What would a Republic in China Look Like? Part 3 of 3

August 11, 2016

To determine what a republic in China would look like, we must also ask how many Chinese would have been allowed to vote in Sun Yat-sen’s republic.

To find out we need to take a closer look at who was eligible to vote in the United States during Sun’s life to discover that most minorities [China has 56] and women in the United States were not allowed to vote. In addition, some American states at the time had literacy laws in place and eligible adult men [mostly minorities] had to pass a literacy test to be able to vote. The first literacy test for voting was adopted by Connecticut in 1855. In fact, ten of the eleven southern states had subjective literacy tests that were used to restrict voter registration, but some of those states used grandfather clauses to exempt white voters from taking literacy tests.

Knowing this, it is highly likely that Sun Yat-sen would have created a republic in China that only allowed educated and wealthy Han Chinese men to vote. Women and children would have remained chattel, the property of men to be bought and sold for any reason as they had for thousands of years, and China’s minorities would have had no rights.

Therefore, once we subtract children, women, minorities, Han Chinese adult males who did not own property and any of those who were illiterate from the eligible voting population, what’s left is less than five percent of the adult population—and the educated Han elite adult males who owned property would have ruled the country. Most of the people in China would have had no voice; no vote.

What about today’s China?

Six-hundred million rural Chinese are allowed to vote in local elections. Only Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members vote in national elections but at last count, there were more than 80 million CCP members; China’s leader—with limited powers—may only serve two five-year terms.

And China has its own form of an electoral college. The President of China is elected by the National People’s Congress [NPC] with 2,987 members [dramatically more than the Electoral College in the United States with its 538 electors]. The NPC also has the power to remove the President and other state officers from office. Elections and removals are decided by a simple majority vote.

There is another significant difference between China’s NPC and America’s Electoral College—members of China’s NPC are elected but members of America’s Electoral College are appointed. This process varies from state to state. Usually, political parties nominate electors at their state conventions. Sometimes that process occurs by a vote of the U.S. party’s central committee. The electors are usually state-elected officials, party leaders, or people with a strong affiliation with the presidential candidates. This means that the American people have no say when those hand-picked 538 electors decide who the next U.S. President will be.

Then there is this fact: China’s culture is influenced by Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism — not Christianity, Islam or Judaism — and all three of these Asian religions/philosophies emphasizes harmony with little or no focus on individual rights as practiced in Europe and North America. Knowing that, it is highly likely that Sun Yat-sen would have supported some form of censorship over individuals in China when too much freedom of expression threatened the nation’s harmony.

But the pressure on China to become a democracy is for China to copy the United States with no consideration for its history and unique cultural differences. I wonder why.

Return to Part 2 or start with Part 1

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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What would a Republic in China Look Like? Part 2 of 3

August 10, 2016

Sun Yat-sen [1866 – 1925] was considered the father of China’s republic both on the mainland and Taiwan, and he was introduced to the United States in 1882 when he attended a Christian school in Hawaii. That experience exposed him to American politics, and later he wrote that he wanted to model China’s government after America but by combining Western thought with Chinese tradition.

To learn about the United States that Sun Yat-sen discovered, we must step back in time and examine America’s political structure then.

William P. Meyers.org says, “After the British were defeated a centralized, national government was seen by George Washington and company not as a method of extending freedom and the right to vote, but as a way of keeping control in the hands of rich. They wrote several anti-democratic provisions into the U.S. Constitution. Slavery was institutionalized. The Senate was not to be elected directly by the people; rather Senators were to be appointed by state legislatures. The President was not to be directly elected by the voters, but elected through an electoral college. The Supreme Court was to be appointed. Only the House of Representatives was elected directly.”

But by 1920, five years before Sun died, the right to vote was extended to women in the United States in both state and federal elections, but where was Sun Yat-sen when this happened? He was in China leading a rebellion and struggling to build a multi-party republic that included the Communist and Nationalist parties, and his ideas of what a republic would look like in China had formed decades before women got the vote in the U.S.

The political climate that existed in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries will show us what Sun learned about politics in America. For instance, there was the Chinese Exclusion Act passed by Congress in the spring of 1882 that was still in force. It wouldn’t be until 1942, years after Sun’s death, that the act would be repealed.

In addition, in 1922, the US Supreme Court ruled that people of Japanese heritage could not become naturalized citizens. The following year the Supreme Court ruled that Asian Indians also could not become citizens, and the law that barred Native American’s from voting wasn’t removed until 1947.

How about the way children were treated in the United States?

Well, children could be sold into slavery by their parents and end up working in factories, coal mines and even whore houses as young as seven. It wouldn’t be until 1938 that a federal law stopped this form of child slavery in the United States. America’s Civil War [1861 – 1865] may have ended black slavery but it didn’t free women and children of any race, and the Equal Rights Amendment has still not passed.

Continued with Part 3 on August 11, 2016 or start with Part 1

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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What would a Republic in China Look Like? Part 1 of 3

August 9, 2016

The mainland Chinese have many choices to choose from when it comes to a democracy. They could copy the first democracy in Athens, but the Athenian democracy had slavery and women couldn’t vote. In the 4th and 5th century BC, all male citizens (about 40,000 to 60,000) in Athens had equal political rights, freedom of speech, and the opportunity to participle directly in the political arena, but women, slaves (as many as 80,000) and foreign residents were excluded.  – Athenian Democracy: a brief overview

What about the United States at its birth as a republic? Well, only white men who owned property and were not Jews were allowed to vote. That was about 10 percent of the population, and in 1790 there were 697,897 slaves in America. – Slave Population of United States: 1790 – 1860

Around that time, the U.S. resident population in 1790 was about 3.9 million. If we subtract the slaves, that leaves 3.2 million meaning that about 300,000 men were allowed to vote.

There are 192 countries in the world and only 123 (or 64 percent) are considered democracies, but China is often criticized the most for not being what is considered a democracy. Why aren’t the other 68 countries that are not democracies criticized: for instance, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Uganda, Rwanda, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan – maybe it is because these authoritarian regimes are all supported by the United States but mainland China isn’t?

However, China might already be a democratic republic, because few if any outside of China considers that the political structure of today’s China might be closer to Sun Yat-sen’s vision than the democracy we find in the United States. After all, Sun Yat-sen is considered the father of China’s republic by both Taiwan and Beijing. In fact, mainland China, ruled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), may offer the Chinese people more of a voice than the republic Sun Yat-sen was building before his death.

Continued with Part 2 on August 10, 2016

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

For August 2016 Promotion

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A Snapshot of Democracy in Asia – Part 1/6

September 27, 2011

The partnership between capitalism and multi-party democracies in Asia is a joy to behold.

After spending hours researching Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, India and Taiwan, I understand why the West and America, in particular, keep pressuring mainland China to allow democracy to flourish.

The best way to discover what would happen to China if it were to become a parliamentary multi-party democracy is to look at the Asian democracies surrounding it, and we start with Japan.

In 2009, the Guardian said of Japan, “After more than 50 years of almost uninterrupted power, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has been buried in a general election. Once before, in 1993, change came when a coalition of opposition parties briefly took power, but the LDP still held on to a majority in the Diet’s powerful lower house. This time … the center-left Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) took more than 300 of 480 seats in the lower house. The LDP rules no more.”

The Guardian says the DPJ, which ended the five-decade rule of the LDP, was “funded to some degree by the US, (and) was put in place to marginalize all left-wing opposition. This involved some strong-arm tactics, especially against the unions…”

The trail of corruption in Japan is long.

Werner Pacha’s study of Corruption in Japan from an Economist’s Perspective says, “Ccorruption can quite simply be understood as the use of public office for private gains.”

Then Pacha reveals a series of scandals starting with the 1954 Shipbuilding Scandal, which contributed to the collapse of the Yoshida cabinet sending one person to prison of the 71 arrested.

Then there was the Lockheed Scandal of 1976, resulting in the arrest of Prime Minister Tanaka for having received payments from Lockheed (an American defense contractor) of about 500 million Yen.

In 1988-89, there was the Recruit Scandal, which concluded with the resignation of Prime Minister Takeshita on April 1989.

In 1991, the Kyôwa Affair, another scandal, included former Prime Minister Suzuki and Kyôwa, a steel-girder construction firm.

Briefly, there followed the Sagawa Kyûbin Scandal of 1991-1993, the Tax Evasion Scandal of 1993,  the Genecon Corruption Scandal of 1993, the Sôkaiya Scandals of 1997, and the 1996 – 1998 Scandals within the Elite Bureaucracy.

The CIA (in 2007) reported that 15.7 percent of the people in Japan lived below the poverty line. In comparison, only 2.8 (in 2007) percent of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) live below the poverty line.

According to a chart on page 7 of his study, Pacha reveals that the multi-party democratic Republic of (South) Korea (RoK) is worse than Japan. South Korea’s democracy snapshot will appear tomorrow.

Continued on September 28, 2011 in A Snapshot of Democracy in Asia – Part 2

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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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Considering China as a Democracy – Part 2/3

April 5, 2011

In Part 1, we discovered what happened to India as a multi-party parliamentary democracy.

What does US history teach us?  Since Independence, the US has had several financial crises leading to severe unemployment and economic hardships for many.  The US suffered through financial/economic depressions in 1807, 1837, 1873, 1893, 1929-1939 (known as the Great Depression). Source: San Jose State University Department of Economics

Then there was the recent 2008 global financial crises leading to about 64 trillion dollars in global losses and tens of millions of lost jobs (9 million in the US and about 20 million in China alone).

This global financial collapse had its start in the world’s most powerful democracy and could have been avoided.

Although there have been many predictions in the West that China’s economy will collapse, that hasn’t materialized yet as it has in the US several times.

In fact, soon after the 2008 global financial crises hit, China put the unemployed back to work while importing goods from other nations helping to support those economies to survive the crises.

As The Damned clearly shows, democracy doesn’t always work, and Abraham Lincoln was a tyrant, who plunged the US into the bloodiest war of its history.

This happened again in Vietnam under President Johnson and in Iraq under President G. W. Bush

For example, after the Qing Dynasty collapsed in 1911, instead of an orderly republic replacing it as Sun Yat-sen hoped, China fractured with warlords fighting each other in every province.

Then in 1926, Chiang Kai-shek’s distrust of the Communist Party led to decades of Civil War (1926 – 1949) and unrest instead of cooperation between the two founding parties of Sun Yat-sen’s fledgling republic — the Communist and Nationalist parties.

In Part 3, we will learn from Chinese history and the US today.

Return to Considering China as a Democracy – Part 1

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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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Considering China as a Democracy – Part 1/3

April 4, 2011

Using history, the US and India as examples of what democracy offers may show what might happen in China if it were to become a multi-party republic with a democratic political system.

India became a democracy in 1947, and more than 60 years later, about 40% of the population is still illiterate and lives in severe poverty due to political gridlock and government corruption, while the CIA reports that only 2 1/2 percent of Chinese live in similar poverty today.

For India, that’s 400 million people while China has 33 million living in severe poverty mostly in remote and rugged areas of China.

Thirty years ago, about sixty percent of Chinese lived in severe poverty. When Mao ruled China (1949-1976), 30 to 40 million died from famines. No one has died from famine since Mao’s death.

However, in 2009, the Times of India reported that India tops world hunger chart. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) reported some staggering figures. More than 27% of the world’s undernourished population lives in India while 43% of children (under 5 years) in the country are underweight. The figure is among the highest in the world…

In India, which has a democratic parliamentary political system, there are six recognized national parties and more than forty recognized state parties. Source: Wikipedia

While China’s one political party has managed to almost end poverty and boost literacy from 20 to more than 90% in thirty years, India’s many-party democracy has failed.

In Part 2, we will see why China may not survive to become a successful democracy if US history is an indication of what the future holds.

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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.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


The “Turkish Solution” Applies to China

March 17, 2011

I read an interesting post at Pajamas Media written by Stephen Green.

In Egypt Should Employ the ‘Turkish Solution’, Green explains what confuses many in the West and especially Americans.

The gulf between American beliefs and the reality of the developing world is often wide and foggy.

In fact, the average American cannot understand why the rest of the world isn’t up in arms demanding democracy such as the one that exists in the US today.

It is as if the average American is ignorant of their history, which is probably true.

In 1776, the United States was not what it is today. Many act as if all it takes is to flip a switch and the citizens of any country may form a democracy similar to those in Europe and North America without consideration that it took more than two centuries for the US to evolve from a republic into the democracy it is today.

That’s why Stephen Green’s “Turkish Solution” is worth reading.

The United States started with leaders such as George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.  No other country applied pressure on the US to become a republic. It was an internal decision.

Like Atatürk, the father of Turkey’s Republic, Deng Xiaoping was the father of China’s current one party republic. Under his guidance, China wrote a new Constitution in 1982 setting term and age limits for officials serving in the Communist Party, which has more than 70 million members.

Today in China, decisions are made by consensus and not by one man as they were under Mao’s leadership for twenty-six years and China is building a legal system that did not exist 30 years ago.

In the early 1980s, China also embarked on a goal of improving education and raising literacy to well above 90%. That goal has not been reached yet but China is close to achieving it.

Deng Xiaoping was correct in 1989 when he said China wasn’t ready to become a democracy.

In 1976 when Mao died, 80% of China’s population could not read yet literacy is vital to the success of a democracy.

Ignorant citizens do not make good decisions when they vote.

The next challenge China faces is to find leaders with the vision of a Washington, Atatürk or Deng Xiaoping.

Democracy is not born from outside pressure. It must come from inside China as it did for America and Turkey and it is best if democracy arrives peacefully and not on oceans of blood.

China has already had its century of madness where it was bathed in blood. Enough is enough.

Discover Dictatorship Defined

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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.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.