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54anickel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:18 PM
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A Democratic China? Not So Fast, Beijing Leaders Say
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/08/international/asia/08... ;en=3ed361163a185001&ei=5062&partner=GOOGLE

BEIJING, April 7 - When asked why China, with its surging economy and rising power, has not yet begun to democratize, its leaders recite a standard line. The country is too big, too poor, too uneducated and too unstable to give political power to the people, they say.

The explanation is often delivered in a plaintive tone: China really would like to become a more liberal country, if only it did not have unique problems requiring the Communist Party to maintain its absolute monopoly on power for just a while longer.

The case of Hong Kong suggests it could be a great deal longer.

Hong Kong, a former British colony that came under Chinese control in 1997, is a tidy, small place by Chinese standards. Its six million people are extensively educated, multilingual and heavily Westernized. It has a low crime rate, a nimble economy and a remarkably accommodating population that has proven pragmatic and subdued under both British and Chinese rule.

At $24,750 in per capita annual income, its people are about 25 times wealthier than their mainland compatriots and the 15th most affluent population in the world, according to a World Bank tally. It is also by far the richest place in which citizens do not have the right to elect their own leaders, with Kuwait, its nearest competitor, ranking 34th.

more...
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SmileyBoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:28 PM
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1. I wish they could at least democratize Hong Kong.
I think with China, it would have to take years of gradual reform to democracy for it to truly be successful. It's still a shame that the censor the internet over there.
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Dirk39 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:32 PM
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2. As much as I want...
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 09:36 PM by Dirk39
China to be more democratic - but only after Murdoch, Berlusconi and Bertelsmann were expropriated and exist no more...

If more people would understand the relation between the end of the Soviet Union and PNAC. Between the end of soviet communism and the neoliberal attack against all capitalist societies, who have a welfare system, maybe more people would just be concerned about this.

If China would open it's markets - and this whole thing isn't about democracy, it's just about markets - what we have seen going on in Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Haiti, not to mention the neoliberal attacks in Europe and Bush in the USA, would seem to be a rather peacefull chapter in our history compared to the nightmares happening then.
As cynical as it might seem: I hope this doesn't happen.
The word democracy has completely lost it's meaning anyway. Why should China become a democracy? The USA, Japan and Europe should become democracies. Then we can start talking about China.
I guess and hope even the people in China have more decisions to make than to vote between Kerry and Bush within a one demopublican party system .

Hello from Germany,
Dirk
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Muddleoftheroad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:32 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Wow, what a rationalization
Almost 200 words to say, "China can do no wrong."

Yeah, how dare us root for freedom over there after all.
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Dirk39 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 08:40 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. China can do wrong...
Edited on Thu Apr-08-04 09:00 PM by Dirk39
for sure.
The worst thing happening would be to "open it's markets" (translate: let China be neocolonized with small corrupt local elites profiting) AND staying an authoritarian political regime. Could it be that you're small minded?
The political elite in China might be as corrupt and in defence of their privileges as the elites nearly everywhere else in this world. I have no doubts about that. But in a way, if I understand the present situation correctly, it seems to me that at least partly this elite has to keep at least a bit of balance with the interests of the chinese people and China as a whole. Many people - even leftists - seem to think that China already has become what I'm afraid of: an authoritarian capitalist regime. But it's still somehow an authoritarian planned economy. IF you don't believe me, just study how the stock corporations in China are organised. As you might know, people can invest in China now, even you and me could buy chinese shares, but the state still has the controll about nearly all corporations.
Hello from Germany,
Dirk
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dArKeR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 01:37 AM
Response to Original message
4. HK activists tell China to back off
AP , HONG KONG
Thursday, Apr 08, 2004,Page 5

Pro-democracy figures yesterday charged that China had violated constitutional law by asserting control over Hong Kong's political reforms, and some predicted the move could stir unrest in the territory.

China issued a ruling on Tuesday that Hong Kong must get Beijing's blessing before trying to change the way it selects its leader and lawmakers -- giving the central government more control over such matters than is spelled out in the Basic Law, Hong Kong's mini-constitution.

The Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress put forth the ruling in an interpretation of the territory's constitution -- a move many here viewed as an attempt to quash growing calls for full democracy.

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/world/archives/2004/04/...
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WhereIsMyFreedom Donating Member (605 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 02:26 AM
Response to Original message
5. I still maintain that China is already a Democracy
Certainly it could use some improvement (as could our own) but it meets the definition.

The people of China directly elect their local government, which in turn elects their regional government, which in turn elects the national government. It is a Representative Democracy. It would be like our State Legislatures electing our President for us. Instead we have the electoral college.

The point this article seems to be making is that China's Constitution only allows one party to be in charge, the Communist Party. This really has nothing to do with Democracy, though. Within the Communist Party there are two primary factions, the North (conservative) and the South (liberal). That's essentially our two party system under one umbrella.

And finally, contrary to popular belief, there is no inherent conflict between Communism and Democracy. The former is an economic idea and the latter is a political idea (it is Communism and Capitalism that are opposed). In fact, a Democracy is the government that most closely matches the ideals of Communism.

For those that aren't convinced, what does China have to change before it is a Democracy? What is it missing now?
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wickerwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 03:54 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. Didn't China just pass something like 21 amendments to the Constitution
including greater private property rights for individuals?

I'm not sure where the NY Times is getting this "not yet begun to democratize nonsense."

As for censoring the Internet- here I am in China surfing on the Democratic Underground. The whole time I've been here I've only seen one story blocked- something about the economy on the BBC website. I can get CNN, MSNBC, etc. If you can read English, you have access to pretty much the same news they get everywhere else.

Does horrible shit go down in China? Of course it does. But anyone who thinks China hasn't made any progress towards democratization needs to put the China of the past ten years in context with the China of the past 100 years.
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Dirk39 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 08:56 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Hello WhereIsMyFreedom,
Edited on Thu Apr-08-04 08:58 PM by Dirk39
I fear it's not in China? As much as I would defend China against the neoliberal and neocolonial attacks, it isn't a democrazy in any way. There are no free elections. As much as I agree with you that there is no inherent conflict between socialism and democrazy, China is in controll by a small somehow corrupt elite. But if China would give up to the USA, the worldbank and the IMF it would be worse, much worse, even for us in Europe and the USA.

Not important to mention:
There IS an inherent conflict between Communism and Democrazy. In Communism there isn't even a government or state 'cause people are in controll of their own lifes.

"For those that aren't convinced, what does China have to change before it is a Democracy? What is it missing now?"
One chinese high ranking official was asked here in Germany, why China isn't a political formal democrazy now. His answer was a question: Would Europe be willing to accept millions of Chinese refugees and let them live and survive in Europe?

Another answer would be: Look at Iraq! One year after they were liberated and the authoritarin regime was replaced with a happy ever after democrazy. Look at Haiti.

My personal attitude is: when people like Bush or the DLCers talk about human rights, freedom or democrazy, I will never ever under no circumstances support them, not even in theory, 'cause I know what they are about. But this doesn't mean, I have to have illusions about a regime as the one in China. Let them play the Good-against-evil game, we have better things to do.
Hello from Germany,
Dirk
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