Do you think China really CAN become a democracy EVER? - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#14526636
CentristVoice wrote:What are some cultural, historical, social, etc. reasons to base your answers? Personally, I think China is unlikely to become a democracy due to the political environment (the censorship, mixed economy, etc.)


No, not at all, ever, because democracy never works, wouldn't in China, doesn't anywhere at all.

Okay, here are a few particulars, with no humor or wisarcreness intended;

Cultural-Democracy doesn't work anywhere, and the Chinese are old and strong enough a civilization to know better.

Historical-the closest to Democracy ever attempted, was one of the worst periods of Chinese, nay, human history; the Sun Yat-Sen/Chiang Kai-Shek times

Social-Chinese are too family and collective extended family oriented to go for the individualist concept of Democracy.
#14526640
Well democracy is quite the loaded word. There has to be some mechanism by which all levels of society have an effective means of political participation, so that they are genuinely invested in, and responsible for, outcomes. There is no structure which is immune from corruption. Workers soviets, which had so much promise at the beginning of the Soviet Union, were supposed to embody the sovereign will of the people - once that sovereignty was subverted effective communication with workers became impossible. Representative democracy in the West likewise only nominally represents the will of the electors. The true power relations remain hidden, meaning there is no accountability in the system. Eventually you have a stultified and unresponsive (i.e., dead) polity. China is attempting to negotiate another path. Their record is mixed, as you would expect.

I don't have the answer here. I don't even know if there is an answer. My view is that a good society meets the basic needs of its citizens, and allows them a basic degree of autonomy, while not being subject to either wild swings of instability or dead unresponsiveness. Time will tell, in the case of China.
#14526653
CentristVoice wrote:What are some cultural, historical, social, etc. reasons to base your answers? Personally, I think China is unlikely to become a democracy due to the political environment (the censorship, mixed economy, etc.)

I think that's exactly the problem in the West. Exactly what use is democracy in the West when political pluralism isn't tolerated and our would be political masters demand allegiance to absurdity and weirdness?

quetzalcoatl wrote:There has to be some mechanism by which all levels of society have an effective means of political participation, so that they are genuinely invested in, and responsible for, outcomes.

The problem is that people used to agree on material improvements as the common abstraction that served as a sort of social glue, and that is no longer the case. Rightists might be more traditional in the materialist sense, whereas leftists are more into physical hedononism in terms of sex and drugs, but rejecting other aspects of materialism such as industrialism (global warming, economic growth), science (GMOs, vaccines, weird food restrictions) as well as traditional biological roles. So the glue is gone in my opinion. I see us ultimately imploding like the Soviet Union did.

quetzlcoatl wrote:Representative democracy in the West likewise only nominally represents the will of the electors. The true power relations remain hidden, meaning there is no accountability in the system.

I think hidden might be too strong a term. Take the US Civil War for example. The Lincoln Memorial says,
IN THIS TEMPLE
AS IN THE HEARTS OF THE PEOPLE
FOR WHOM HE SAVED THE UNION
THE MEMORY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN
IS ENSHRINED FOREVER.


That's all very touching, and there is a lot of solemnity about it. Yet, what really happened? A war between industrialism and agrarianism, and industrialism won. Taken as a whole, Lincoln also could be said to have committed genocide against the Sioux. We often hear Critical Theory inspired blame-America-firstisms like, "the United States abrogated treaties with the Indians," but they never point out who actually did it, because it doesn't fit their Whiggish narrative of history. Lincoln freed the slaves, genocided the Sioux, and made the world safe for railroad interests. In that respect, he was no different than British rail interests that built the second British Empire on steam engine technology. People consented, because it brought material improvements to their lives. The British Empire collapsed in part because it tried to export its culture too. Except for material improvements of technology and the comparative advantages of trade, imperial subjects didn't have enough in common to keep the empire together.

As the US pushes hard left ideas like "gay marriage," "gender reassignment," and all other host of weirdness, it's not surprising that it gets rejected both within the United States and without.

China, on the other hand, didn't need to adopt democracy to gain the material advantages of capitalism. So I don't see that democracy is an obvious answer there either. After material needs are satisfied, what else do you need? Love, peer approval? It depends and I think may differ from person to person. America's left and Western Europe's is pushing secular hedonism, but it has no traction elsewhere. I don't think China will adopt that as they are much more conservative a society socially.
#14526870
blackjack21 wrote: Yet, what really happened? A war between industrialism and agrarianism, and industrialism won.


This is indeed one factor. The problem is that the right chooses, to further its own agenda, to believe that opposition to slavery was not also a major factor in the Civil War. This does not mean that the North wasn't racist, or that they did not commit genocide against Indians. It's just means that a substantial portion of the population regarded slavery as a repugnant institution, and were willing to take up arms against it.
#14526910
Why would the Chinese want to introduce democracy? There is nothing in Chinese culture to move the country in that direction.

Confucian ethics is hierarchical and requires a strict adherence to the different social relations: father/son, ruler/subject, husband/wife. Man's destiny in life is to fulfill his role in society. To that mindset, the ideals of the French revolution of equality and freedom are incomprehensible. What does equality mean if we each have a different role in society? What does freedom mean if we have to fulfill our role in society?

There was a time when China was humiliated by the West and Chinese intellectuals aspired to copy the West in every respect. These times have definitely passed. With a sixfold increase in GDP in the last 20 year, hundreds of millions of Chinese have acquired a degree of prosperity never known before. Why should they want to compromise that unprecedented success by unpredictable political experiments? Last year, 100 millions of Chinese tourist visited foreign tourists destination. That is a staggering number, unthinkable even 10 years ago.

How would China have been able to control a population explosion without the one-child policy in a democratic society? Unthinkable! Would China have been able to hold the country together without the dictatorship? Highly unlikely!

And what about corruption? Doesn't it impoverish a country? It does have that effect in numerous third world countries like the Philippines. Yet, paradoxically, not in China. In China cronyism between state officials and private entrepreneurs has led to the creation of huge industrial conglomerates that are about to conquer the global markets. China's industrial success is unthinkable without these conglomerates. And what does it matter if the Princelings amass a fortune as long as the money is plowed back into the economy? And if some party officials get too shameless in enriching themselves, the rulers have no qualms about chopping off a few heads.

The question is not whether China will become democratic. The question is which way the rest of the non-Western world will go. To many people in the emerging or developing countries China may be a more attractive model to follow than Western-style democracy. China's dominant position in trade will provide a strong incentive to become part of an economic zone controlled by China.

An economically dominant China may even lead to greater limitations on democracy in the West.
#14530018
Actually, I have opened a thread before regarding Chinese democracy:
viewtopic.php?f=114&t=159049
which expectedly attracted some interesting discussions and expected attacks / dismissal.

The fundamentals of my thought hasn't changed. In a nutshell: Democracy is politically correct, easy to understand but in fact deeply flawed - so flawed that it is inefficient at best and disasterous at worst, in the hands of milicious parties. The Chinese government, at its current state is largely successful because we have good governance up top who responds efficiently towards a multitulde of pressing social and political challenges. But what if they stop being good?

So the question of democracy remains - how do we prevent power from being too concentrated in a few corrupted hands? How do you ensure participation of society from top to bottom? I have been comtemplating about this problem for a long time, and this is my current position:

1. Real power cannot be contained by democratic institutions however well designed they are. In fact, I believe it cannot be contained by any political system at all, only somewhat restricted. The only way to challenge real power is through blood and sacrifice, and it has remained true for thousands of years and has not changed because of the ballot box. People are trying to get a "discount" on human costs but I don't think it is ever possible. No matter what system you may design, power will find its way - not to mention that most of the times these systems are designed by the very people it is supposed to restrict. However, we must not oppose power for power's sake. They will exist, and the best we can do is to try and divert it towards the benefit of all as much as possible through political struggle.

2. "The people's collective will" - if it even exists, is not a compass of political truth at all - it's something in between - something that must not be completely ignored nor followed blindly. Let's face it - people are flawed - they are selfish, uninformed, irrational and sometimes stupid. They form opinions based on information they are fed, based on an assumption that a "free media" will provide unbiased and true information - but such thing never exists. Feed the right information, provide the right combination of words, print enough papers behind it, then any public opinion can be manufactured. This can and is being manipulated to the max by our everyday media.

The only way to counter that is an effective and efficient "people's participation" driven by a politically consious, informed and active population that who actually seeks and verifify information independently, seek opportunities to act on their politics, insteading of waiting for politics to go to them. Such requirement is way too high for most people who has their hands full with daily life, but is required nontheless. Again, this cannot be achieved through the current populist democracy farce. Perhaps the fact that CCP has a membership of 80 Million is an attempt to answer that? To create a elite "politically concious class" from the masses, that has no reason to actively oppose each other?
#14530138
Can China become a democracy ever? Can China become a superpower ever? Can (the whole of) China become a first world country ever?

Yes, China can become anything ever, it's up to the Chinese only. I'm sure many people couldn't have believed some decades ago that China would ever become what she is today.
#14530169
benpenguin wrote:Democracy is politically correct, easy to understand but in fact deeply flawed - so flawed that it is inefficient at best and disasterous at worst, in the hands of milicious parties.

Your argument only holds if we assume that the Chinese are more "milicious" than Westerners who enjoy democratic rights. I guess that if you, as a Chinese, hold this view, there must be some merit to that theory since you are better qualified than most of us to know the maliciousness of your own people.

The Chinese government, at its current state is largely successful because we have good governance ...

I don't know if you are involuntarily comical or if this is Chinese humor. At any rate it had me rolling on the floor.

The Chinese government is among the most corrupt on this planet. The economic success of today's China is entirely due to the industriousness of the Chinese people.

2. "The people's collective will" - if it even exists, is not a compass of political truth at all - it's something in between - something that must not be completely ignored nor followed blindly.

The history of design demonstrates that the best design will come about as the result of the competition between different designs. Whenever, a single design is chosen by eliminating all other designs, this design will invariably fail. The same happens with a functioning democracy, it doesn't matter what the technocrats tell us is the best choice, their choice will be wrong because, as the Tao teaches us, the truth that is declared is already no longer the truth; in the end, it is only by the process of competing ideas of multi-party democracy that the real truth and the best choice can emerge. This is an ongoing and dynamic process.

Perhaps the fact that CCP has a membership of 80 Million is an attempt to answer that? To create a elite "politically concious class" from the masses, that has no reason to actively oppose each other?

It doesn't matter whether the CCP has 8, 80 or 800 million members, the power will always be held by a small elite that emerges from the power struggle of political factions in backroom deals, and the only good that is derived by this process are the billions comrade Li can accumulate in his Swiss bank accounts.

Try again Ben, your arguments are woefully deficient.
#14530355
Atlantis wrote:Your argument only holds if we assume that the Chinese are more "milicious" than Westerners who enjoy democratic rights. I guess that if you, as a Chinese, hold this view, there must be some merit to that theory since you are better qualified than most of us to know the maliciousness of your own people.

I am saying that democratic institutions can easily be used to nefarious ends by outside parties. Sorry, I guess I should have written in greater depth but I have already repeated myself many times in that other thread and was a little tired yesterday to repost everything here. Quoting myself from that post:
To illustrate: If you allow free elections, your opponents gets bankrolled by outside forces. If you open up free media, you get your own public opinion assaulted by globalist media that can easily outwit, outspend and drown your own. You allow NGOs, they will fund every single opposition in your country. You follow patent protections, it will take 100 years or more to even remotely catch up with their tech level, and before that can happen your economies will already be dominated by foreign companies.

I am pretty sure all these points can be open to attack but I simply don't have the energy to have all the counter arguments ready nor do you have the energy to read it all So fire away!

I don't know if you are involuntarily comical or if this is Chinese humor. At any rate it had me rolling on the floor.
The Chinese government is among the most corrupt on this planet. The economic success of today's China is entirely due to the industriousness of the Chinese people.

You really believe it don't you? China is successful completely independent of its government's effort?
Well. Let me give you my perspective. I am born and raised in Hong Kong for two decades and lived in Australia for another six years. So first of all I am no stranger to China bashing and the Western POV. I have only lived in China proper for 3 years and what I see here is excellent governance - high sensitivity to social problems, quick, organized and efficient response, good strategic understanding to economic and political grand game with a coherent and sensible blueprint to the future, in a massive and very complex society. They are a very efficient bunch or they wouldn't have surivived this long. I would even go further to say Chinese government is much more efficient than the Aussie and Hong Kong one.
It wouldn't take me very long to start pointing out problems within the communist party like corruption, paranoia, grumpiness and inflexibility in some areas, so on and so forth. But ultimately the CCP sort of won the alligence of the people, because despite all their flaws they actually did well for China - not because of some washed up and badly written propaganda (They really, really suck at those).
Since you didn't say in your profile, I'll assume you are a Westerner. It will probably take some huge mental gymnastic for you to even remotely accept what I say because you are told how evil and corrupt CCP is your whole life like I was. But try to imagine how little sense that make - cartoon villain dictators actually succeeded in bringing a war torn shithole with an uneducated pesantry population, into world power status within a few decades, because anyone could have done it?
I do recall people predicting that China will collapse for like 30 straight years because we have no democracy and human rights. Then, the opposite just happened, and they go for other excuses like China is easy to develop, I could have done it. No, it's certainly not that easy.

The history of design demonstrates that the best design will come about as the result of the competition between different designs. Whenever, a single design is chosen by eliminating all other designs, this design will invariably fail. The same happens with a functioning democracy, it doesn't matter what the technocrats tell us is the best choice, their choice will be wrong because, as the Tao teaches us, the truth that is declared is already no longer the truth; in the end, it is only by the process of competing ideas of multi-party democracy that the real truth and the best choice can emerge. This is an ongoing and dynamic process.

Actually we collide a little here. You call it a "functioning democracy", while I am saying that only a citizenry's political quality and consiousness is required, not necessiarily from a perfectly drafted democratic institution. I am saying that even dictators cannot really dictate all if he is handling a well consious citizenry. At the moment China is slowly moving on that direction.
And I believe that attributing all the flaws of democracy to it not being "functional or real", is "no true scotsman" logic bordering religious belief.

It doesn't matter whether the CCP has 8, 80 or 800 million members, the power will always be held by a small elite that emerges from the power struggle of political factions in backroom deals, and the only good that is derived by this process are the billions comrade Li can accumulate in his Swiss bank accounts.

I am actually open to critizism for this one, because I too haven't yet seen that CCP's member count has any observable effect on their decision making. However, turns out that CCP is quite responsive to societal problems despite displaying no democratic institution besides within party, and that is something to think about.
As for the power struggle / backroom deal scenarios, they happen pretty much everywhere in every country and China is not significantly worse than most developing countries, democratic or not. Not to mention in US they just legalize it and call it lobbying.
You might have noticed, China is fighting very hard against corruption recently, although the sincerity and effect is yet to be seen. I know you would dismiss it as "power struggle" which is not entirely untrue, but we did notice a huge effect here which I won't expand on for now.

Try again Ben, your arguments are woefully deficient.

Still learning to debate on Pofo. I'd elaborate much more on my positions but they usually get lazy dismissals by people who clearly go tl;dr. English isn't my first language afterall and I find it difficult to debate like a boss a la Rei or FRS.
#14530557
Ben, if you had read my previous posts, you would have noticed that in my reply to you I partly contradicted what I have said previously. This is not just because I want to contradict you but also because I don’t believe there ever is a simple truth. Reality is far more complex and constantly changing so that what appears to be a contradiction might in fact be the closest approximation of the truth.

What I said previously is that, with a democratic regime, China probably would not have had the economic success it actually did. The country would probably have been torn apart by opposing special interest groups.

I have also explained that drastic measures like the one-child policy to control population growth would not have been possible under a democracy.

I moreover showed how corruption in a Confucian style society like China primarily takes on the form of cronyism between state officials and private entrepreneurs which has led to the emergence of huge technology conglomerates that conquer global markets and thereby enrich China. And even if a few officials get filthily rich, it doesn’t matter as long as most of the money is plowed back into the economy. Thus while the Philippines is impoverished by corruption, it can actually have a beneficial effect in China.

So, I basically agree with you, except that there is a difference of interpretation:

I don’t believe that Chinese administration is as efficient as you think. The basis of the country’s prosperity is quite clearly the natural industriousness of its people. As long as the will of the people to enrich themselves is not suppressed, as under Mao, it will always surface no matter what the government does. Thus, the merit of the government is that its governance does not prevent the people from enriching themselves.

Likewise with corruption, I don’t believe there is any desire to root out corruption. Campaigns against corruption are often politically motivated. If the policy of a political faction in the CCP deviates from what the leadership wants, then they dig up the dirt on the faction leaders. And since nobody is completely free of corruption, they’ll always find something.

In the absence of an open democratic society and a free press, social problems are typically covered up until things get so bad that cover up becomes impossible. For example, SARS would not have become a problem if Chinese authorities hadn’t covered it up for months.

Your list of democratic privileges (including patents) which China, according to you, cannot afford is actually quite funny. Firstly, because patents have nothing to do with democracy, secondly, because China is eager to enforce patent law because it is actually becoming an intellectual property superpower with more patents than any other country. That an emerging economy starts developing by copying advanced nations is normal. In the 19th century, the Germans copied British technology. Thus, accusations against Japan and China of being “copy-cat” are really just stupid. You shouldn’t pay any attention. At this stage, China has already reached a level at which it is about to overtake the West in some high-tech areas, for example in new materials like Graphene, etc. And it is in China’s interest to enforce patent law.

Regarding democratic decision making versus central decision making, I stick to what I said: even though on the surface central decision making seems more efficient, in the long run, the messy process of democratic decision making achieves superior results. For example, environmental awareness in Germany already grew 30 or 40 years ago. The result was that democratic pressure enforced advanced environmental standards, which industry said would damage the economy because industry would simply move abroad. It didn’t happen that way. Instead, the country developed advanced green technology to become a pioneer in this field with many highly paid jobs. Thus, democratic decision making achieved better results than would have been achieved by decision making based on expert advice from industry and economists.
#14530597
Atlantis wrote:What I said previously is that, with a democratic regime...

Yep, exactly my position.

I don’t believe that Chinese administration is as efficient as you think. The basis of the country’s prosperity is quite clearly the natural industriousness of its people. As long as the will of the people to enrich themselves is not suppressed, as under Mao, it will always surface no matter what the government does. Thus, the merit of the government is that its governance does not prevent the people from enriching themselves.

Yes and no. Many trends that happened recently has been inititated and encouraged by the government traced back to the last 2 administrations, but only came to blossom recently. For example, they are encoraging inventment in higher education, research, encouraging innovation, building up special "tech zones" etc for the last decade, driven by government projects such as space exploration and HSR, in preparation of rising labour costs and the withering of low end manufacturing; diplomatically they built alliances in preparation of greater Asian integration alongside with said HSR, which was also built to ease the tension between discrepancies between city cluster vs rural development... just a few examples among the vast number of contributions made by the government. These achievements wouldn't have been possible without the industriousness of Chinese people, but it definitely didn't "just happened" naturally.

In fact, the more reading I did the more I understand that each generation of Chinese leadership played a very different, but significant roles in the development of China. Despite all the flaws, I have lots of respect with their contributions.

The western media tend to focus on bad things or non-issues in China, but chose to completely ignore the actual strategies and visions for the future (No matter good or bad) of the Chinese government itself. That in fact is doing themselves a huge disservice when China surprise the world in more and more things, and the West need to keep making up excuses of why it happened and how it wouldn't work, and then go back to more China bashing instead of actually responding to competition or catching on opportunities.

Likewise with corruption, I don’t believe there is any desire to root out corruption. Campaigns against corruption are often politically motivated. If the policy of a political faction in the CCP deviates from what the leadership wants, then they dig up the dirt on the faction leaders. And since nobody is completely free of corruption, they’ll always find something.

Usually when the government cracks down on corruption, there's an internet joke that goes like this: "The government is seriously cracking down on corruption recently...Oh, so they were just dicking around the last few times?" Except that this time, people are much, much less sceptical to the government's sincerity, because of a lot of noticable things:
1. Nightclubs, Karokes, expansive restaurants are losing lots and lots of business. Alcohol, tobacco and luxury good sales are down. Application to government jobs are halfed.
2. Top officials are being taken down (We are talking minister level), not just scapegoats. Tons of regional officials and smaller guys as well. The prosecution extends to the entire corruption circles including banksters and coal barons and there is still no sign that the effort is going to stop (Rumor has it another big guy is going down this year). This has never happened before in such a scale.
3. The media is reporting corrution cases alongside social networks, which many of them gets acted upon.
4. They are tracing corrupt officials overseas as well, arranging extradiction back to China. The government no longer accept any more officials who has any family members and personal fortunes outside china, as an enforced law. They are pushing for another law that requires all party officials to disclose their own personal fortunes to the public as a price to gain public office - which is meeting a lot of expected resistance.
5. The media are actually saying that they are facing a difficult fight, describe how serious and widespread the corruption is, and that how there has been lots of pushbacks...before they just say they have punished how many officials and then claim victory.

There is always the objective of taking out rivals which I am certainly aware - many of the top officials taken out is of the crown prince clique and shanghai clique (Which is more of an "old boys club"), and it actually isn't a bad thing. Those guys had been holding wayyy too much power and is threatening reforms in many areas. They need to go. Political correctness aside, why not two birds in one stone? The old "greed is good" economic development phase is over. China is developed and it's now time to rein things in. The leadership knows it, and this is certainly an excellent time to do it.

In the absence of an open democratic society and a free press, social problems are typically covered up until things get so bad that cover up becomes impossible. For example, SARS would not have become a problem if Chinese authorities hadn’t covered it up for months.

Sadly, yes. But I think this has changed gradually, because the government is more confident with their own ability to handle crisis - there is always a learning curve I guess.

Patents have nothing to do with democracy...

Actually, I was quoting myself from another thread and that was in response to something else...anyway, you speak my mind here.

Regarding democratic decision making versus central decision making

Actually regarding your environmental protection example, China is also putting in lots of effort now to combat pollution due to societal pressure. I think the reason that it got much worse than Germany before it got looked at is because of the lack of education and short-sightedness with the entire Chinese peoples, not just the government. I would argue it wouldn't be any better with democracy.
In fact, the "Chinese model" had been about trying to achieve the desired effect of a democracy without actually having a democratic institution with all its flaws. Afterall, remember that "voting" and "democracy" is a vehicle to reach a set of political goals, but it must not be confused with the end goal itself.

expert advice from industry and economists

That's exactly what the Chinese government is doing. Industry experts are very highly regarded in China and is fundamental in their decision making processes - in fact, many of our top officials have a very strong technical background. For example, Hu Jintao held a masters degree in engineering from Qinghua University. Discussions by academics and with open society is also very much encouraged...On a side note, I just realized that's why they suck so bad at propaganda. They are engineers, not marketing people.

What you suggested here in fact contradicts democracy. In an actual democracy, the commoner's views must also be respected equally even in areas that they have entirely no expertise of, and it creates scenarios where politicans with charisma instead of know-how is elected. In China, politicians are elected only among elites (With all the flaws of elite rule, of cause) so politicians will be likely to really know what they are really supposed to do (including things like cronyism) - because the elite circles know each other much better than the general populace.

There is no limit to freedom of speech in this regard at all - the restiction and censorship is mostly on incitement and indecency. So long as you are not calling for a revolt, challenging government authority, or showing tits, you are very much encouraged to give your view.

Chinese government has many characteristics of a technocracy. And as with Asian societies, intellectuals and academics are highly regarded, but much less the general populace.
#14530634
Democracy is not a universal principle and not all societies function best with a democratic system. Sometimes authoritarianism is more suitable depending on the different context and conditions. In many cases democracy can actually cause more hardship than a benevolent authoritarian leadership. Democracy can mean freedom for Americans and British people but it can also mean complete anarchy for non-Western peoples. When a society is ready for democracy it will develop it naturally. The West should not mistakenly believe that it needs to export or promote democracy abroad.

My objection to the Chinese leadership is not that they are not democratic but that they hinder the spread of Christianity among the Chinese people.
#14530645
benpenguin wrote:Why? Whats wrong with that?


Because people should have the right to choose their religion, even if political freedom is restricted. If Chinese want to become Christians they should be allowed to do so. The growth of Christianity would not entail mass immigration of Europeans to China but would rather only happen if the Chinese people chose it themselves. Therefore it would not be coercive or theaten the peoples of China on an ethnocultural basis.

It is possible to be Christian and also be a Chinese patriot. Remember Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai Shek were both Christians.
#14530713
benpenguin wrote:1. Real power cannot be contained by democratic institutions however well designed they are. In fact, I believe it cannot be contained by any political system at all, only somewhat restricted. The only way to challenge real power is through blood and sacrifice, and it has remained true for thousands of years and has not changed because of the ballot box. People are trying to get a "discount" on human costs but I don't think it is ever possible. No matter what system you may design, power will find its way - not to mention that most of the times these systems are designed by the very people it is supposed to restrict. However, we must not oppose power for power's sake. They will exist, and the best we can do is to try and divert it towards the benefit of all as much as possible through political struggle.

2. "The people's collective will" - if it even exists, is not a compass of political truth at all - it's something in between - something that must not be completely ignored nor followed blindly. Let's face it - people are flawed - they are selfish, uninformed, irrational and sometimes stupid. They form opinions based on information they are fed, based on an assumption that a "free media" will provide unbiased and true information - but such thing never exists. Feed the right information, provide the right combination of words, print enough papers behind it, then any public opinion can be manufactured. This can and is being manipulated to the max by our everyday media.

The only way to counter that is an effective and efficient "people's participation" driven by a politically consious, informed and active population that who actually seeks and verifify information independently, seek opportunities to act on their politics, insteading of waiting for politics to go to them. Such requirement is way too high for most people who has their hands full with daily life, but is required nontheless. Again, this cannot be achieved through the current populist democracy farce. Perhaps the fact that CCP has a membership of 80 Million is an attempt to answer that? To create a elite "politically concious class" from the masses, that has no reason to actively oppose each other?


Ben, this is obscenely interesting to hear from a Chinese perspective and it's underscored by the fact that I find myself in a good 90%+ agreement with the principles and priorities for sound governance you've touched upon here. It leaves me with some hope in the Chinese system, the internal mechanisms of which are rather opaque (no doubt for its own interest in self-preservation) and to poach a Churchillian quote directed toward the Russians, is quite the riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. It isn't socialist or at least, certainly not so in the orthodox Marxian or Maoist sense of the term, and it isn't liberal-plutocratic. You can use the term nationalist, authoritarian, state-capitalist, and a slew of others, but inside these broad descriptors there lies a great deal of wiggle room for how exactly those visions are interpreted to meet the challenges of daily life and in all likelihood are the "big tent" veneer for competing interests who want to take this, the most populated country among the world's nations, in different and even contradictory directions. Unless it's a case of "the emperor has no clothes" and there are no strong foundations for the PRC state behind the CCP curtain, but I would have a terribly difficult time believing this is the case given the inherent richness, wisdom accrued through age, and the primacy placed on long-term planning within Chinese civilization.

I would be enthralled to hear you expound upon these ideas further with the insider perspective.

I also see little possibility in the Chinese state adopting liberal democracy or even another alternate state doing so in the case in which the current one falls or gives way (unless a U.S./Western-sponsored coup takes off which is probably a very remote possibility given the ruthless efficiency of Chinese domestic intelligence and security services, and even if it did in a country so large and important, it would spiral into insurgency and civil war and never be a clean affair) and this is because that system of governance is the American signature and to rise as a great independent power, even superpower, China will inherently have to do so (and increasingly more over time) in contradiction to rather than congruence with it. China's long-term viability as a world power will come from the uniqueness and ingenuity of its own system and initially from the soft power to provide an alternative for lower tier states for economic cooperation which will allow them the freedom to opt-out of the toxic and often ruinous domestic political commitments which come with the package of U.S. tied aid (we already see this playing out in, for example, Africa). In this respect it shares similarities with Russia and even a liberal-evangelist U.S. in its own hemisphere had to initially rely upon soft power while it was still a rising empire of minor strength.

Democracy is an at once manipulative and wholly useless term because it appeals to some shared basic human desires while meaning all things to all people, which is why it really means nothing and probably why it has lingered so long in our collective political discourse. Democracy can mean anarchism, a mechanism for a stultified and marginal almost parody of representation under any system (liberalism/liberal democracy/Soviet democracy, even fascist states like Imperial Japan which organized elections between competing factions, and the privileged status of a negligible amount of electors as in the case of the Vatican theocracy with its college of cardinals, a caliphate, or many monarchist and aristocratic entities throughout history), or, as you touched upon above and the only degree to which it holds any validity to me, as the embodiment of the collective will and interest as interpreted by those with the enlightened ability to do so. Hitler famously said "We, as an authoritarian state, differ from the democracies in that we actually have our people behind us and in resounding numbers". The hollowness of the concept is demonstrated by the complete flexibility and fickleness to which even its base participatory practices have been applied - as in the Massachusetts Bay Colony of colonial America in which only the landed white Anglo-Saxon Protestant/Puritan men above 21 years of age could vote, or in Britain where suffrage for all males and women as a whole was only extended long after the institution was established in a series of token concessions. It's not a comprehensive ideological platform in and of itself but a mirage grafted on to pre-existing platforms to extend them legitimacy as understood by the mob, and will always be such.
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Far-Right Sage wrote:I would be enthralled to hear you expound upon these ideas further with the insider perspective.

Thank you for the kind words, but I think I would be very far from being an insider. I am just trying my best to read state news and social commentary on various sources and stance, and I think I am only beginning to scratch the surface of Chinese politics.

To illustrate - Chinese politics is never clear cut. Within the CCP, power circles are formed along social background (Crown princes vs Tuan Pai), geographical regions (Shanghai vs Tianjin), industries (Coal barons, manufacturing), educational background (Tsing Hua vs Beijing Uni) etc. These circles overlaps a lot, and at times oppose or collaborate with each other. Unlike democracies, nobody is wearing membership badges, which makes it hard for an outsider to even understand the political landscape. But somehow, true to our collective Asian culture, no matter how much they fight, outside the CCP curtain they speak with one voice. So it is not entirely accurate to say that CCP is only controlled by a handful of elites, because each of these elites are influenced by a far reaching web of power circles. In fact, throughout history, Chinese people has never been good with well defined, concrete political systems. Everything leaves room for wiggles, on intention. That's why it is somewhat hard to understand with the well structured Western mindset.

The politically ideology - to describe most accurately - is "no ideology". "Socialism with Chinese characteristics" means that CCP is free to define whatever suits their agenda. The beauty of it is, they are no longer restricted by an ideology on the means to achieve political goals, but instead becoming entirely results driven. To the world, China rejected liberal democracy and advocated a "Chinese model", but in fact there really is no "Chinese model" - at least in the sense that it is not as well defined and easy to replicate like democracy. Technocracy, State capitalism, Nationalism etc are all tools in the grand game but not the end game - which in fact I think they won't even hesitate to adopt some form of liberalism if it happens to be desirable at the situation. To put it more precisely, CCP rejects the notion that human kind has reached the "end of history", and therefore we must always adapt and evolve.

China's long-term viability as a world power will come from the uniqueness and ingenuity of its own system and initially from the soft power to provide an alternative for lower tier states for economic cooperation which will allow them the freedom to opt-out of the toxic and often ruinous domestic political commitments which come with the package of U.S. tied aid (we already see this playing out in, for example, Africa). In this respect it shares similarities with Russia and even a liberal-evangelist U.S. in its own hemisphere had to initially rely upon soft power while it was still a rising empire of minor strength.

Since the fall of Facism and Communism, there has been no viable ideology to compete with Liberalism. Unfortunately, the "Chinese model" is not an ideology with a "bite-size" version for the mob. The government tried, but their latest attempt at defining their ideology as "China dream" and "Core values of socialism" has no coherent context and to be honest not very well thought out. The "Chinese model" is heavily adapted to suit China's history and development stages, and in the foreseeable future it wouldn't be able to compete as a marketable vision agaisnt liberalism. But outside the realm of ideologies, China is a very viable alternative as economic and political partner, which remains one of their greatest contributions to the world.

Democracy is not a comprehensive ideological platform in and of itself but a mirage grafted on to pre-existing platforms to extend them legitimacy as understood by the mob, and will always be such.
Very true.
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Quite intriguing. However, I just wanted to clear something up:

benpenguin wrote:Since the fall of Facism and Communism, there has been no viable ideology to compete with Liberalism. Unfortunately, the "Chinese model" is not an ideology with a "bite-size" version for the mob. The government tried, but their latest attempt at defining their ideology as "China dream" and "Core values of socialism" has no coherent context and to be honest not very well thought out. The "Chinese model" is heavily adapted to suit China's history and development stages, and in the foreseeable future it wouldn't be able to compete as a marketable vision agaisnt liberalism. But outside the realm of ideologies, China is a very viable alternative as economic and political partner, which remains one of their greatest contributions to the world.


Actually, this is my point and the "alternative" I was referring to. The alternative which China offers less economically developed states in East Asia and further afield as in Africa is not a political ideology, but the absence of one. This is in direct contradiction to the U.S. evangelist missionary approach which is a facet of any tied U.S. development aid, and offers a great degree of freedom for the nations in question, for if no ideology is being pushed, they are at liberty to either retain or develop their own.

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