a profound knowledge of classical liberal ideas and wanted to learn more. This astonishing conference was topped by the moving story of Yeon-Mi Park. Yeon-Mi fled North Korea in 2009 and had to live as an illegal immigrant in China before finally …