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.

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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.


Liu Xiaobo’s Manifesto, Charter 08 – Part 2/3

December 18, 2010

If you read the demands of Liu Xiaobo’s Manifesto, you will know that he wants China to become a mirror image of the democracy that exists in the US, which even America’s Founding Fathers were against since the men who founded the US Republic in the late 18th century believed democracy led to mob rule and chaos, which is true.

If China were to implement the reforms Liu Xiaobo calls for in his Manifesto, most of the work China’s centeral government has accomplished in the last thirty years to improve literacy and the lifestyles of the Chinese would end and possibly be reversed.

What Liu Xiaobo did with his Manifesto is illegal in China and he had to know it.  All schoolchildren in China are taught the meaning of China’s 1982 Constitution, which opened doors to more freedom than most Chinese had ever experienced before.

There are three articles in China’s 1982 Constitution, which explain why Liu Xiaobo went to prison.

However, most in the West have no clue.

From China’s 1982 Constitution:

Article 51 — 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, of society and of the collective, or upon the lawful freedoms and rights of other citizens.

Article 53 — Citizens of the People’s Republic of China must abide by the constitution and the law, keep state secrets, protect public property and observe labour discipline and public order and respect social ethics.

Article 54 — It is the duty of citizens of the People’s Republic of China to safeguard the security, honour and interests of the motherland; they must not commit acts detrimental to the security, honour and interests of the motherland.

Prior to December 2008, Liu Xiaobo gathered 350 signatures of Chinese intellectuals and human rights activist to promote his ideas of political reform and democratization in the PRC.

Liu Xiaobo’s manifesto was published on December 10, 2008. Since then, more than 10,000 people inside and outside China signed Liu Xiaobo’s manifesto.

I live in the US in California.

In California, we have a process to get an initiative on the ballot to change the laws in California. 

However, in the U.S. currently, less than half the states permit the initiative process.

In California, Ballot.org says the number of qualified signatures needed is 433,971 for a statutory initiative and 694,354 for a constitutional amendment, which is what Liu Xiaobo and his supporters are calling for in China where there is no initiative process.

California has more than 37 million people. China has more than 1.3 billion.

 In 1949, when the Communists won the Civil War, most of China lived lifestyles similar to Europe’s Dark Ages. However, since the early 1980s, the standard of living and the literacy level in China has continued to improve at an impressive rate for about three decades.

Why does Liu Xiaobo want to change something that still works? In Part 3, you will learn something about Liu Xiaobo and what he believes.

Return to Liu Xiaobo’s Manifesto, Charter 08 – Part 1 or go to Part 3

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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.


Democratic Confucianism

May 22, 2010

I heard from a reliable source that the Communist Party had been moving cautiously toward implementing a form of democracy  systematically just as they have  done to build the highly successful market economy that is driving China’s prosperity today.

Then in 2008, the last year of the G.W. Bush presidency, lack of government oversight and greed from Wall Street and American banks almost crashed the world economically and China’s leaders reeled in shock—cancelling their plans.

I read Moving China Toward Democracy: A Confucian Framework written by Kyle Baxter.  It is a thoughtful piece. If Baxter’s ideas will work is still to be determined.

What has been the cornerstone of most Chinese governments has been a form of Legalism, with its harsh punishments.

If Confucianism were to be the bedrock of  a democratic government in China, China’s critics in the West would have nothing to complain about. 

China has never really adopted Confucian principles for political rule. Since Confucianism values individual rights along with family values, this transition would pave the way for China to retain its cultural identity and join the world as a democratic partner.

Deng Xiaoping

Deng Xiaoping said it best, “It doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.”

See the Influence of Confucius

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart. He also Blogs at The Soulful Veteran and Crazy Normal.

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