At a time when the United States and Europe are beset by economic crises, it is natural that the Western model of economic development, including a democratic political system, should be viewed with some skepticism while China's growth model is greatly enhanced.

However, the Chinese government has not sought to promote itself as a model for other countries. Indeed, Premier Wen Jiabao said last spring that "China never sees its development as a model." Instead, he said, all countries have their own development paths that suit their national conditions and "we respect the choice of their people."

Besides, China has explained that what it does, including the practice of socialism, is with "Chinese characteristics" and so, by definition, cannot be replicated by other countries.