The IGNORANCE Factor of Bias – Part 4/5

January 8, 2012

If you recall from Part 1, Hawaii was not a democracy modeled after today’s United States when Sun Yat-sen lived there from the ages of 13 to 17 [1879 – 1883].

In fact, when Sun Yat-sen lived in Hawaii, it was a kingdom ruled by a king and was a Constitutional Monarchy similar to but not the same as Great Britain at the same time.

It wouldn’t be until 1887, that the Hawaiian King Kalākaua was forced to sign the 1887 Constitution [after Sun Yat-sen had returned to China] of the Kingdom of Hawaii, which stripped him of any authority he had making him into a figurehead.

In addition, there was a property qualification in 1887’s Hawaiian Constitution for voting rights similar to what the Founding Fathers wrote into the US Constitution in 1776, and resident whites, who owned the property since Asians were not allowed to own property or could not afford to buy it, were the only ones allowed to vote.

Meanwhile, the American Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 excluded skilled and unskilled Chinese from entering the United States for ten years under penalty of imprisonment and deportation. In the US at this time, many Chinese were relentlessly beaten just because of their race.

Therefore, when Sun Yat-sen lived in Hawaii as a Chinese teenager, it was not a republic or a democracy and he was a second-class person barred from entering the United States.

The structure of the political system in the United States was also dramatically different from the one America has today.

In 1790, the Constitution explicitly says that only “free white” immigrants could become naturalized citizens.

In 1848, Mexican-Americans were granted U.S. Citizenship but not voting rights.

In 1856, voting rights were expanded to all white men and not just property owners.

In 1868, four years after the end of the American Civil War, former slaves were granted citizenship, however only African-American men were allowed to be citizens and the right to vote was left up to each state.

In 1870, the 15th Amendment was passed saying the right to vote could not be denied by the federal or state governments based on race [this still did not include women], but some states restricted the right to vote based on voting taxes and literacy tests.

In 1876, the US Supreme Court ruled that Native Americans were not citizens and could not vote.

In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act barred people of Chinese ancestry from naturalizing to become U.S. citizens.

In 1920, the right to vote was extended to women when the 19th Amendment passed. Source: U.S. Voting Rights Timeline

What do you think Sun Yat-sen learned from these facts about a democracy?

Continued on January 9, 2012 in The IGNORANCE Factor of Bias – Part 5 or return to Part 3

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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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Democracy and Freedom – A Difference of Opinion

December 19, 2010

I’m sure that most Americans (as well educated as they are, and I’m being sarcastic) think all democracies are the same.

They aren’t.

The World Atlas lists 192 countries on the globe and according to Made in Democracies.org, there are 58 democracies. If correct, that means 134 countries are not democracies. This list excludes countries that claim they are democracies but are sanctioned tax havens for secret bank accounts or allow child prostitution.

If you read the entry for Democracy at Wikipedia, you will discover there are many different types of democracies.

The Economists Democracy Index has four categories. The next index from Freedom House has three.

In fact, Freedom House has another chart for Electoral democracies, which shrinks the list further.

There is another for Parliamentary democracies.

The smallest category may be for “liberal democracy” where elections should be free and fair, and the political process should be competitive. Even liberal democracies are divided into categories.

The United States is labeled as a federal republic along with India, Germany and Brazil.

The United Kingdom is listed as a constitutional monarchy along with Japan, Canada and Spain.

The biggest difference between China and most democracies is that China’s republic has one political party, which controls the state-owned media. Yet there are city and regional media in China that often publish opinions that do not appear in the national media. In addition, China’s Blogosphere is very active when it comes to expression and opinions.

In the US, six huge corporations own most of the so-called free media and an American corporation owns only one. Foreign corporations own the other five.

In America, freedom of the press means that conservative talk radio may manipulate public opinion and influence voters through lies and exaggeration, which it often does. We just saw that happen in the 2010 election.


This video explains how America became a democracy dominated by religion
.

In America, corporate lobbyists or special interest groups such as Evangelical Christians may influence elected officials to vote on bills that may not benefit the majority of the population such as confusing debates over abortion, global warming and the recent American health bill.

In China, the only way to influence a government official is by bribing him or her. If caught, that official may end up going to prison or face execution, which seldom happens in the US where bribed officials often go unpunished.

Although many call China a dictatorship, it is not. See Dictatorship Defined

Today, China is a one party republic, which is what the United States was under its first two presidents, George Washington and John Adams. In China, only Communist Party members may vote as part of a consensus and there are more than 70 million Party members.

In the American Republic created by the Founding Fathers in 1776, only white men that owned property were allowed to vote, which was about 10% of the population.

Critics of China claim that China’s 1982 Constitution allows for freedom of speech and religion. However, the truth is that there are limits on freedom of speech and religion that we never hear about from the Western media or politicians.

The US Constitution says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The Chinese Constitution says, “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration…”

Nowhere does it say in the Chinese Constitution, “the Party will make no law prohibiting the “free exercise of freedom of speech or of the press” as it does in the US Constitution.

In fact, the same article that says “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief” also says, “No one may make use of religion to engage in activities that disrupt public order, impair the health of citizens or interfere with the educational system of the state.”

The Chinese Constitution also says, “The exercise by citizens of the People’s Republic of China of their freedoms and rights may not infringe upon the interests of the state…” and “they must not commit acts detrimental to the security, honour and interests of the motherland.”

That is why the Tibetan Dalai Lama lives in exile in India, the Falun Gong religious cult was banned in China in 1999 and Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner, is in jail. They all refuse to abide by the 1982 Chinese Constitution.

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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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