Virtually the entire focus of Western "democracy" is the primitive psychic attraction of applying law-of-the-jungle conflict theory to participation in a national team sport, one unfortunately infused with a shallow Christian morality that permits us to blindly view this simian conflict in theological terms.
These essays are written equally for my friends in China who need a more complete understanding of Western values and attitudes to help counter US imperialism, and for Westerners who, strangely, need a clearer understanding of their own systems and values.
For the benefit of readers, I would like to restate my circumstance. I am a foreigner (Canadian) who has been living in Shanghai for some years now. This is not my country, and I do not have a defense contract with it.
My editorials are written to dispel mis-statements and twisted observations about China - often outright falsehoods - all for cheap political gain. The range of incorrect, misleading, or merely stupid, comments about this country is staggering.
China is in fact a fine country. For sure there are growing pains and difficult strategic decisions to make, since China is largely travelling uncharted waters. But the constant references to 'repression', 'brutality', or 'dictatorship', are really just nonsense.
The fact that a nation has a different form of government is not in itself a reason to propagate distrust and hatred. And we don't need the constant presumptive references proclaiming the superiority of the (usually) American system.
Many of the articles in this series deal with the 'democratic' process as it really is - the politics and the government - to strip away the envelope of ideology and jingoism, and open these topics to the harsh scrutiny they have for so long been lacking.
And perhaps worst of all is the almost unbearable hypocrisy of the Western countries.
The US organised the largest regime of torture facilities in modern memory - secret prisons and prison ships all over the world - confining and torturing countless tens of thousands of mostly, or even entirely, innocent people, then has the audacity to pretend to the high moral ground and preach to China about 'human rights' violations.
Canada exports vast amounts of asbestos to poor countries, knowing from bitter local experience the devastating diseases that mineral causes, but preaches to China about melamine in dog food.
Britain, the tail so grateful to have a dog, forcibly inflicted opium upon China for more than 100 years, eviscerating the social order and devastating the country, setting back China's development by perhaps 75 years, then has the gall to preach to the Chinese people about moral rights and freedoms.
This is a series of brief East-West essays that will number 30+ in all, generally focused on government systems, 'democracy and freedoms', and on the attending social and cultural differences that may help to expand appreciation of our new multi-polar world.
These essays are partly defensive in nature, in that China has been badly (and deliberately) misrepresented in the West, by governments and media alike, so that many Westerners have a rather twisted and surely incomplete image of China today.
They are also partly aggressive in nature, in that many of the West's institutions and values are arguably inferior to those of China, and we present these as a counterpoint to Western imperialist arguments that it is China who should change.
As well, many Western institutions and values have grave shortcomings which are either ignored by Westerners or are buried under layers of propaganda and seldom seen for what they really are.
I don't expect you to accept everything you read here, at least not the first time you read it.
Having been raised in a Western democratic political environment, you have been well-infused with a conviction that your way, even with the occasional flaw, is the right way, the only way, the way God intended when He designed the Universe.
You are likely one of those people who believes (without justification, but still . .) that all nations aspire to your superior and enlightened form of government, and that as these nations develop they will naturally gravitate toward that which you hold to be true - that your form of Western multi-party democracy represents the pinnacle of civilisation.
Given all this, if you read my comments and say, "Gee, he's right. Democracy sucks.", you are simply proving that you are either too young to be permitted outdoors without your mother, or too impressionable and gullible to be trustworthy. Perhaps both.
For those of us who grew up in a Western political environment, any progress in even questioning - much less changing - our political ideology, normally requires multiple exposures over an extended time - preferably while removed from the 'democratic' context - in effect, being able to 'step out of the painting' in an attempt to view it with greater clarity.
The best we can do for a first read is to ask that you try to approach all of this with an open mind, to put aside your prejudices, your pre-conceived notions of how things are, and open your beliefs to sincere interrogation.
If your beliefs are as well-founded as you imagine, you will suffer no loss. If not, what you do with this, is up to you.