China, Or The West?
This is a curious thing. The US government and media as epitomised by the NYT, followed closely by the UK and its Right-Wing media, 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". The US and its friends have a "government", but China has a "regime".
The list of unflattering and even 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 themselves are White supremacist, ideological and racist. And they serve only incite more bigotry, racism, blind jingoism, and even create public willingness for yet another "War of Liberation".
China's 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."
What can we say? 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 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. Other Western Parliaments are not much better.
In the US, one senator referred to an opposition member as "just a chicken-shit thief"; presumably he was enraptured by one of the "hot issues of the day".
Westerners strangely accept this as normal, and make various - and vacuous - excuses for it. But there should be no excuse for the most senior leaders and officials of a nation to engage in such emotionally juvenile behavior.
The mere absence of this kind of immature stupidity in China's parliament is used as proof of its ceremonial and rubber-stamp status, apparently implying that there is no power without idiocy, so the real power must lie elsewhere.
China is managed by an open-door meritocracy with 80 million members, of which the national parliament is an extension. The NPC is not a rubber stamp for a non-existent communist dictator.
The nation'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, China is a pluralistic society, very unlike the US and most of the West. The Chinese discuss and debate as much as anyone, but the objective is consensus as to what is in the long-term best interests of the nation as a whole.
Chinese government officials are not "politicians" competing on ideology, and are not in parliament to create a "TV moment" or garner votes at the expense of another - a claim nobody can make about Western governments.
Those who work in Asian countries will know there are many discussions offline, that the debates, the critical examination of all aspects of issues, are done beforehand by many people in many groups until a consensus emerges.
The major group meetings are usually to present the final agreement. To object then in some sense is already too late.
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, in all those debates, and have already achieved the consensus sought.
They then conduct a formal vote to confirm the decisions they have already made. This is how the proposals reach the point where they are finally voted on, and why they normally receive overwhelming approval.
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.
If anything, the NPC is an example of how adults make decisions without the juvenile posturing and bickering that goes on in the Western political systems.
Also, Westerners tend to gloss over the many policy proposals where the Chinese government directly solicits citizen feedback, then implements this information into their resolutions.
Of course, this is all assisted by the existence of only one political party. Since there are no ideological 'teams' designed to create conflict, the members simply get down to business.
It should be strikingly obvious that nobody needs those extra parties, but the jingoists cannot think in other terms. To them multiple parties are theological in nature.
It's really quite disingenuous to suggest that the Chinese process is a "rubber stamp" approval by people who have no power and no say. And it's especially hypocritical since Western democracies themselves most closely resemble what they condemn.
In a country like Canada, the Leader of the Party - the Prime Minister - has 100% control over his cabinet, and his cabinet has 100% control of all debate and decisions.
The party members can either fall into line or leave the party, and that means the entire party 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 who controls all voting. You must vote for your 'team'. To do otherwise is both heresy and suicide.
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.
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