I’m losig my faith. I’ve always wished China to become democratic someday. It is the way the world is heading, China can not be singled out. Or can it? I never thought China should go through another civil war so I always hoped that CCP will gradually reform itself. Yes, that’s perhaps incredibly naive but for a long time that was my hope. Now i’m losing it. read today’s new york times article on china and democracy. I will copy and pasted it here for those who don’t have an account.
A Democratic China? Not So Fast, Beijing Leaders Say
By JOSEPH KAHN
Published: April 8, 2004
BEIJING, April 7 – When asked why China, with its surging economy and rising power, has not yet begun to democratize, its leaders recite a standard line. The country is too big, too poor, too uneducated and too unstable to give political power to the people, they say.
The explanation is often delivered in a plaintive tone: China really would like to become a more liberal country, if only it did not have unique problems requiring the Communist Party to maintain its absolute monopoly on power for just a while longer.
The case of Hong Kong suggests it could be a great deal longer.
Hong Kong, a former British colony that came under Chinese control in 1997, is a tidy, small place by Chinese standards. Its six million people are extensively educated, multilingual and heavily Westernized. It has a low crime rate, a nimble economy and a remarkably accommodating population that has proven pragmatic and subdued under both British and Chinese rule.
At $24,750 in per capita annual income, its people are about 25 times wealthier than their mainland compatriots and the 15th most affluent population in the world, according to a World Bank tally. It is also by far the richest place in which citizens do not have the right to elect their own leaders, with Kuwait, its nearest competitor, ranking 34th.
So why then did Beijing decide this week to revoke Hong Kong’s leeway to chart a course toward local democracy, which many there felt was guaranteed in a series of laws that govern its special status under Chinese rule?
Some analysts say it is Beijing’s leadership that lacks the requisite conditions, or perhaps the confidence, to allow its people a greater say in their own affairs.
“The problem for China is not legal. It is not whether Hong Kong society is capable of handling democracy,” said Shi Yinhong, a political expert at People’s University in Beijing. “The problem is that if Hong Kong holds direct elections now, it will probably elect people who are not loyal to Beijing.”
“Frankly speaking,” Mr. Shi said, “that is something Chinese leaders are not ready to accept.”
Democracy has long been a distant and distinctly foreign concept in Communist China. Even during the pro-democracy Tiananmen Square demonstrations in 1989, the idea was so vague to most student leaders that they expressed it by building a papier-mâché Goddess of Democracy that resembled the Statue of Liberty. Democracy was like Hollywood, Ellis Island and tricorner hats.
It is not like that now. Democracy is an immediate and direct threat to China’s leadership in Hong Kong and also in Taiwan, two places it considers vital to its security and prestige.
Beijing considers Taiwan part of China. But the island has been drifting further away from mainland control with its democratic development over the past 15 years.
China’s leaders view Taiwan’s president, Chen Shui-bian, as determined to make Taiwan an independent country in a legal and internationally recognized sense, an outcome they have repeatedly warned will lead to war. Despite those concerns, Taiwanese voters gave Mr. Chen a second term in office in last month’s presidential elections.
China once viewed Hong Kong as a golden goose that would share capitalist expertise while demonstrating the motherland’s rising power by returning to the fold. When Deng Xiaoping negotiated the terms of its return to Chinese rule with Britain in the 1980’s, the promise of allowing the territory to democratize in the first decade of the 21st century seemed safely distant and risk free.
Now, after last year’s mass street demonstration against a national security bill China wanted to impose and follow-up protests demanding greater local control, Hong Kong has joined Taiwan as a political crisis preoccupying the top leadership.
In Mao Zedong’s day, the problem would have been solved easily enough, by calling democrats counter-revolutionaries and mobilizing the masses to silence them. But China faces a conundrum today. It does not have a revolutionary ideology that its own leaders believe is superior to democratic rule. The masses are too busy making money to be mobilized.
So officials search for reasons why the time is not yet right, or the conditions are not yet suitable, or the procedures are not yet finalized. They present themselves as sympathetic to the democratic impulse who are troubled only by questions of implementation.
The coup de grâce in Hong Kong’s case was delivered in the form of a legal interpretation of the Basic Law, the constitutional framework governing Hong Kong, by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in Beijing. The interpretation consisted of microscopic legal language in which Beijing allotted itself a much greater role in deciding Hong Kong’s future political system. Top leaders have never squarely ad dressed the larger political issues involved.
For China, democracy is like the law and human rights. As it seeks to create a world-class economy and increasingly demands equal treatment with the United States in world affairs, it has embraced democracy, legal reform and human rights as desirable and even inevitable. It amended its Constitution in March to explicitly guarantee human rights protections for the first time.
But its promises, so far, are good only to the extent that these ideals work to enhance Communist rule, not to undermine it.
“The party sees these things as tools,” said a prominent Beijing lawyer who has frequently clashed with authorities in court. “If the tool works, use it. If the tool does not work, find another way.”
it’s true CCP had admitted they wanted democracy but because of this and this, it’s just not possible right now. i wonder will it ever be? if HongKong is not ready for democracy then who is? excuse after excuse… altho i’m still not 100% sure how china will handle democracy at this moment, it’s getting more clear that CCP will never embrace the idea. quoting richard: It all goes back to the the first emperor: government’s role is to keep itself in power, not to do favors for its population. So democracy scares them shitless, as well it should.
one sentence in the article made me want to laugh and cry at the same time:
In Mao Zedong’s day, the problem would have been solved easily enough, by calling democrats counter-revolutionaries and mobilizing the masses to silence them.