Is China a Republic? – Part 3/4

Under Chinese Communist Party rule, village elections are the only example of a one-person, one-vote democracy in China. Launched in the mid-eighties, these elections were originally introduced to replace the village communes that were dissolved after the Cultural Revolution. At the time, few outside China paid much attention and many still do not know this is happening.

In addition, according to the US Army in 1928, a republic has a Constitution, and China has one, which provides for all four points that were made in the US Army definition of a republic. Another definition for a representative type of government is that the constitution is changeable from its original meaning by amendments and China’s 1954 Constitution was amended in 1982, 1988, 1993, 1999, and 2004.

Unlike the parliamentary democratic system where the prime minister may rule as long as his or her party holds the majority, China sets a limit of two five-year terms for its President, and he or she is elected by the National People’s Congress for the first of those two, five-year terms.

Emerging democracy in China

 The office of President was created by the 1982 Constitution. Formally, the President is elected by the National People’s Congress in accordance with Article 62 of the Constitution. In practice, this election falls into the category of ‘single-candidate’ elections. The candidate is recommended by the Presidium of the National People’s Congress [The 2009 NPC Presidium is made up of 171 members and headed by the Secretary General of the NPC legislative session].

The National People’s Congress is the highest state body and the only legislative house in the People’s Republic of China with 2,987 members.

The State Council is the chief authority of the People’s Republic of China. It is appointed by the National People’s Congress, is chaired by the Premier, and includes the heads of each governmental department and agency. There are about 50 members in the Council. In the politics of the People’s Republic of China, the Central People’s Government forms one of three interlocking branches of power, the others being the Communist Party of China and the People’s Liberation Army.

The Supreme People’s Court is the highest court in the judicial system of the People’s Republic of China.

Hong Kong and Macau, as special administrative regions, have their own separate judicial systems based on British common law traditions and Portuguese civil-law traditions respectively, and are out of the jurisdiction of the Supreme People’s Court. The National People’s Congress appoints the judges of the Supreme People’s Court, which is similar to the United States where both houses of congress approve the appointment of the justices of the Supreme Court.

The governors of China’s provinces and autonomous regions and mayors of its centrally controlled municipalities are appointed by the central government in Beijing after receiving the nominal consent of the National People’s Congress.

Continued on January 25, 2012 in Is China a Republic – Part 4 or return to Part 2


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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5 Responses to Is China a Republic? – Part 3/4

  1. Troy Parfitt says:

    I don’t care who that guy is. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. And as for Henry Kissinger, he ought to be considered a war criminal.

    How very Chinese. Because someone’s got a lot of crededentials, they must have a monopoly on the truth. We shouldn’t question what they’re saying, we ought to listen as these sagacious omniscient individuals radiate the wisdom of antiquity a la Kongzi.


    Sinophiles, like that twit in the video, often assure neophytes that China will become a democracy, because they know it’s what westerners want to hear. There is no evidence – none – to suggest China will become democratic. In 2007, the Chinese Communist Party ruled out democracy for the next 100 years. Any Sinologist ought to know that. And they ought to know many of the educated elite don’t want the vote.

    Statements such as Mr. Thunderbird’s are meaningfully reassurring, and assuredly meaningless.

    • It is not surprising that Mr. Parfitt would reject anyone that dares breathe a word that would counter his personal and culturally biased opinions of China, its people and its culture. After all, Mr. Parfitt must defend his claim of [questionable] expertise on China for his loyal and adoring fans.

      Mr. Parfitt focused on Frank Neville’s credentials in an attempt to discredit, which is another logical fallacy tactic.

      However, it isn’t Frank Neville’s credentials that we should focus on. It’s his experience on the ground. He speaks Mandarin fluently in addition to Spanish. He spent years in China working with the Chinese instead of teaching ESL and reading books and training his students to behave as if they were Westerners, which Mr. Parfitt admitted to doing in an e-mail.

      In addition, Frank Neville also took classes through the Foreign Service Institute of the US State Department before he went overseas. In fact, he probably read some of the same books Mr. Parfitt did and maybe more.

      Mr. Parfitt should send Frank Neville an e-mail with some of his loaded questions and challenge him to discover how much he has read about China. When I was learning about Frank Neville’s experiences in China, there was an e-mail address available to contact him at the university he is now working for.

      According to what I’m learning about the logic of argumentation, it is Mr. Parfitt’s responsibility to prove Mr. Neville is incompetent. It is not Mr. Neville’s responsibly to defend himself.

      “The [US State Department] Institute’s programs include training for the development of United States Foreign Service and Civil Service professionals, and for Foreign Service Nationals who work at U.S. posts around the world. Ranging in length from one day to two years, courses are designed to promote successful performance in each professional assignment, to ease the adjustment to other countries and cultures, and to enhance the leadership and management capabilities of the U.S. foreign affairs community”


      Mr. Parfitt could have used some of this training to help him adjust to Chinese culture. With this training, he might actually understand Chinese culture instead of seeing it through a biased lens.

      Frank Neville used the wrong word when he said “democracy”. He should have said China was a republic and the people — even rural Chinese – were slowly gaining more participation in the republican process. However, as a republic, the people do not make the final decisions.

      These days, most people in the West use the word democracy because it has become the politically correct term to use when talking about a republic.

      However, most people these days, because they grew up hearing the word democracy instead of republic, have no idea of the differences between the two terms, such as Mr. Parfitt, who doesn’t appear to know the difference between a republic and a democracy, which isn’t surprising since the average American reads at the 5th grade level.

      Who can blame the Chinese for not wanting to be a democracy? Even America’s Founding Fathers were against democracy and as we know, Sun Yat-sen, the man given the credit for two republics, one in Taiwan and one in China, studied the Founding Fathers and the American republic they built — not the government the US has today.

      Even the CIA Factbook does not refer to the US as a pure democracy. The CIA says the US is a “Constitution-based federal republic…”

      The CIA’s definition for its own country is, “a government by or operating under an authoritative document (constitution) that sets forth the system of fundamental laws and principles that determines the nature, functions, and limits of that government; a state in which the powers of the central government are restricted and in which the component parts (states, colonies, or provinces) retain a degree of self-government…”

      In addition, below the listing for the US, is Uzbekistan, which the CIA identified as “a republic with authoritarian presidential rule, with little power outside the executive branch.” I recall that Mr. Parfitt once wrote that there was no such thing as an authoritarian republic — once again, Mr. Parfitt has been proven wrong, but we can be assured that he will attempt to discredit the CIA Factbook next or ignore them as if they do not exist. If he ignores what the CIA says, he will launch another round of logical fallacies in an attempt to change the topic, which is his pattern.

      The CIA also has a definition for “totalitarian” on the same page that identifies the government of each of the world’s nations, but the CIA does not use that term in its description of China.

      More: Mr. Parfitt once challenged a comment I said about China being technologically more advanced and more powerful than the West. The CIA agrees with me — not Mr. Parfitt.

      The CIA says, “For centuries China stood as a leading civilization, outpacing the rest of the world in the arts and sciences, but in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the country was beset by civil unrest, major famines, military defeats, and foreign occupation… After 1978, MAO’s successor DENG Xiaoping and other leaders focused on market-oriented economic development and by 2000 output had quadrupled. For much of the population, living standards have improved dramatically and the room for personal choice has expanded, yet political controls remain tight…”

      The CIA also has a description of Maoism as a form of government, which ended with Mao’s death in 1976 in addition to rewriting their Constitution in 1982 to make sure Maoism doesn’t return.

      The CIA said, “Maoism – the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism developed in China by Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung), which states that a continuous revolution is necessary if the leaders of a communist state are to keep in touch with the people.”

      • Pilton Miah says:

        These days, most people in the West use the word democracy because it has become the politically correct term to use when talking about a republic.

        However, most people these days, because they grew up hearing the word democracy instead of republic, have no idea of the differences between the two terms, such as Mr. Parfitt, who doesn’t appear to know the difference between a republic and a democracy •••

        This isn’t so strange:


        There is republic as used in a very general sense, to mean government without monarchy. This could be democratic or non-democratic [as argued by Montesquieu]. Or the term can be used to refer to governments in a more restricted sense [as quoted from Wikipedia]:

        🔺 A republic is a form of government in which power resides in the people,[1] and the government is ruled by elected leaders run according to law (from Latin: res publica), rather than inherited or appointed (such as through inheritance or divine mandate).

        🔺 Presently, the term “republic” commonly means a system of government which derives its power from the people rather than from another basis, such as heredity or divine right. This remains the primary definition of republic in most contexts.

        🔺 The distinction between a republic and a monarchy is not always clear. The constitutional monarchies of the former British Empire and Western Europe today have almost all real political power vested in the elected representatives, with the monarchs only holding either theoretical powers, no powers or rarely used reserve powers. Real legitimacy for political decisions comes from the elected representatives and is derived from the will of the people. While hereditary monarchies remain in place, political power is derived from the people as in a republic. These states are thus sometimes referred to as crowned republics.[38]

        🔺 This understanding of a republic as a distinct form of government from a liberal democracy is one of the main theses of the Cambridge School of historical analysis.[41] This grew out of the work of J. G. A. Pocock who in 1975 argued that a series of scholars had expressed a consistent set of republican ideals. These writers included Machiavelli, Milton, Montesquieu, and the founders of the United States of America.

        🔺 A distinct set of definitions for the word republic evolved in the United States. In common parlance, a republic is a state that does not practice direct democracy but rather has a government indirectly controlled by the people ••• It was a novel meaning to the term; representative democracy was not an idea mentioned by Machiavelli and did not exist in the classical republics.[44] Also, there is evidence that contemporaries of Madison considered the meaning of the word to reflect the definition found elsewhere, as is the case with a quotation of Benjamin Franklin taken from the notes of James McHenry. Where the question is put forth, “a Republic or a Monarchy?”[45]

        🔺 Beyond these basic definitions the word republic has a number of other connotations. W. Paul Adams observes that republic is most often used in the United States as a synonym for state or government, but with more positive connotations than either of those terms.[47] Republicanism is often referred to as the founding ideology of the United States.

        This is why I think there is a rather confused application of the term. I myself would only refer to true republics as those where power is exercised on behalf of the people by through some type of election [whether directly elected as a President, or perhaps through local councils/authorities].

      • Thank you. All good information.

        What do you think about the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United and how that will influence America’s Constitutional Republic/Democracy?

        In fact, after that ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, one of America’s billionaires publicly stated that the wealthy should have more votes and suggested one vote for every dollar. If that happened, then Bill Gates, for instance, would have about 80 billion votes, and in some ways he already does through the Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation that is spreading money across the U.S. to influence what’s going on here. Currently, Gates is spending $5 – $7 billion to destroy the public education system and turn our children over to corporations to teach where children wouldn’t be protected by laws designed to watch over a transparent public system. His billions are buying a lot of elected officials and influence in almost every state and this effort is having a horrible impact on public education and the quality of the teaching profession—the number of men who teach in the K-12 system has plunged in recent years from a high of more than 30% to 16% and the ratio of teachers leaving in the first five years is growing.

  2. Troy Parfitt says:

    Ah, the master speaks again. This time I decided to approve Troy Parfitt’s entire comment even with the logical fallacies [nothing was removed]. At first, I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about so I had to go to the post and read it and watch the video again.

    Once I realized what Mr. Parfitt was talking about, I wasn’t surprised at his opinion. After all, he is the guy that dismissed Kissinger, Amy Chua and anyone else that disagrees with his opinions. No one seems to be spared.

    Mr. Parfitt says, “Thunderbird video fellow knows about as much about Chinese culture as you do, Lloyd, which is to say: not very much. The interests he’s talking about – all the car and apartment owners – already have political protection. It’s called the CCP. That’s their protector. If they move push toward the ballot box, who else would get to vote? All those people without cars and apartments. Peasants, they are called. And that wouldn’t do, because the interests of the uneducated poor, about two thirds of the population, are not the same as the interests of the educated elite.”

    Now, for the comparison between Mr. Parfitt and Frank Neville.

    Mr. Parfitt taught ESL in Korea and Taiwan for more than a decade then spent a number of weeks visiting 17 provinces in China as “more than a tourist” [his words]. Oh, yes, he also claims to have read 80 books about China. In the “Publisher’s Weekly” Review (PW) of his book, “Why China Will Never Rule the World: Travels in the Two Chinas“, PW said of Parfitt’s work, “The result is mostly travelogue told from an outsider’s perspective, contextualized with overviews of major events in Chinese history.” [this is a pull quote – for the entire review go to — Source:

    Now, who is Frank Neville?

    I didn’t copy and paste his complete bio since it was too long. If you are interested in reading all of it, click on —

    “Prior to joining Thunderbird in 2004, Mr. Neville was a career diplomat with the U.S. State Department, serving in Washington D.C., Latin America and China, including service as the spokesperson at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. There, he was responsible for public-diplomacy strategy for the 800-person U.S. mission. He helped design and implement U.S. public-affairs strategy during the 2001 EP-3 aircraft-and-crew incident, and led the public defense of U.S. policies on Iraq and North Korea through dozens of public presentations, roundtables and media interviews.

    “He also served as spokesperson at the American Institute of Taiwan and as branch public affairs officer at the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu, China. While in Chengdu, he directed U.S. public diplomacy in a district of 190 million people that included Tibet.

    “His Foreign Service work also included a post in the Defense Department’s Office of Chinese Affairs in Washington, D.C., and a post as spokesperson and press office director at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala. When he left the State Department, Mr. Neville was the Foreign Service’s most decorated officer under age 40. He is fluent in Mandarin (Chinese) and Spanish…

    “An experienced public speaker and debater, he has given hundreds of public presentations in Chinese, Spanish, and English to audiences throughout Asia, Latin America, and the U.S. His recent public lectures have included presentations on immigration to politicians, academics, and students in Mexico City; U.S. foreign policy, to academics and students in South Korea; democracy and development, to government officials and journalists in China.

    About Thunderbird—”Thunderbird is the world’s No. 1-ranked school of international business with more than 60 years of experience in developing leaders with the global mindset, business skills and social responsibility necessary to create real, sustainable value for their organizations, communities and the world. Dedicated to preparing students to be global leaders and committed global citizens, Thunderbird was the first graduate business school to adopt an official Professional Oath of Honor. Thunderbird is sought out by graduate students, working professionals and companies worldwide seeking to gain the leadership skills they need to succeed in today’s global economy.”


    MBA Rankings

    # 1 “Best in International Business” Full-time MBA
    Financial Times 2011 (5th consecutive # 1 ranking)

    #1 “International” Full- time MBA
    Us News & World Report 2012 (16th consectuve # 1 ranking)

    I suggest readers visit the Thunderbird site and see the rest of the rankings.



    Our network of more than 40,000 alumni are a highly resourceful and close-knit group of individuals who work in more than 12,000 corporations, governments, NGOs and other enterprises in more than 140 countries. T-birds know people in almost every major city and have friends and business contacts nearly everywhere they go.


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