Is China a Republic? – Part 2/4

It appears that democracies come in several types. According to Democracy Building.info, there are three basic types of democracy—the Direct Democracy [ex. Switzerland], the Presidential Democracy [ex. USA, France] and the Parliamentary Democracy [ex. UK, Germany, Spain, Italy].

As for checks and balances, the parliamentary system offers few effective checks and balances [remember that China doesn’t offer checks and balances either].

In the UK, the Prime Minister, as head of state, is not elected. He or she is the leader of the majority party and may stay in power as long as his or her party is the majority. One of the main criticisms of many parliamentary systems is that the head of government is in almost all cases not directly elected by the people.

There are two types of parliamentary systems.  One is the unicameral system, which means it only has one single house or parliament. Forty-four countries fit this description. Examples are Denmark, Finland, Greece, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Sweden and Turkey.

Then there is the bicameral system [thirty-three countries] of a parliamentary government, which has two houses, an upper and a lower chamber. Examples of this form of democracy are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the European Union, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Africa, Spain, Thailand and the United Kingdom.

Let’s see how China’s type of government compares and decide if it is a democracy, republic or a dictatorship.


Democracy From the Bottom Up (The Carter Center)

The Carter Center says, “More than 600,000 villages across China are participating in a national movement toward meaningful democracy—democracy from the bottom up—in a communist nation of 1.3 billion people. For more than a decade, at the invitation of the Chinese government, The Carter Center has aided this effort by helping to standardize election practices among villages and by promoting good governance and citizen participation.”

According to Rural Life in China at Facts and Details.com, “the 2010 census [reported that], 51.3 percent of China’s population lives in rural areas. This is down from 63.9 percent in the 2000 census, which used a different counting system, and over 95 percent in the 1920s. There are around 800 million rural peasants and migrant workers—roughly, 500 million farmers and 300 million to 400 million excess unskilled rural laborers… There are around 1 million villages in China, about one third of the world’s total.  Each village has an average of 916 people.”

That means about 549.6 million rural Chinese vote in democratic village elections every three years.

By contrast, in the 2010 US national election 37.8% (90.6 million) of the voting-age population turned out, and in 2008 only 56.8% (132.6 million) did.  In 2008, the voting age population was 231.2 million and in 2010, it was almost 236 million.  If the majority of people do not vote in an election, does that mean the democracy is broken?

I recommend reading Rural Life in China at Facts and Details.com.  It is well balanced and points out the way it was and the way it is.  Although I did not read every word, I didn’t see any China bashing going on. It was not an indictment of China. However, I am sure a critic [read that enemy] of China could easily cherry pick this article and select a few pull quotes to support more misleading mudslinging at the CCP while ignoring what life was like in rural China before 1949.

Continued on January 24, 2012 in Is China a Republic – Part 3 or return to Part 1

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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2 Responses to Is China a Republic? – Part 2/4

  1. Troy Parfitt says:

    Mr. Parfitt submitted another comment and it failed the logical fallacy test. However, I edited out many of the logical fallacies and allowed what remained of his opinion to stay.

    All six of his loaded questions were removed. I also deleted sentences and paragraphs where, in my opinion, he was attempting to control the topic using other logical fallacies. Besides, I already wrote and scheduled all four posts of this series and do not intend to revise them or answer any of Mr. Parfitt’s questions or his demands.

    Mr. Parfitt’s opinion in his comment says that this series of posts are just “More propaganda.” — One would think that Mr. Parfitt would control himself until all four posts had appeared before he passes judgment on them. After all, there are two more to go.

    If Mr. Parfitt wants to argue about the information used in this post, which he calls “more propaganda” I suggest he take it up with the source at “Democracy Building.info”. When writing this post, I relied heavily on researched sources.

    Source: http://www.democracy-building.info/

    Mr. Parfitt then said, It doesn’t make sense to say ‘As for checks and balances, the parliamentary system offers few effective checks and balances.’ Actually, in a sense, parliamentary systems offer no checks and balances – that’s an American term and has nothing to do with a parliamentary system. In a parliamentary system, it’s called separation of powers. Those parliamentary systems you list do have separation of powers.”

    Notice how Mr. Parfitt attempted to change the topic from checks and balances to separation of powers. It seems he has a habit of attempting to take over a topic and control it. Again, Mr. Parfitt needs to take up the issue of checks and balances with “Democracy Building.info”, and complain to them about not mentioning separation of powers unless that site did and I missed it.

    Source: http://www.democracy-building.info/

    Parfitt’s opinion continues: “I never hear anyone in Canada complaining about this. The voter chooses the party, understanding who the party leader is. If the leader should die, etc., the party elects an interim leader and then another official leader.

    Mr. Parfitt’s next sentence was deleted as another unacceptable logical fallacy designed to mislead.

    I am not surprised that Mr. Parfitt may not have heard anyone in Canada complain. There are more than 34 million people in Canada. If Mr. Parfitt lived for 76 more years, he would have to talk to about 1,250 people a day to find out if anyone had complaints of Canada’s Parliamentary system—an impossible task.

    In fact, there are more than 307 million Americans, and I haven’t heard anyone in the US complain about Canada’s parliamentary system or complain about the US Electoral College, where a few hundred people decide [loyal party members of the Republican and Democratic parties] who the next US President will be [since the popular vote does not count]. But of course, I’ve never had a conversation on this topic with anyone in the US. It’s hard to imagine that anyone would dedicate his or her life to find out the answer to such a question.

    However, I have read on the Internet more than once that there are complaints. I suggest that Mr. Parfitt send his loaded questions to those sources. I’m sure he can use Google as I have to find them. I don’t care.

    To learn more about the U.S. Electoral College system, I refer readers to

    http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/electors.html

    Of the U.S. Electoral College system, the US government archives say, “Each State is allocated a number of electors equal to the number of its U.S. Senators (always 2) plus the number of its U.S. Representatives. The number of electors for a State is based on the number of members in the House of Representatives who represent the State, plus two for the State’s Senators. A State’s Congressional delegation is determined by the State’s population.”

    For a comparison, the office of the President of China was created by the 1982 Constitution. Formally, the National People’s Congress [with almost 3,000 members] in accordance with Article 62 of China’s Constitution elects the President.

    Since 1982, China has had four presidents: Li Xiannian (1983-1988); Yang Shangkun (1988 – 1993); Jiang Zemin (1993-1999) and Hu Jintao (1999 – )

    You may have noticed that none have served two five-year terms, which may indicate that the NPC didn’t re-elect those Chinese Presidents or maybe they died in office or turned age 67 and had to step down. I spent enough time on this comment, so, if curious, someone else may find that answer.

    According to China’s 1982 Constitution, the National People’s Congress (NPC), in theory China’s top law-making body, has the power to elect and force the resignation of the President. By law, the President must be a Chinese citizen of 45 years of age or older. The President cannot serve more than two successive terms, a term being the equivalent of one session of the NPC, which is five years. In addition, all the authorities and works of the President must be done under the NPC and its Standing Committee’s order (a committee of about 150 members of the NPC where decisions are made by consensus—there is no one man that controls all the power).

    Note: Members of the Standing Committee [NPCSC] are also limited to two five-year terms and are required by law to retire at age 67, which means no one serves for life. I understand that this year the entire standing committee [all 150 members] must step down to be replaced by new members.

    By comparison, in the US, Senator Robert C. Byrd served for more than 51 years, Senator Daniel K. Inouye has served for more than 48 years and is still in office, and Strom Thurmond served for more than 47 years. (Note: In the US, the longer one serves, the more power he or she has)

    Source: http://www.senate.gov/senators/Biographical/longest_serving.htm

    As for division of power, the 150 members of the NPCSC also has the power to interpret the laws of the PRC, including its constitution. In contrast to other countries in which stare decisis gives the power of both final interpretation and adjudication to a supreme court, within the People’s Republic of China constitutional and legal interpretation is considered to be a legislative activity rather than a judicial one, and the functions are split so that the NPCSC provides legal interpretations while the Supreme People’s Court and the Court of Final Appeal of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region actually decide cases.

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standing_Committee_of_the_National_People%27s_Congress

    To clarify any confusion caused by what remains of Mr. Parfitt’s comment, a simple way to explain the difference between checks and balances and separation of power may be found at Yahoo Answers (I didn’t spend a lot of time searching for sources).

    “Separation of Powers is a model of government in which different parts of the government are responsible for different functions; in the US, these different areas are legislative, executive and judicial.

    “In the US, Checks and balances is a means of trying to ensure that no one of those areas can operate completely on its own.”

    Source: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080108104316AA0WAnv

    • Troy Parfitt says:

      Mr. Parfitt’s use of logical fallacies continues in his attempt to make a bad argument appear good. After I edited his last comment dated January 23 at 9:04, he sent two more, and in this edited comment, we will examine one loaded question and part of one comment. The rest has been deleted from the Blog but saved in a file.

      From the first post, Mr. Parfitt asked a question and answered it.
      “Q. Who in their right mind would call a communist country a republic?
      A. No one”

      In addition, on January 23 at 19:56, in his second comment, he said, “That’s rich Lloyd. You likely didn’t know what a logical fallacy was until our ‘debate.’ Now, armed with a few labels you located on the interwebs, ones you don’t understand, you censor claiming my arguments are illogical.”

      Note—I have discovered more than just labels on the Internet.

      In fact, one of my sources regarding logic and argumentation is the textbook “A Concise Introduction to Logic” by Patrick J. Hurley, University of San Diego. At a list price of $160.95, [the eBook is $80.49], I doubt this textbook with exercises at the end of each chapter was intended for students in K – 12 schools. My copy is the ninth edition. The eleventh edition is the latest one. If you have followed this argument since the debate, you may recall that Mr. Parfitt once claimed there were no textbooks on this subject.

      For an explanation of a logical fallacy, I will use what Professor Hurley said in his textbook. “A fallacy is a defect in an argument that consists in something other than merely false premises. As we shall see, fallacies can be committed in many ways, but usually they involve either a mistake in reasoning or the creation of some illusion that makes a bad argument appear good…” [pg. 110]

      It is my premise that Mr. Parfitt uses logical fallacies to create an illusion that make a bad argument appear good. In other words, he knows what he is doing.

      On page 117, Professor Hurley says, “The ad hominem circumstantial (Argumentum ad Hominem) begins the same way as the ad hominem abusive but instead of heaping verbal abuse on his or her opponent, the respondent attempts to discredit the opponent’s argument by alluding to certain circumstances that affect the opponent. By doing so the respondent hopes to show that the opponent is predisposed to argue the way he or she does and therefore should not be taken seriously.”

      Now, back to Mr. Parfitt’s question and answer
      “Q. Who in their right mind would call a communist country a republic?
      A. No one”

      This is an example of a logical fallacy known as the Complex Question.

      On page 148, Professor Hurley says, “The fallacy of complex question is committed when two (or more) questions are asked in the guise of a single question and a single answer is then given to both of them. Every complex question presumes the existence of a certain condition. When the respondent’s answer is added to the complex question, an argument emerges that establishes the presumed condition. Thus, although not an argument as such, a complex question involves an implicit argument. This argument is usually intended to trap the respondent into acknowledging something that he or she might otherwise not want to acknowledge.”

      However, in this case, Mr. Parfitt provided the answer so there would only be one conclusion, which says anyone that disagrees with his answer is not of a “right mind” [crazy] as if Mr. Parfitt is the only sane person and of course anyone that agrees with him.

      However, this is false. There is no way to conclude that anyone who disagrees with Mr. Parfitt is crazy.

      If we fall for Mr. Parfitt’s trap and accept his premise that anyone who disagrees with his answer is not of a right mind, then Walter B. at “Yahoo! Answers” would be crazy.

      Walter B. describes himself as a former TV news cameraman and journalist with over 30 years in the industry in Australia and Southeast Asia, and that he is currently a SE Asian historian.

      Walter B says, “China is a Republic and a SOCIALIST country run by a Communist Party (a party which hopes one day to establish a communist economic system). Communism is an ECONOMIC system NOT a political system.…” [This answer was left on “Yahoo! Answers” two years ago and received 78% of the votes as the best answer.]

      Once again, if we fall for Mr. Parfitt’s logical fallacy, then everyone who voted for Walter B’s answer as the best one is crazy. After all, to be sane, one must agree with Mr. Parfitt’s conclusion.

      In addition to the online sources I have discovered and the textbook “A Consise Introduction to Logic”, I now have paperback copies of “Informal Logic, a Handbook for Critical Argumentation” by Douglas N. Walton and “The Structure of Argument” by Annette T. Rottenberg (both listed at textbooks.com).

      My, my, where are all these textbooks coming from that Mr. Parfitt claimed didn’t exist.

      The “CIA World Factbook” says, “Syria is a republic under an authoritarian regime, and calls Iran a theocratic republic.”

      In one of his comments, Mr. Parfitt said there was no such thing as an authoritarian republic. It seems Mr. Parfitt disagrees with THE CIA.

      If Syria and Iran are considered republics because of the way their governments are structured, then China has more of a right to be called a republic than they do.

      In fact, the CIA does not list China as a “totalitarian” government or a “dictatorship”. The CIA lists two countries as dictatorships—-Belarus (republic in name, although in fact a dictatorship) and North Korea (Communist state one-man dictatorship).

      Some time ago, I asked Mr. Parfitt if he knew the difference between a republic and a democracy. As usual, he ignored my question as he has often ignored questions from everyone else that took part in the debate.

      Instead, Mr. Parfitt responded with several loaded questions of his own, which I ignored [I deleted them]. To respond to all of Mr. Parfitt’s many loaded questions and other logical fallacies might take days, but I’m sure an “expert” on the use of logical fallacies such as Mr. Parfitt only needs a few minutes to write so many of them that his opponents are often buried in them leading to the impression that Mr. Parfitt’s opinions are valid.

      It must be driving him mad that he has lost his bully pulpit. It is obvious that his method is to overwhelm his opponents in a blizzard of logical fallacies leading me to conclude that Mr. Parfitt is a talented fraud.

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