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Is China Ready For Democracy?

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posted on Apr, 12 2005 @ 10:45 AM
Dr Sun Yat-Sen (Sun Zhong Shan), revered by all Chinese as the "Father of Modern China", envisioned a democratic China based on the "principles of nationalism, democracy and equalization". He established the Chinese Republic in 1912, only to have it degrade into anarchy and be eventually succeeded by the semi-fascist government of Chang Kai-Shek's Nationalists, whose transgressions against the Chinese people eventually culminated in the communist revolution of 1949. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) then ironically proceeded to become the very monster that it had fought so hard against, until the mid 1980's when Deng Xiao Ping instigated reforms and opened up China's doors to the outside world.

Today, China's government is an anomaly in the political spectrum; not traditionally communist but certainly not democratic, not entirely capatilistic yet possessing one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Calls for true democracy in China can be heard from outside of the motherland, and sometimes from within by those brave enough to speak out. So the question must be asked: Is Mainland China ready for democracy?

The CCP continues to slowly reform, advancing the development of the country, and cleaning up the corruption within its ranks; but not quickly enough for some, and many doubt that the CCP will ever relinquish power to a multi-party system. The CCP claims that the Chinese people are 'not intellectually capable' of democracy and that China would degrade into anarchy if it were instituted. The party calls the current system "socialist democracy" and claims that people under this system have it better off than those in the West. - China ready for democracy in 1940s, not today
In an interview in September 2000 with CBS' Mike Wallace, China's then-president Jiang Zemin explained why Chinese people can't be allowed to have universal suffrage at this time: "The quality of our people is too low." There, in a simple statement, the people - supposed masters of the country - were deemed not fit for democracy, because once the ignorant, the unqualified, acquire the right to choose their government, "chaos will ensue," Jiang predicted. So the people are too stupid to know what is good for them. Only Papa, the Communist Party of China, knows best.

This is a strange view to take of a country that has produced eight Nobel Peace Prize winners to date. However, the argument does hold some validity when one considers that the China we see on television and in the newspapers does not constitute the true 'meat' of China. The steel and glass buildings of bustling Shanghai and Beijing are like diamond rings on a beggar. The majority of China's population lives in the country's interior where standards of living and education levels could definitely see some much-needed improvement.

But on the whole, China's education levels are reasonable, and the argument could also be made that the ability to choose one's government is a right, not a privelage given based on one's ability to read and write. Even the most uneducated farmer understands the decisions that will affect his particular piece of the world and can still make a valid choice as to which party will benefit his livelihood and his family the most.

So, a few questions:

If Chinese government were to become a democratic, multi-party system, then how would it be achieved? One thing China doesn't need is another violent revolution.

Would economic collapse incite another revolution, or change of government? The Chinese people are usually fairly happy as long as they have enough food to eat and a reasonably comfortable life, but deny them those and they rise up like an bear roused from its slumber by a kid with a firecracker.

Can the CCP truly be trusted to one day institute democracy? Or are they too addicted to the power, and yes, the personal benefits that come with socialist rule?

If democratic elections were instituted in China, would it result in anarchy? The organisation of 1.3 billion people to vote would be an absolute nightmare. The Chinese love to protest, to argue and to revolt. Would they ever be able to accept the results of an election peacefully?

Accusations of incompetence and unfitness to rule have been levelled at Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Iraq's newly formed government. Would a new party, with no experience at controlling the powerful yet lumbering beast that is the Chinese economy, be qualified to run the country?

Your thoughts?

[edit on 2005/4/12 by wecomeinpeace]

posted on Apr, 12 2005 @ 11:49 AM
The Communist Party itself will not institute Democracy, it will come from a leader of the Party.

It's a case of Development Vs Democracy, once Democracy is instituted, China's growth will slow, at least in the short term. This is much due to the way land seizures are currently done, extra court cases, organising elections for 1.3 billion people, campaigning etc.

What is a multi-party system? China would probably want a system like Japan's where one party has ruled for 50 years and the news coverage as well as the courts in Japan and very subject to government pressure. But Japan is still much more open then China.

The current goal of China should be aiming towards a proper judicial model and a political system like Japans. This will have many benefits.

1. Will get the monkey off every single Chinese's back about illegitimate government.
2. Stop people talking about Tiananmen.
3. Stability brought from one party rule.
4. Reasonable amount of freedom of speech.
5. Remove the negativity of media for China.

It would still allow the government to control things for the better development of China, and it would ensure that people cannot be persecuted.

Ironically, in this week of political protests about Japan's past, China should really be looking at the Japanese political model.

posted on Apr, 12 2005 @ 02:12 PM
You need a lot of will to change a system, even when the time is right for the change. Because there are always the bureaucracy...the many rich and powerful that gains from the current system.

I think it depends on the Chinese people. If they have a great desire for democracy then it will come gradually, peacefully or unpeacefully. If they don't then it will just stay about the same.

[edit on 12-4-2005 by twchang]

posted on Apr, 15 2005 @ 01:29 AM
I think a full fledged democracy for China is simply unworkable. Given the current climates, a democracy may also be undesirable for the sake of the world.

I mean, the CCP can currently stop nationalism before it gets out of hand, a presidential nominee might run on ultra-nationalism, that would take China from "talk tough, do little" to "talk tough, act tough".

posted on Apr, 15 2005 @ 01:17 PM
However, it is also dangerous.

If the government is ruled by dictator, it will "talk tough" only when the country is still in development and "talk tough, act tough" when the country is strong enough to do something.

With an authoritarian government, it is very easy to "brainwash" people. So the public opinion will be swayed by the government easily, and that is also very dangerous.

In the case of democracy there are at least some people that watch over the government so even when an untra-nationalism party gain power there are still restrain. (if the system works properly that is...)

[edit on 15-4-2005 by twchang]

posted on Apr, 15 2005 @ 08:38 PM
Yeah, true.

Though remember Hitler was voted into office.

Right now, i think the culture needs to be changed. China has always being goverend in a top-down fashion, this leads to scandals in the lower ranks.

posted on Apr, 21 2005 @ 03:17 AM
I don't think China is ready for democracy at this time unless it is a natural occurence. The fact is there are 1.3 billion people in China and there has never been anything remotely similar to democracy in the oldest living civilization in the world. Even in Hong Kong, where the British had their chance to introduce democracy many years ago did not do so until it was almost time for them to leave. I have come to learn that most Chinese believe if the people have food in their stomaches and money to spend then the government is doing a good job. This is the thinking even in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

I read alot of Chinese history and I learned that bad government in China resulted in uprisings and dynasties being toppled. (The Chinese don't accept bad government for long is what I trying to explain here) The commies have only been in power for about 60 years which is a very short time by Chinese standards. (dynasties typically last for centuries and like it or not the CCP is like another dynasty) Their economy is like a runaway train right now, even the poorest peasants have seen their buying power increase 2 or 3 times as much as 10 years ago. I think it's actually better for them to milk this for all its worth before overthrowing the government. The commies are actually doing a good job providing for its people, as long as Hu Jintao doesn't become senile with age and make mistakes like Mao did (Cultural Revolution) democracy would only hurt China at this point.

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