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Thread: Chinese Democracy

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    Senior Member Dirt's Avatar
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    Default Chinese Democracy

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/17/wo...democracy.html

    All Communist Party members and many of their sympathizers will say that Chinese people are not suited for Western ideas and, particularly, democracy. Once again, for the 5th time, the people of the Republic of China proves those people wrong. I hope that I live to see the day that my fellow Chinese on the Mainland can have more determination over their own political fates, that I can live to see democracy on the Mainland. "Until that day, til all are one."

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    I am not a communist sympathizer, but I believe Mainland China is not suited for democracy. Mainland China was not, is not, and will never be a democracy. Speaking of freedom, it's not always the case that people from western countries have freedom than Mainland Chinese. It's just that people from different countries have different type of freedom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post
    I am not a communist sympathizer, but I believe Mainland China is not suited for democracy. Mainland China was not, is not, and will never be a democracy. Speaking of freedom, it's not always the case that people from western countries have freedom than Mainland Chinese. It's just that people from different countries have different type of freedom.
    However relative you want to put it, I can safely say that, in the UK, I can do whatever the hell I like as long as I don't interfere with other people. And if I dislike my government, I can do my part in voting them out. I've already done so in the past, and will no doubt do so again in the future.

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    Eh, difference is that PRC is about 60 times bigger than ROC. Likewise, Singapore is just as successful if not more so than Taiwan. Should China follow Singapore model exactly as well?

    Can democracy work in China, probably, once majority of Chinese are educated middle class. But at end of the day, current system, as imperfect as it is, seems to work okay for now. The risk is to end up like India (or worse like Russia in the 90s when it basically imploded), which is world's largest democracy, and given its economy, development, size, and history makes much better comparison to China than Taiwan.
    Last edited by Dimeron; 01-18-12 at 11:31 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pannonian View Post
    However relative you want to put it, I can safely say that, in the UK, I can do whatever the hell I like as long as I don't interfere with other people. And if I dislike my government, I can do my part in voting them out. I've already done so in the past, and will no doubt do so again in the future.
    Really? Can restaurants in UK sell dog meat, cat meat, turtle meat, and other exotic animal meats? I don't think so. In China, as long as you don't touch the sensitive issues, everything will be fined. The government of China will probably leave you alone even if you consume endanger species.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimeron View Post
    Eh, difference is that PRC is about 60 times bigger than ROC. Likewise, Singapore is just as successful if not more so than Taiwan. Should China follow Singapore model exactly as well?

    Can democracy work in China, probably, once majority of Chinese are educated middle class. But at end of the day, current system, as imperfect as it is, seems to work okay for now. The risk is to end up like India (or worse like Russia in the 90s when it basically imploded), which is world's largest democracy, and given its economy, development, size, and history makes much better comparison to China than Taiwan.
    What works well in Singapore and Taiwan doesn't mean it will work for China. China is such as huge country with huge diverse population so democracy would be a disaster. If China becomes a democracy, places like Inner Mongolia and Tibet will try to become independent.

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    Senior Member Dirt's Avatar
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    The Communist Party members and their sympathizers used to say, "Democracy does not suit the Chinese people and our culture."

    The Republic of China, now having had their 5th election, proves that to be false.

    The Communist Party members and their sympathizers will next say, "Democracy will not work in such a large and hugely populated country like China."

    The Republic of India, having had many, many elections now and a population close to the PRC's along with a great diversity, proves that to be false.

    What's the next tired, old excuse?

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    Dirt, is India a better country than China? Are people from India better off than people from China? Is India wealthier than China? Is life better in India than China? By the way, I am neither a communist party member nor their sympathizer, but democracy doesn't work in country like China. For the Chinese who want a democracy, then they should move to a democratic country. China wasn't, isn't and will never be a democracy, at least not in the near future.

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    Senior Member Dirt's Avatar
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    The only reason China can never be a Democracy is because the Communist Party wants to retain power.

    I'm curious, what is it about the size of China that will prevent it from becoming a Democracy? You bring up Singapore. Talking about size, Singapore is very small, which makes it much easier to police in an authoritarian way than China. It is in fact China's size and population that makes it difficult to maintain a police state, which is why China's internal security budget is bigger than it's national defense budget. China could very well bankrupt itself trying to maintain its police state.

    Plus, Singapore has a very strict adherence to the rule of law, it is constantly in the top 3 nations with the lowest corruption, which also contributes to its stability. With so little corruption, what do the people have to complain about? Not true with China. So, in a way, I actually agree with you, absent of Democracy, China needs to have a far greater adherence to the rule of law and rid itself of corruption. But that's not going to happen anytime soon because the citizens of China have no way of keeping their rulers accountable to them.

    What is it about the size of China that makes it unsuitable to Democracy, again?

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    Dirt, you didn't answer my questions from the above:
    is India a better country than China? Are people from India better off than people from China? Is India wealthier than China? Is life better in India than China?
    Sure, the CCP wants to retain power, who doesn't, but would China become a better place by becoming a democracy? China is indeed wise for not to become a democracy. If it does, places like Tibet, XinJiang, Inner Mongolia, ect.. would demand independence. USSR is a good example.

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    [QUOTE=Dirt;1024899]The only reason China can never be a Democracy is because the Communist Party wants to retain power.
    [quote]

    Every party want to retain or gain power. And never say never, the communist party today is not the same communist party 40 years ago, likewise, the CCP 40 years from now will definitely not be the same ones today. There are 80 million registered CCP members, from every class, so expect differing opinions and shifts in focus.

    I'm curious, what is it about the size of China that will prevent it from becoming a Democracy? You bring up Singapore. Talking about size, Singapore is very small, which makes it much easier to police in an authoritarian way than China. It is in fact China's size and population that makes it difficult to maintain a police state, which is why China's internal security budget is bigger than it's national defense budget. China could very well bankrupt itself trying to maintain its police state.
    Size is not the only issue, education level, communication, and GDP/capital. I didn't say what worked for Singapore will work for China. It was brought up as a example to demonstrate that one cannot compare Taiwan (and Singapore as well) to China due to the vast difference in terms of size, education, GDP/capital.


    Plus, Singapore has a very strict adherence to the rule of law, it is constantly in the top 3 nations with the lowest corruption, which also contributes to its stability. With so little corruption, what do the people have to complain about? Not true with China. So, in a way, I actually agree with you, absent of Democracy, China needs to have a far greater adherence to the rule of law and rid itself of corruption. But that's not going to happen anytime soon because the citizens of China have no way of keeping their rulers accountable to them.

    What is it about the size of China that makes it unsuitable to Democracy, again?
    Democracy is not guarantee rule of law either. Again, India, which has WORSE corruption record than China.

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    Before China is truly ready for democracy, its culture must somehow learn to choose to reject over three-thousand years of institutional reinforcement that authoritarianism is necessary and justified. This is not an idea that the Communists introduced to China (they're just the latest in a long line of rulers who've exploited the idea): Confucianism...Legalism...ideas that ruled China's political thinking long before Communism was even a gleam in Karl Marx's eye...are built upon principles that justify authoritarianism. To expect a culture that has been dominated by these principles for three millennia to willingly and suddenly give it all up isn't realistic.

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    Senior Member Dirt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trien Chieu View Post
    Dirt, you didn't answer my questions from the above:
    Sure, the CCP wants to retain power, who doesn't, but would China become a better place by becoming a democracy? China is indeed wise for not to become a democracy. If it does, places like Tibet, XinJiang, Inner Mongolia, ect.. would demand independence. USSR is a good example.
    I'm not answering because you're changing the subject. I am talking about Democracy right now. If you want to discuss Capitalism, we can certainly make a separate thread and discuss the PRC's state capitalism versus the USA's free market (and I do say that with some irony) capitalism.

    [QUOTE=Dimeron;1024912][QUOTE=Dirt;1024899]The only reason China can never be a Democracy is because the Communist Party wants to retain power.

    Every party want to retain or gain power. And never say never, the communist party today is not the same communist party 40 years ago, likewise, the CCP 40 years from now will definitely not be the same ones today. There are 80 million registered CCP members, from every class, so expect differing opinions and shifts in focus.

    Size is not the only issue, education level, communication, and GDP/capital. I didn't say what worked for Singapore will work for China. It was brought up as a example to demonstrate that one cannot compare Taiwan (and Singapore as well) to China due to the vast difference in terms of size, education, GDP/capital.
    Democracy is not guarantee rule of law either. Again, India, which has WORSE corruption record than China.
    You're right, the Communist Party of today isn't the same CPC of 40 years ago, today, the CPC is run and ruled by the sons and daughters of the ones who ruled it 40 years ago. Everybody wants to retain power; itís the ones that donít have to that commit the greatest crimes.

    I've heard people say there are no special interests in China like the chaotic and greedy special interests than runs the US government. To them I say: there are 80 million special interests in China and they all hold Communist Party membership cards.

    I agree with your education, GDP stuff. To a degree.

    You misread my rule of law message. I said that ABSENT of Democracy, there needs to be greater rule of law. We are agreeing that it can be separate things.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    Before China is truly ready for democracy, its culture must somehow learn to choose to reject over three-thousand years of institutional reinforcement that authoritarianism is necessary and justified. This is not an idea that the Communists introduced to China (they're just the latest in a long line of rulers who've exploited the idea): Confucianism...Legalism...ideas that ruled China's political thinking long before Communism was even a gleam in Karl Marx's eye...are built upon principles that justify authoritarianism. To expect a culture that has been dominated by these principles for three millennia to willingly and suddenly give it all up isn't realistic.
    One thing that always struck me is how different Hong Kongers and people from Taiwan are. We have the same culture, we have the same history. However, inspite of colonial rule, Hong Kongers adhere to some Chinese traditions more ardently than the people from Taiwan and the people from Taiwan adhere to some Chinese traditions more ardently than the people from Hong Kong. I feel at times that there are more differences between Hong Kongers and the people of Taiwan than a Los Angeleno and a New Yorker. And yet, Taiwan has embraced Democracy whole-heartedly in less than 20 years. Hong Kong hasnít given up its fight for Democracy and will be able to elect its Chief Executive in 2017 and their own legislature in 2020. 2 very different Chinese culture; both who have embraced the idea (if not in practice just yet) of Democracy. If they can, so can the Mainland.

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirt View Post


    One thing that always struck me is how different Hong Kongers and people from Taiwan are. We have the same culture, we have the same history. However, inspite of colonial rule, Hong Kongers adhere to some Chinese traditions more ardently than the people from Taiwan
    Not "in spite" of colonial rule, but ironically *because* of it. Say what you will about Western imperialism, but a century of British rule is *precisely* what enabled several generations of Hong Kong citizens to be equipped for democratic society. They were born into and raised/educated in one. Several generations of Hong Kong citizens were taught Western/British social values and concepts of social justice and democracy, reinforced by open exposure to media and ideas around the world.

    The people in the mainland, by and large, have none of this, especially in the rural areas of the Chinese heartland far removed from the cosmopolitan coastal cities. There is no Western/British infrastructure to introduce these ideas to them. Even if you were to put this infrastructure into place *today* (which is pure fantasy), you'd have to wait for several generations for the "old guard" to die off and the new breed to take root. Even under the best conditions (which the reality of China is far, far removed from), generations would need to pass before all the right elements would be in place for a democratic society.

    For democracy to work in China, a revolution that goes *far* beyond government and politics would be required. Sun Yat-Sen succeeded in overthrowing the imperial system of government, but he didn't succeed in overthrowing the authoritarian habits of Chinese society. Those habits just got co-opted by new masters.

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    Ken,
    Social justice only came to Hong Kong after the creation of the ICAC; Hong Kongers weren't taught British values from what I can tell. Hong Kong had fewer democratic rights under British rule than it does now. And they'll have more in 2017 because they want it, they've fought for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirt View Post
    Ken,
    Social justice only came to Hong Kong after the creation of the ICAC; Hong Kongers weren't taught British values from what I can tell.
    ...and the forces the led to the creation of the ICAC during the 1970s did not appear overnight. The ICAC was created by men educated at British-established schools in Hong Kong (or perhaps Western universities far removed from Hong Kong) during the decades between the 1930s (or earlier) and the 1960s. Without the education that these people gained outside of the Chinese system, the impetus to create the ICAC would not have existed. You see the creation of the ICAC one February day in 1974, but what you overlook are the *decades* of education and cultural reconditioning that made it conceivable and viable.

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    I heard somewhere that even if it sold a ridiculous amount of copies they still only just break even with what they spent in production.

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    Ancient China is no where as authoritarian as a lot of plp believes.
    Tang, Song and Ming has the most advance, open gov system in the world at their time.
    People talked freely about political issues during Song and Ming.
    Authoritarianism was the strongest in China during Qin and Han, but it weakens slowly throughout the ages.
    If it wasn't for Mongolian and Manchurian rule, mainland China would be very democratic.
    Please note that Japanese culture takes much from Han and Tang Dynasty China while Korean culture takes even more from Song and Ming China. And see how well they have accepted democracy, while still staying through to traditional values.
    East Asia values are not authoritarian.
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