Sydney Morning Herald:
As officers of similar rank rattle their sabres against US aircraft carriers in the Yellow and South China seas, General Liu Yazhou says China's rise depends on adopting America's system of government rather than challenging its dominance off China's eastern coast.
''If a system fails to let its citizens breathe freely and release their creativity to the maximum extent, and fails to place those who best represent the system and its people into leadership positions, it is certain to perish,'' writes General Liu Yazhou in Hong Kong's Phoenix magazine, which is widely available on news stands and on the internet throughout China.
''The secret of US success is neither Wall Street nor Silicon Valley, but its long-surviving rule of law and the system behind it,'' he says. ''The American system is said to be 'designed by genius and for the operation of the stupid'.
''A bad system makes a good person behave badly while a good system makes a bad person behave well. Democracy is the most urgent thing, without it there can be no sustainable rise.''
General Liu's latest writings are extraordinary by any standards. His article urges China to shift its strategic focus from the country's developed coastal areas, including Hong Kong and Taiwan - ''the renminbi belt'' - towards resource-rich Central Asia.
But he argues that China will never have strategic reach by relying on wealth alone. ''A nation that is mindful only of the power of money is a backward and stupid nation,'' he writes. ''What we could believe in is the power of the truth.
''The truth is knowledge and knowledge is power.''
But such national power can only come with political transformation. ''In the coming 10 years, a transformation from power politics to democracy will inevitably take place,'' he says.
General Liu inverts the lesson that Chinese politicians have traditionally drawn from the collapse of the Soviet Union - that it was caused by too much political reform - by arguing that reform arrived too late.
It will be interesting to keep an eye on General Liu. How he fares could be an important telltale to the future of China.