Mao Zedong ruled China from 1949 to 1976 when he died. For a brief period between the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, Mao was forced to retire. However, when he launched the Cultural Revolution, the people of China returned Mao to power.
Today, China has a one party system and there is a “small” body of citizens entitled to vote for the top leaders who then rule China.
China has a Constitution but the language of that Constitution is different from the Constitution of the United States and that Constitution is still being Amended as in the U.S.
China does not have a monarch or a hereditary head of state. The fact that China has both term and an age limit for holding political positions in the government is proof that China is not a dictatorship, which is a popular opinion held around the world.
Under Mao, who ruled for 27 years and who was known by some as “China’s Modern Emperor”, it would be safe to say a dictator ruled China.
Many may not agree with China’s legal system or laws, but that legal system and those laws were written and adopted by the elected representatives who rule China – not by a dictator or a monarch and they are still subject to change through future amendments as is the United States.
The United States and China are both Republics, and the evidence suggests that China is modeling their Republic after America, but with a Constitution to fit Chinese culture as the elected leaders of China interpret the document that is China’s law of the land.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen – China’s Democratic Revolutionary wrote that he wanted to model China’s government after America but by combining Western thought with Chinese tradition.
It appears that is exactly what is happening.
If America had more than two centuries to amend the U.S. Constitution, what will China’s Constitution look like one-hundred-and-seventy-two years from now?
What if China is the real republic transitioning from a socialist state while the US was becoming a socialist democracy.
Return to Two Republics – Part 3
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.
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Its interesting what you said about the perception that China is a dictatorship. Is not more the case that such a perception is based on the why the government operates rather than the theoretical definition of the term? Many would contend that China is a dictatorship in all but name…
Many may contend that China is a dictatorship but China is not.
Pay attention and anyone would start to see that there is no one in a leadership position with the kind of total power that Mao had. The 1982 Constitution (Mao died in 1976) even has an impeachment clause that allows the general body of the Communist Party to fire the top leaders if they are getting out of line. Consider how often the U.S. has used the impeachment clause in the U.S. Constitution. So far, the Communist Party has not had a need to use it yet.
In fact, the original Thirteen Colonies of the US were run much closer to how China is run today. The only people who could vote n the US then were white men who owned property. Women and people who didn’t own property were not allowed to vote.
Instead of white men who own property, China has about 70 million members (both men and women) who belong to the Communist Party and they are very careful who they led join the party so they keep loud mouthed ideological radicals out — like Lenin and Carl Marx, the same kind of radicals who started the socialist/communist movement in the first place.
Today, China’s government is “Communist” in name only.
Besides, no one can own property in China except the government and rural collectives so China couldn’t use that method to decide who could vote.
If you buy a house or business in China, in reality you are only leasing the property for about 70 or 80 years from the government. Someone who breaks the law (a felony crime as China sees a felony) and is found guilty may lose all the property they bought/leased from the government.
Heck, there are laws on the books in the United States that allows the IRS and the Federal government to do the same to anyone who is convicted of certain crimes such as a convicted drug dealer.
There is also a perception that these 70 million members to the party vote as they are told and the real decisions are made at the top.
That isn’t accurate. For example, the current President of China is from the Communist Youth League, who joined the Communist Party, but the prior president before him was from the elite of the Communist Party who was born into a family that belonged to the part—heredity membership.
These two factions (which could be compared to the Republicans and Democrats in the US) since they have different opinions on how the country is to be run.
If you recall the 2008 Beijing Olympic opening ceremony, all those volunteers worked to show how well the cooperate. The Communist government works the same way. Behind the scenes, the members debate and the majority decides how all will vote so it does not appear to the world that anyone disagrees yet it is well known that there are different opinions on how things should be done within the part.
If you were to read the series on China’s Capitalist Revolution (with a link in the history menu on the Home Page) and watch the videos that are embedded in each post, you would learn that after the 1989, Tiananmen Square Incident, Deng Xiaoping’s had to step down from power, and his element of the Communist Party that supported “Getting Rich is Glorious” lost support from the majority of the Communist Party members.
Then the hard line Maoist element gained support from the majority in the party and took control of the country again and were about to shut down the open-market economy and do away with private businesses.
Deng Xiaoping (in his 90s) went on the road to lobby the military generals (also party members) who were friends of his to convince them that the open-market economy and private businesses had to be allowed to thrive and survive.
The generals sided with him and he managed to get the “Getting Rich is Glorious” faction back in power by winning back a majority in the party again very much like European parliaments work but most of what happens in China is out of sight from the world because the Chinese do not want the world to see the power struggle in the media we often see in the United States daily.
Most Chinese do not approve of showing strangers this side of the decision making process in China.
In fact, when China is ready, they already have the makings of several political parties within the Communist Party and possibly the political parties in Taiwan if Taiwan were to join the mainland again, which might happen if China switches to a form of a republican parliamentary multi-party government where only card carrying members of the different political parties were allowed to vote within each party. Then the parties, like most European countries and Israel would form alliances to control the government.
Study the republics and democracies of Europe, Japan, Thailand, Singapore and you will discover that none of them have the same form of government that the United States has.
In fact, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, the father of China’s republican movement said that China’s government will not be exactly like that of the United States or European countries but will be designed to fit the Chinese culture. It was Dr. Sun Yat-Sen who brought the Communists and the Nationalists together in one government before he died. After he died, that system fell apart when the Nationalists started killing the members of the Communist Party and their families.
Deng Xiaoping was quoted as saying that he wanted China to be a democracy (or republic) but China wasn’t ready yet because too many people still lived as if they were in a medieval world, which is most of rural China.
In addition, there is a struggle (debate to gain support from a majority of the party membership) going on out of sight of the world to see who will lead the government in 2012 when the current leaders are required to step down because of term limits and age limits. At 67, retirement from the government is mandatory even for the president and no one may hold a given office more than two, five-year terms.
There are China (all foreigners) experts around the world watching China closely and they don’t know who is going to be the political faction that will rule China after 2012 for five to ten more years. China is not as transparent as the world’s Western style democracies and republics. Maybe one day China will be but not yet. In fact, if China continues to grow a thriving middle class with a modern lifestyle, it may come sooner than most of the world expects. There are now more Blogs in china than any country in the world and that HUGE Blog community has more freedom than the so-called free media in the West.
When China had labor strikes recently, the Blog community in China allowed different groups around the country to stay in touch, which resulted in higher pay.
Unlike a dictatorship, the leaders of China must answer to the 70 million Party Membership who answers to the people they represent. The members of the Communist Party do not all live in Beijing. They are spread out all over the country and Chinese citizens who do not belong to the party take their complaints to the local party boss.
If many people have the same complaints, that information goes upstairs to the top of the leadership who must debate and decide what to do. For example, a law was passed recently that required everyone with a bicycle to wear a safety helmet. The Blog community went ballistic and the complaints came in the millions. The party rescinded that law.
In one southeastern Chinese city that has little to no industry but attracts many Chinese tourists, a chemical plant was going to be built. The university students in that city organized a protest using Blogs and several million complaints poured into the central government. The result was that the plans to build that chemical plant were cancelled.
In China, a small minority won’t get much done or usually get their way but a huge majority that agrees and works together to bring about change does have a voice. That doesn’t mean that the majority will get its way but they might.
The primary reason that many in the West see China as a dictatorship is because the media keeps telling them China is a dictatorship and most of those people don’t take the time to find out for themselves. Then again, if becoming a republic or democracy open the door to chaos and anarchy, China could be ruled by a one man dictator again. But that could happen in the U.S. too.