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Let's Look at Government and Politics

Comparing China and the West

Part I - Let's Look at China's Government
  • A bit of Background
  • How to Become a Politician or Civil Servant in China
  • Developing Better Politicians and Civil Servants
  • The Chinese View of Western Poltics
  • The Chinese are not Interested in Poltics
  • Understanding China and Chinese Culture
  • The Selection of China's Government Leaders
  • China's "Rubber-Stamp" Parliament
  • The "Loyal Opposition"
  • Government Operation
  • The Jasmine Syndrome - Let's Revolt Anyway
  • An Historical Note of Some Consequence
  • I know what is Best for You - You should be like Me
  • What's Good for America is Good for the World
  • Freedom and Democracy. My Way or the Highway
  • Maybe you Don't Understand China at all.
  • I'm Free! I'm Free!
  • A Great Idea. Let's all Mind Our Own Business
  • Let's Meet Some Real People
  • A bit of Background

  • You probably already know that China has a system of annual university entrance examinations, taken by about 10 million students each year. This set of examinations is quite stiff and perhaps even harsh, covering many subjects and occupying three days. The tests require broad understanding, deep knowledge and high intelligence, if one is to do well.

    Any student whose results are near the top of the list, is in the top 2% or 3% of a pool of 1.5 billion people.

    Getting a high mark qualifies a student to enter one of the top two or three universities, which will virtually guarantee a great job on graduation, a high salary and a good life. Moving down the scale of results, the prospects become increasingly meager.

    You may not know that China also has a system of bar examinations which every graduate lawyer must pass in order to practice law in China.

    For these, we can bypass "stiff" and "harsh" and go directly to "severe". Out of about 250,000 graduate lawyers who sit for the exam, only about 20,000 will pass and obtain qualifications to actually be a practicing lawyer in China.

    Once again, the exams require broad understanding of all matters legal, deep knowledge of the laws, and high intelligence.

    So if you happen to meet a Chinese lawyer, you can be assured you are dealing with someone from top 2% or 3% of a pool of 1.5 billion people.

    I mention these two items only to introduce a third - the Civil Service Examinations.

  • How to Become a Politician or Civil Servant in China

  • The Imperial examination was a system in Imperial China designed many centuries ago to select the best administrative officials for the state's bureaucracy. The examinations lasted as long as 72 hours, and once again a great depth and breadth of knowledge was necessary to pass.

    It was an eminently fair system in that the exam itself had no qualifications. Almost anyone, even from the least educated family in the poorest town, could sit the exam and, if that person did well enough, he or she could join the civil service and potentially rise to the top.

    The modern examination system for selecting civil service staff evolved from the imperial one, and today, millions of graduates write these Civil Service Examinations each year. And for these, we can bypass "severe" and go directly to "brutal", because out of the millions of candidates only about 10,000 will get a pass.

    And that pass doesn't get you a job; all it gets you is an interview. So, if you are dealing with anyone in China's central government, you can be assured that you are speaking to a person who is not only exceptionally well educated and knowledgeable on a broad range of national issues but is in the top 1% of a pool of 1.5 billion people.

    The point of this is to bring your attention to the disparity between civil servants and politicians in Western countries - in your own country, in fact - and those in China. The discrepancy is so vast that comparisons are largely meaningless.

    Civil Servants are not highly regarded anywhere in the West and, in all Western countries of my acquaintance, politicians are generally ranked somewhere below used-car salesmen in terms of respect, reputation, prestige, assessment of natural ability, and just plain honesty. Things are different in China.

    You may want to consider that the Chinese generally score about 10% higher on standard IQ tests than do Caucasian Westerners. When you couple this fact with the Chinese process of weeding out all but the top 1% from consideration, and add to that the prospect of doing your weeding from a pool of 1.5 billion people, you might expect the Chinese Central Government to be rather better qualified than that of most other countries. And it is.

  • Developing Better Politicians and Civil Servants in China

  • There is another factor to consider, that of education and training. In the West, senior civil servants can often be competent, politicians almost always much less so. And for the politicians, for those who have (and who exercise) the real decision power to shape a country, there is no education or training - only the kind of stumblebum learning-on-the-job that Canada's Stephen Harper has done, for one bad example.

    In China, those who will become the senior civil servants and 'politicians' (for lack of a better word) have entered a lifelong career in a formidable meritocracy where promotion and responsibility can be obtained only by demonstrated ability.

    There are some who will tell you that family connections in China can produce a "government job" for some favored son, and that may be true in some places though extremely difficult at the national level. But no amount of 'connections' will move you into senior positions or to the top of decision-making power; those places are reserved for persons of proven ability.

    Once in the system, the education and training are never-ending. There is a school in Beijing that has been called the most mysterious school in China, and that is the Central Party School - one like no other university or college in the country.

    Here is a link to an article on this university that will give you more information: Read here.

    At various times, the most promising young and middle-aged officials attend this university for up to a year at a time, to expand their knowledge and understanding of all issues relating to China. The Headmaster of the school is often the President of China, and the lecturers are usually foreign dignitaries, high-level officials, and renowned experts on everything from economics and international finance to social policy, foreign policy, industrial policy and even military matters.

    The cornerstone of the school's educational policy is that everything is on the table. There are no forbidden topics, and even reactionary, revolutionary or just plain whacky positions are discussed, analysed and debated to resolution.

    The group might, for example, receive lectures, information, statistics on China's population and social planning. The content would include opportunities, difficulties, potential problems and current government policy. It would include worker migration, urban-rural migratory trends, the hukou residence permit system, the country's one-child policy, social welfare programs and their costs, and many other relevant topics.

    All manner of planning, problems, solutions, alternatives, will be discussed, examined, debated, explained, with any number of prominent experts available as reference material. When these sessions are completed, all students will have an MBA-level or better appreciation of the entire subject. And this is only one subject of many they will encounter.

    When you consider that these officials entered the government with an already high level of education, and with an already demonstrated broad level of understanding and exceptional intelligence, these additional layers of training and education cannot help but produce an impressive level of overall knowledge and ability throughout the government.

    This is so true that China's national leaders - the inner circle, or the cabinet - often look to this group for recommendations and suggestions on government policy, for fresh advice and new ideas on dealing with current issues.

    It's worth noting that nothing like this system exists in the West. In fact the Western countries are where senior civil servants often look on their government leaders - the politicians - with disdain and sometimes undisguised contempt for their lack of knowledge and ability. Such an attitude is impossible in China.

    The system is generally well understood within China, and it meshes well with Chinese culture and tradition as well as conforming to the Chinese psyche in their Confucian overview and their desire for social order and (yes) harmony. The Western world understands this dimly, if at all, and inevitably forms incorrect and often absurd conclusions about China and its government.

  • The Chinese View of Western Poltics and Government

  • Most educated Chinese don't see the Western multi-party democratic model as particularly appealing because they don't look on politics (as Westerners do) as a team sport where everybody can play, where qualifications and credentials of both candidates and voters are irrelevant.

    The Chinese see the West as having a system where anyone, even a person with no education, training, knowledge, experience, ability, or even intelligence, can rise to become the President or Prime Minister, and where high government office requires no credentials other than popularity. They look on this with an interesting mixture of disbelief and disdain.

    They are also aware that a multi-party system requires the forcible division of a society into ideologically different groups with very different interests. China has no such divisions in its society, and the fundamental culture would mitigate against such divisions since they would of necessity lead to conflict and biased ideological agendas, disregarding the good of the country as a whole.

    Many Chinese see clearly that the US style of multi-party democracy is a social division between the Pacifists and Socialists on one hand, and the Corporatists and War-Mongers on the other. Divisions of this kind are anathema to the Chinese, as they should be to us Westerners.

    One Chinese wrote that, "The only "American" freedoms the Chinese lack are the ability every four years to choose leaders from a couple of corrupted vested interests backed by an oligarchy of fat-cat business interests. And after they're elected, the freedom to call them corrupted self-serving idiots."

    As we've noted elsewhere, the number of Chinese citizens interested in the US-style of multi-party democracy is about the same as the number of Americans interested in communism.

  • The Chinese are not Interested in Government and Poltics

  • Government, political parties, and the corresponding ideologies color much of Western society and thought, and many people are active in politics or at least have strong opinions on these matters.

    By contrast, Westerners often observe that the Chinese people are apolitical or even apathetic, having no interest in politics or government. This may be true in a superficial sense but it reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the Chinese system.

    The Chinese are not typically attracted or tempted by the prospect of "Political Power". They want stability, and a chance to improve their lives. So long as the government is able to create an environment that offers hope and a stable platform for improvement, they have little interest in the functioning of the government and are happy to leave it to those who are in charge.

    The Chinese people have a much more mature and realistic attitude toward government than do people in the West. They do not delude themselves into believing that running a country is as simple as ordinary Western people think it is.

    They are aware that having political power necessarily means the assumption of great responsibility. They know it requires a high level of expertise to understand and deal with issues of social policy, population, international trade and finance, the national and international economy, the nation's industrial policy, foreign policy, military matters, border disputes, friction with US imperialism, and dozens more major and serious topics.

    And, in the end, most Chinese don't feel they have the knowledge or experience to affect the course of their country in any positive way - and of course they are correct. They recognise that their government officials have committed their lives to education and training in the art and science of managing and leading not only a country but a society, and they are simply (and justifiably) aware of their own personal shortcomings.

    In China, going into politics is a career, a commitment that ascertains one's full participation in public governance. Once one is in the political mechanism, he or she is encouraged to contribute fresh ideas to be collectively discussed.

    Those not in the professional fields of political governance are not encouraged to push their ideas - very much like a group of unqualified persons forcing their way to start pushing buttons in nuclear reactors. This is not wrong, and actually seems a rather more intelligent and realistic way of thinking about government.

    This is China's current system and the Chinese believe no other nations have the right to interfere, just as China has no right to interfere with other nations.

    It is due to all of this that the Chinese people are generally not politically active, in the same sense that people working in an auto factory would not agitate for the "right" to take control of an advertising agency or be appointed to the management of the nation's space program. They don't know anything about that; they have no qualifications for those responsibilities and are content to leave the work to those who do have them.

  • Understanding China and Chinese Culture

  • Readers should be aware that culture and tradition in China are very different from the West, and understanding this is not easy. Westerners were born into a Judeo-Christian, Right-Wing, black-and-white, individualistic world. The Chinese were born into a Confucian, social, shades-of-grey, pluralistic world. We cannot use Western measures to understand China any more than we can use liters to measure distance.

    One observation on the fundamental differences between China and the West is a question of values. Chinese people value a society of peace, harmony and social stability more than they do freedom of information or personal liberty. In the west it's just the opposite.

    It should be apparent that the Chinese will continue to be willing to surrender more of their private rights to the government than Westerners would like to do. As a result, some Westerners may genuinely feel that the Chinese are shortchanged by their government, while the Chinese feel that the Westerners are fussing over nothing.

    This may be disappointing, but the Chinese don't want to be like you. They want to be like them. And the Chinese don't like foreigners meddling in their internal affairs. They believe they see themselves and their shortcomings much more clearly than you do, and they believe they can solve their own problems in their own way and time. And that for sure they don't need the US to "guide" them.

    It is of great importance to appreciate that China is a pluralistic society. The West doesn't understand this, and may never understand. The Chinese don't like conflict; they like harmony. Because they are not so individualistic, they don't treasure the idea of winners and losers; they want a consensus that everyone can live with.

    That's why China sometimes drags out border disputes for decades; they wait patienly until everyone is in a mood to agree - and they often make large concessions in the name of harmony.

    The Western world, led by the Right-Wing countries - the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, France - are individualistic societies. In the US especially, the entire social system - the laws and courts, all commerce, politics, sport - is based on competition and conflict. In these societies, we don't have negotiation; we have winners and losers, and the political system is a perfect example of this. It really is little more than a team sport.

    The Chinese don't see this as the best way to manage a country or a society.

  • The Selection of China's Government Leaders

  • In the West, the form of China's government is poorly, if at all, understood. Whatever people imagine when they think of China's government, it is sure to be incorrect.

    China has a one-party democracy. That may seem like a contradiction, but it isn't. Here, there is no forced separation of the population on the basis of political ideology. The whole ideological spectrum is represented in government just as it is in our societies as a whole.

    There are huge advantages to this. There is no partisan in-fighting; the system operates on harmony rather than conflict. Government decision-making is not a sport where my team has to win. It is simply a group of people with various viewpoints working together to obtain a consensus for policy and action.

    From everything I have seen, China's one-party system is far superior to what we have in the West. That is what has produced a growth rate of over 10% per year for 30 years, compared to 3% or sometimes 4% that any Western country has been able to manage. And that's because the government doesn't spend all its time fighting with opposition parties, but instead just getting down to business and trying to do the best for the whole country.

    In this system, the leaders are elected by their peers, and officials are appointed through a long process of successive delegate selection. It is the only government system in the world that ensures competence at the top, because the leaders and government members are selected on the basis of real credentials instead of how they look on TV. In China's system, it is impossible for an idiot to become President.

    It is one of those inconvenient truths that the average 'man in the street' is simply not competent to select leaders at the highest levels. No insult to us average people, but we don't have the experience or ability to make these judgments. China's solution is to utilise a series of successive delegate selection that appears to function quite well. Groups of 500 average people select a delegate to represent them at the next selection level, and those selected in turn do the same. The process repeats as often as necessary to reach the highest levels, at which the finalists are selected by a group of their peers.

    This is a fascinating procedure because at each stage there is no benefit to anyone to 'campaign' for selection as a delegate. It is not a job, it offers no pay, and is only a small and temporary honor. If selected, you give a bit of your time to select in turn a delegate for the next level and then go home because your job is done. No matter how badly you might like to be selected, and there is no reason you should want to be, there is no inducement you can offer the voters because you will have no power. In fact, they are delegating you for only one thing - make an intelligent choice on their behalf.

    At each successive level the credentials are higher, but in each case delegates are selecting individuals within reach of their own level, where they still retain competence to do so.

    Anyone reaching the final stage will have the highest and most complete set of credentials available of the entire population of 1.5 billion people. And then the leaders will be selected on the basis of true leadership, on their ability to bring together all the various positions or factions, their ability to create harmony and consensus, on their realisable vision for the country, to wisely control and direct the military.

    These finalists will have true understanding of the economy, of economic development, of the country, its society and its problems and the best way to meet them.

    In China's system of government, it is impossible to elect an idiot as leader because in a population of 1.5 billion people there are just too many available candidates with stunningly impressive credentials.

    Consider how it would be if a Western country could identify the 300 best, brightest, wisest, uncorruptible, most educated, most experienced people in the country, men and women of great proportion whose depth and breadth of knowledge and ability were the envy of all. And consider those people voting for one of their group to be their leader - the Prime Minister.

    Wouldn't that be better than what they have now? For sure Canada would never become saddled with a Harper or a Chretien, under that system. And if Canada were being governed by the 300 absolute best people on Canadian earth, it might actually have a good government and a better country.

    And, by the way, that's how China chooses its President and Prime Minister.

    Not only that, these people have powerful and charismatic personalities, not only admired and respected by their peers, but able to draw others to them in order to form that consensus and harmony that are so desirable and necessary for stability.

    These people manage by consensus, not by power, authority or bullying. It is their job to create agreement and unified willing participation in the country's policies to meet its goals. At this level there are no children, and there is no one person with excessive power to, for example, start a war just because he personally doesn't like Saddam Hussein or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. There is no one person who can, as Canada's Stephen Harper did, choose to alienate another country and offend all its population just on the basis of blind personal ideology.

  • China's "Rubber-Stamp" Parliament

  • This is a curious thing. The US government and media as epitomised by the NYT, followed closely by the UK and its Right-Wing lapdog the Economist, love to use disparaging and even contemptuous adjectives to describe anyone not currently in favor.

    For the US presidential and congressional elections we have "candidates", but China's up-and-coming leaders and officials are "princelings". Cute. The US, and even Nauru (the tiny Pacific island composed entirely of bird guano) have a "government", but China has a "regime".

    The US, Israel, and all countries with US-installed dictators, have "Presidents", but countries out of favor have a "strongman" at the helm. The list of dirty adjectives is endless, illustrative of the small ways these enlightened democracies have of disparaging those unwilling to be colonised or to succumb to US hegemony. The words incite bigotry, racism, blind jingoism, and even create a public willingness for yet another "War of Liberation".

    China's "Rubber-Stamp" Parliament falls very much into this category. Here is an extract from a 2010 article in London's Sunday Times:

    "When deputies gather in the ornate meeting rooms of the Great Hall of the People, they demonstrate little willingness to engage in hard-hitting discussion of the hot issues of the day — housing, inflation or job opportunities. It is not for nothing that the National People’s Congress is described by such fitting clichés as "rubber stamp" and "ceremonial"."

    You would almost have to think this was a joke, but the Times went on to tell us about some of the "hot issues of the day" that China's parliament demonstrated "little willingness to dicuss":

    "One woman submitted a proposal to ban all private internet cafés. Other suggestions have included a call to prohibit the national anthem as a mobile phone ring tone, and another for a law demanding husbands pay salaries to their wives for the housework."

    Shame on China's parliament for their unwillingness to "engage in hard-hitting discussion" of these "hot issues".

    Westerners are accustomed to the pompous, fractious, and often juvenile, debates occurring in their various respective parliaments. In Australia and Korea, the "hard-hitting discussions" are literally that, since the elected members often come to blows, or hurl books and furniture at each other. In the US, one senator was on record as referring to an opposition member as "just a chicken-shit thief"; presumably he was enraptured by one of the "hot issues of the day".

    The mere absence of this kind of immature stupidity in China's parliament is used as proof of its ceremonial and rubber-stamp status, implying that the real power lies elsewhere. But that's just a dishonest accusation by those who wish simply to dirty China's image in the world.

    China's annual sessions of parliament occur in Beijing with meetings of almost 3,000 deputies and advisors who represent China's 1.4 billion people. To suggest that crucial issues are not addressed is nonsense; China's system is simply different from that of Western countries, and that difference is arguably far superior.

    Once again, it is important to understand that China is a pluralistic society, very unlike the US and most of the West. Unlike the US (as the best (or worst) example), the Chinese do not seek out conflict. They discuss and debate as much as anyone, but they are seeking consensus, harmony and agreement, and a decision as to what is in the long-term best interests of the country as a whole.

    The government officials, the representatives, the "politicians", are not there to create a "TV moment", nor to garner votes at the expense of another, nor to perform publicly for the benefit of an audience - a claim that nobody can make about any Western government. They are there to decide serious issues facing the country.

    The discussions, the debates, the critical examination of all aspects of issues, are done by many people in many groups until a consensus emerges. It is probably true that many of these discussions are intense, perhaps even heated, but unlike the US, the Chinese prefer to not hysterically hang out their dirty linen for the world to see. Family arguments are kept inside the home where they belong, with a unified face presented to the neighbors. China cannot be faulted for that.

    By the time the issues are finally presented to China's Parliament, everyone is on the same page. They have all participated in those same evaluations, participated in all those debates, and have already achieved the consensus and harmony that the country seeks. They then conduct a formal vote to confirm the decisions they have already made.

    It's really quite disingenuous to suggest that this process is a "rubber stamp" approval by people who have no power and no say. And it's especially dishonest since we once again have the pot calling the kettle black.

    In a country like Canada, the Leader of the Party (the Prime Minister) and his cabinet have 100% control of all debate and decisions. The party members can either fall into line or leave the party. So if Stephen Harper wants to ingratiate himself to the US by purchasing 30 billion dollars worth of military hardware that nobody in the country wants, the caucus will either "rubber-stamp" his decision or be politically executed.

    And in Canada, as in many Western countries, any government member wanting to vote according to his conscience or his good judgment, will be forbidden to do so by the Prime Minister. In fact, the news media make a great commotion when the government leader occasionally gives his party members the "freedom" to vote as they wish rather than as they are told. Since this almost never happens, it's presented as a great thing. Unfortunately, it's always on a trivial issue that cannot be hijacked by some ideology.

    In truth, it is the Western countries that have "ceremonial" and "rubber-stamp" parliaments; not China.

  • The "Loyal Opposition"

  • China's system also has an 'opposition', but this body has two major differences from Western governments. Also, it functions intelligently, so let's make that three major differences.

    First, it does not function to 'oppose' but rather to consult. This body is charged with the responsibility to consider not only the government's directions and policies but also to devise alternatives and make recommendations. And the government must by law consider and respond to all these consultations - which it does.

    Second, this opposition group are not the marginalised 'losers' as in the Western systems but a second tier of extremely competent people who were not selected to the top governing positions. And, rather than lose all this expertise, this secondary group was created to contribute to the development of their country.

    The "Free World" could learn a lot from China's government system. It works, beautifully. It has transformed the economy and brought hundreds of millions out of poverty. It has put men into space, built the world's fastest trains, the longest undersea tunnels, the world's longest bridges, the largest dams. It is rapidly creating the world's largest genuine middle class. And it's hardly begun.

  • Government Operation

  • Probably the greatest deciding factor permitting China's rise is the political environment. China's one-party democratic government is in for the long term; it makes no short-term decisions for the sake of political expediency.

    China makes decisions for the good of the whole country and, having made them, implements them. There is no partisanship, no lobbyists, no special interest groups that skew these important decisions and rob the population of what they might have had.

    In China, many people and industries are permitted to present their case, but private or short-term interests will not emerge victorious in this system. Your proposals will receive support and will succeed, only if they are to the long-term benefit of the country as a whole - the greatest good for the nation and for the population. That is how it works.

    In the US system, corporations control the government; in China's, the government controls the corporations. And those firms may often not get their way even if they are government-owned.

    Consider the introduction of HSR (High-Speed Rail) in China. Some Chinese airlines (especially the state-owned ones), complained like hell, and with good reason, about the inauguration of HSR. Some have had to dramatically scale back their flight schedules because many people prefer the train. But the wide HSR network was seen as being in the best interests of the entire country and it went ahead. Read more here.

    That is also why China has the best (and cheapest) mobile phone system in the world. Read more here.

  • The Jasmine Syndrome - Let's Revolt Anyway

  • The recent US-inspired attempt to foster domestic discord and incite a revolt in China was the result of simple-minded ignorance and wishful thinking on the part of Hillary Clinton's State Department.

    The Chinese believe their government is doing its best and doing it well, and they don't support the interference by a few CIA-financed and neocon-inspired troublemakers like Liu Xiaobo and Ai Weiwei. Additionally, the Chinese tend to look with a kind of contempt at any of their own participating in these foreign-inspired attempts at dissention.

    Their feeling is one of, "You have accomplished nothing, have no business of your own, no high professional standing, have no ability to even run your own organisation and must depend on foreigners for money and instructions. You have no knowledge or policies which could be used to run a country, but just want to upset things. Why would anyone trust you when you can't do anything without being a puppet of the US?"

    The feeling is that the Chinese all have businesses to run, and lives to lead, and this kind of social instability would be harmful to everyone. Almost every Chinese recognises that extensive instability could weaken or destroy their country, and they don't want that to happen to China. And they have no reason to believe or trust the puppets of a foreign imperial power.

  • An Historical Note of Some Consequence

  • Most readers will be aware of the abortive student protests that occured in China some 20 years ago. But you may not be aware that those protests were far less spontaneous than the Western governments and media led you to believe. According to the NYT and the US State Department, the protests developed just because an innocent but downtrodden people were crying out for the "universal values" of "freedom" and "democracy".

    But that's largely rubbish. The student movement had been hijacked by the US government and by the summer of 1989 was partially financed and largely controlled by the CIA. In addition to financing and directing the student leaders, one of the main US tools for controlling the activity was the VOA - the Voice of America broadcasts that were being fed to the students 24 hours a day - encouraging, prodding, provoking. And this was the culmination, the crisis point of a long process the US had begun years before.

    Here, in the words of one student who was there, is an indication of how things were. Read between the lines and form your own conclusion.

    "Apparently we were not really traumatized or we were very resilient, life moved on. We settled down and continued with our study. We dated, found our loved ones, and many sought to go abroad. By the time we graduated there was almost no discussion about the student movement and we no longer listened to the VOA.

    One thing I have been kept thinking was the role of the VOA. Many students were the fans of the radio station before, during and shortly after the student movement. Even when we were on the square many students were listening to their programs as if only they could tell us what was going on. I remember at one stage it said the PLA stationed in Beijing was in a defensive position and then it asked some questions such as “Who are they waiting for and why are they in a defensive position?” I immediately drew a conclusion that there was a rebelling PLA force coming to support us!! Until I double checked with my cousin I realized how stupid I was to draw that conclusion.

    The Voice of America introduced democracy and America to us and we loved the life Americans had, free, rich, and happy. To us at that time the America was the model country of the world. Today after 11 years living in a democratic country I have to admit that I knew very little about democracy. All I knew was a beautiful words plus a belief that democracy will fix up all the problems for China.

    What did we want to achieve? A Great Leap Forward to western democracy? Did we know that in a democracy a protest does not result in “everything we want”? When western public see their governments using their tax money to start a wrong war they protest but then they go home. Did we have the slightest consideration of the stability China needed to develop? Painful, so painful to reflect on all of these! We had the best intention for our motherland but did we really know what was good for her?"

    As a final point, you should know that many of the student leaders of those protests were immediately whisked out of China to the US or other countries, given money, permanent green cards in the US, good jobs and, in at least one case, an honorary degree from Princeton University and a later MBA from Harvard - as rewards for their loyal (to the US) betrayal of their own country. Some are still financed by the CIA (NED) and operating NGOs that are actively trying to undermine China's position and reputation in the world.

    Such dirty business.

  • I know what is Best for You - You should be like Me.

  • There was a recent article in The Economist titled: "China: The debate over universal values."

    The gist of the article was more or less that China needs to become a democracy and to become free, according to principles that remain undefined but that 'everybody knows' are right. It seems everybody wants to remake China in their own image.

    The above article and so many of the related reader comments appear uninformed, written by people who didn't choose a system but were simply born into it. We often hear comments to the effect that, "yes of course our system has flaws and we are all well aware of them", but I am unaware of any institution in the West that seriously examines and questions these flaws, much less specificly addressing or endeavoring to change them.

    Instead, we more often see parroted jingoism, a fervent, unexamined belief that my way is the only way, by people who provide scant evidence of ever having thought for themselves, yet pontificating on their own perfection.

  • The American Way - What is Good for America is Good for the World

  • Why do Americans so stubbornly assume their multi-party political system should be the world's standard? There is no factual basis for such an ideological position, and their belief in it does not make it true. It is astonishing, incredible, that so many Americans have elevated their private political ideology to the theological status of a "Universal Value and Human Right".

    Not only that, they appear fervently infused with a Christian charity that compels them to inflict this universal value on everyone else, using military force, if necessary. What is behind this pathological tendency to meddle in the affairs of other countries, to presume to dictate what they should want, how they should think, what kind of government they should have, what their values should be?

    What exactly is it about the US, that it cannot abide any country having a government system different from its own? The US is so terrified of Social Democracy that it finances brutal dictatorships to try to eliminate it.

    The US used the CIA to subvert the government in Indonesia and install Suharto as dictator and, in the greatest mass slaughter in human history, the CIA organised and supervised the rounding up and hacking to death with machetes, of more than 3 million Indonesian peasants - because they were showing 'Communist' tendencies. What kind of insanity drives these people?

    US fanaticism for spreading democracy at all costs displays a frightening intolerance for opposition and an alarming willingness to use violence to impose their system on anyone weak enough to be overcome.

  • Freedom and Democracy. My Way or the Highway.

  • Readers may want to consider that in these Western discussions of China, most of the hype about 'democracy' is quite unrelated to the superiority of the system, but rather more to the ease of external interference, manipulation and control.

    For the part of the US for example, all the blathering about democracy is just jingoistic hypocrisy for the masses. The US has repeatedly demonstrated it doesn't much care what kind of government exists, so long as it is controllable and will do the bidding of the master.

    If the US were so interested in the high moral values of democracy, perhaps Hillary would explain why the US installed, supported, financed and protected more than 42 of the world's bloodiest dictators during the past 5 or 6 decades. Perhaps she would tell us why her freedom-loving country overthrew 13 legitimate functioning democracies (including Iran) for the purpose of installing a dictator who was more amenable to control. How does the US justify sending the CIA to assassinate Patrice Lumumba, a national hero and President of a strong functioning democracy?

    Read this: Here's the list, and much more:

    By US thinking, the two best kinds of government are (1) dictators that you install (Suharto, Somoza, Shah Reza Pahlavi) and (2) democracies you can influence, bully, subvert, and control (The UK, Austria, Belgium, Romania, The Czech Repubic, Canada). The worst kind is China's one-party system that doesn't easily lend itself to outside meddling and subversion.

    The interest in all of this is not to make China free or to liberate the Chinese people, but to force China to become part of the US camp - to become a vassal to the hegemon. And you begin by trying to force a change in the political system, not to free the people but to open the government to influence and control.

  • Is it Possible that you Don't Understand China at all?

  • Much of what is wrong with democratic government cannot be blamed solely on the politicians. It isn't only politicians and corporate robber barons who think only of themselves; it's endemic to the root of society and represents one of the enormous contrasts between China and the West.

    The number of Chinese (probably about 90%) who will work hard and make real sacrifices for the overall good of their country is likely in inverse proportion to the number of Americans (probably about 10%) who would give up anything or make any kind of sacrifice for the good of their country.

    In this sense, among many others, China and the Chinese are badly misunderstand. China has no interest in remaking anybody to be like them. They think their system (political and economic) is a good one and they are happy with it, but they will not try to inflict it on anyone else. If you ask, they will explain what they have, but they will not try to push it on you.

    Contained in this, is the enormity of the difference between the US and China. The US is so sure their way is the right way and the only way that they will subvert and overthrow other governments just to impose their 'superior' system on unwilling populations.

    By contrast, the Chinese believe their system is good FOR THEM. And it stops there. The Chinese do not meddle, and the reason is that they don't have the Judeo-Christian stem cells to tell them they must convert or kill anyone who is different.

    And that is the real tragedy of the US. A country that could have been a great imperial power just through tolerance has instead become one of the most widely-hated entities in the history of the world - simply because they will not accept that anything different has a right to live.

  • I'm Free! I'm Free!

  • There is always one small but important bit of craziness that seems to appear whenever China is mentioned - the part about how (wistfully) someday China will be 'free' (maybe when it's rich).

    This will seriously disappoint many readers, but in almost everything that matters China is just as free as any other country. I know the ideologues will want to scream at me, but it's the truth.

    The Chinese today are not prisoners, in any sense. They are as free as you. In fact, in most things that touch our daily lives, they are more free than many of you.

    It is a staggering tribute to the efficacy of misinformation and false propaganda that so many Westerners have a medieval image of China and the lives of its people. In a recent letter to President Obama, a group of Chinese people wrote the following:

    "You appear to harbor some grotesque picture of us as the product of some brutal, god-forsaken commie dictatorship, living in a grey world with no rights, no freedom, no hope. You seem to believe we are stifled, unhappy, miserable, the product of enforced slave labor, living our lives under oppression and fear, lacking all manner of liberties.

    And that we hold you in such high regard that we will happily run to you - our beacon of hope and angel of salvation.

    Mr Obama, we're sorry to say this, but either you're very stupid or you must believe we are."

    The Chinese may not be free to publish an article that openly insults their leaders, but they would never do that anyway. The Chinese actually respect and admire their leaders, and they don't believe people in any country should openly insult their superiors. So this particular freedom bestowed on Westerners, is of no interest or value to them.

    It is true that some internet information is restricted, but the Chinese people really don't care. To them, minor personal restrictions are a small price to pay for stability and a lack of conflict in their country. They love their country, and are far happier with their government than most Westerners are with theirs, and they are not going to change it just to please you.

    They feel their country's one-party democratic (meritocratic) government is in for the long term and makes no decisions for political expediency, in contradistinction to what they see in the US. They want and expect their government to make decisions for the good of the whole country, not for the sake of re-election.

    If I were China, I would ask, "Who are you, to tell me that once I'm enlightened my greatest wish is to be like you? Who are you to tell me that your way is the only way, and that I must adopt it?"

  • A Great Idea. Let's all Mind Our Own Business

  • There is a large segment of humanity that does not necessarily care for the parochial institutions or values that the West proselytizes to other cultures.

    China is developing in all aspects and living conditions are improving drastically day by day. Very few Chinese feel they're deprived of freedom or that China needs to go through radical political changes. Moreover, they don't need or want to use the Western rubric to measure their own well-being. In any case, democracy may not work for every country, especially one with over a billion people.

    Most Westerners assume that Western values are superior and desirable, but are apparently unable to recognize the diversity of cultures that compose the world. Anti-communism is not equal to creating world peace, and criticizing China does not make a person a human-rights activist. The West needs to look at China with an open mind, ready to accept cultural differences.

    Western-style democracy is a very inefficient and polarizing system. It doesn't work all that well in Western countries and it certainly does not fit China, just as it doesn't fit Iraq and Afghanistan. Look at the current frenzy in the US for the mid-term elections. The Tea Partiers may soon be rioting in the streets. Look at the divisions being created in that society.

    Now may finally be the time for other, more useful government systems to ride off into the sunset with the heroine, while US-style Multi-Party Democracy sinks slowly into the village cesspool.

    I'm sorry to say this, but much of the world is badly uninformed on China, presuming to advise on things not even dimly understood.

    I would say to Westerners: China is none of your business. They didn't ask your advice on what kind of government they should have, just as they didn't ask your advice on how to develop their economy. Who are you to believe that you know better than the Chinese, what is best for them?

    My advice to all those who think China should change their system of government: Give it a rest. Drop it. Mind your own business. Go clean your kitchen, or cut the grass. Wipe your own kid's snotty nose and stop meddling in the affairs of people who don't want to know what you think.

  • Let's Meet Some Real People

  • Lastly, let us try to see China and the Chinese people as they really are today, instead of depending on the trash we read in the Western media.

    Is is so easy for us to demonise a people we don't know, to criticse things we don't understand, to condemn practices or traditions that are different from our own. It is easy for us to mock unfamiliar customs, to believe that our way of doing things is the only way.

    Many of us have no true picture of China or its people, but only conceptions consisting of scattered fragments of information gleaned from a wide variety of sources, information which may have been accurate at one time but perhaps is now long out of date.

    I want to introduce you to some real, normal, everyday variety Chinese people - those who go about their lives and daily activities just as you do. And I've prepared a new Section for this.

    Click here for English, and here for 中国 I hope you enjoy it.

  • Continue to Part II.