A form of Restricted Democracy still exists in China at the Village Level

November 7, 2018

This may come as a surprise to many outside of China, but China is not a totalitarian country with an all-powerful dictator.  Simply put, China has an autocratic government that operates as a limited republic with a Constitution that fits China at this time, and individual freedom takes a distant back seat to harmony and improving the quality of life for the majority of Chinese.

China’s Approach to Social Harmony

New Politics says, “Elections of Village Committees and Village Leaders in China’s approximately 950,000 villages began in 1989 as part of a wider village self-government movement. The Village Committee and Village Leader are entrusted with managing the public affairs of the village. This includes managing any collective enterprises including land (the use of which is most frequently subcontracted out to villagers), building and repairing roads, maintaining public security, administering family planning issues, and helping the village to develop economically, socially, and environmentally.”

The Organic Law of Village Committees in rural China was enacted 1987 and implemented in 1988, allowing for direct election of village chiefs instead of being appointed by the township government.

In the beginning, these rural village elections might have been an experiment to see if this type of democracy worked in China, but with the election of Donald Trump in the U.S., any chance of China becoming more democratic probably died a necessary death.

One thing China doesn’t want to see happen is to lose all the gains erased by a president like Donald Trump who is allegedly illegally dismantling every progressive gain the United States made since 1900 and attempting to influence and control the federal judicial system through the U.S. Department of Justice.

In China, the Local People’s Congress at each administrative level, other than the village level in rural areas, hold direct elections, and elects candidates for executive positions at that level of government.

Governors, mayors, and heads of counties, districts, townships and towns are in turn elected by the respective local People’s Congresses Presidents of people’s courts and chief procurators of people’s procuratorates are elected by the respective local People’s Congresses above the county level. The President and the State Council are elected by the National People’s Congress, which is made of 2,987 delegates.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has almost 90-million voting members, and 22.3-million are women. This makes the CCP the largest political party in the world.

Although the CCP controls the government because it holds the majority of votes, and decisions in China are made by consensus, China is not a pure one-party state. There are approved independent parties that belong to the United Front. For instance, in 2012-2013, eight hundred and thirty members of the 2,987 in National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China were members of the independents that belong to the United Front.

Under the CCP, what are two major examples that China has accomplished since Mao died in 1976?

In 2017, The World Bank reported, “The world as a whole has made impressive strides on poverty reduction. Since 1990 in fact, nearly 1.1 billion people have moved out of extreme poverty, which means that the number of people living on 1 dollar and 90 cents per day, or less, has reduced dramatically. …

“In China alone, nearly 800 million people (from the global 1.1 billion) have escaped poverty since the 1980s.”

In the last fifteen years, China reached 27,000 km (17,000 mi) in total length, accounting for about two-thirds of the world’s high-speed rail (HSR) tracks in commercial service. The HSR building boom continues with the HSR network set to reach 38,000 km (24,000 mi) in 2025.

Why doesn’t the United States, a country being torn apart by Partisanship and Donald Trump, have high-speed bullet trains like Europe and China?

Partisanship does not affect China’s autocratic republic. In China, there is no faction with the power to block the decisions of the majority like the elected Freedom Caucus in the United States made up of about three dozen tea-party people.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Seeking Harmony versus the Search for Happiness

November 15, 2017

The Search for Happiness in bold white print was splashed across the cover of my November 2017 issue of National Geographic Magazine.  In the United States, it has been my perception that the search for happiness sends many people to places like Disneyland or out to eat something that is horrible for their long term health. Maybe buying that type of happiness explains why more than 70-percent of Americans are fat or obese. In other words, when feeling depressed, spend money and while out shopping, walk around texting your friends nonstop until you run into a tree or bounce off other pedestrians because you weren’t paying attention to what was going on around you.

I think this type of thinking is one reason why the U.S. child prodigy Grace VanderWaal wrote and sang “So Much More Than This”.

Like Grace VanderWaal says in her song, “Close your phone and breathe in the air. You’ll soon realize that there’s something that is so much more than this …”

Money will buy fleeting happiness but unless you have an endless supply of money to keep buying that happiness, it will not last long. That’s why I think buying happiness is the same as being addicted to cocaine and heroin. The withdrawal symptoms when the money dries up are agonizing.

What does harmony mean to many in China and can harmony lead to a more stable form of happiness?


In China, harmony plays an important role in everyday life. Cultural etiquette among Chinese revolves around harmony as Confucius taught. Confucianism still plays an important role in Chinese society. It is a system of ethics and conduct, the obligations of people toward each other based on their relationships.

Even the way the government in China does business is governed by the same principals. As much as most Americans and Europeans seem incapable of understanding China, the Chinese often see foreigners as barbaric when they do not behave properly according to Chinese standards.

Understanding cultural differences is a two-way street.

For instance, several years ago, after dinner with guests one night, I got up to wash dishes at the sink while Anchee and our daughter were still eating. Anchee later explained that when we have Chinese guests it is impolite to do that since it signals to the guests that it is time to leave. Her advice, “Soak the dishes and leave them until the guests go.”

Discover The Return of Confucious

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline