By Godfree Roberts – selected from his extensive weekly newsletter : Here Comes China
You can get it here: https://www.herecomeschina.com/#subscribe
Having recently read Godfree’s latest book, Why China Rules the World, I learned about trial spots, the history of these and how basically everything that is accepted by the population, gets trialed first, by the population.
We change pace on this regular sitrep and instead of bringing together a wide selection of information, we only look at one long read that may answer many questions, at least many of those that I see so regularly on The Saker blog. This ends with Hong Kong as a new trial spot.
By Godfree Roberts and first posted on Here Comes China
Like America, China is a republic and, like America, says it is democratic, but how democratic is China? A glance at history is always a good starting point
The People are supreme, the state is secondary and the Ruler is the least important: only those who please the people can rule. Mencius
In Roman politics, citizens lost control of politicians after they elected them. It’s one of the system’s greatest weaknesses and it is no wonder that, like our Roman forebears, we regard government as our biggest problem: we cannot compel them to keep their promises.
Imagine that, instead of hiring eloquent amateurs, we hired professionals–sociologists, statisticians, political scientists, economists–and told them to create solutions to our problems identified by publicly conducted surveys. Then they should support state and local governments to implement policy solutions, track public satisfaction with them for a few years and discard failed policies. California would probably try Canadian medicare and if their medical bills fell fifty percent and Californians showed a three year gain in healthy life expectancy, we’d elect a thousand volunteers and send them–all expenses paid–to Washington so they could audit the results and pass legislation.
That’s what China does and it’s why their democracy resembles Proctor & Gamble more than Pericles of Athens.
How Democratic is China–Really?
Large-scale national surveys, the Chinese Labor Dynamics Survey (Sun Yat-Sen University), the Chinese Family Panel Survey (Peking U), the Chinese General Social Survey (Renmin U), the Chinese Income Inequality Surveys (Beijing Normal U) and hundreds of polls by overseas scholars and institutions like Harvard University, Gallup, Edelman, World Values and Asian Barometer, rival the world’s best in sampling techniques, questionnaire design and quality control.
The results, all available online, are a treasure trove of democratic data that Mao created by wresting policy control from scholars and commissioning extensive surveys saying, “Public opinion must guide our actions.” Today, says author Jeff J. Brown, “My Beijing neighborhood committee and town hall are constantly putting up announcements, inviting groups of people–renters, homeowners, over seventies, women under forty, those with or without medical insurance, retirees–to answer surveys. The CPC is the world’s biggest pollster for a reason: China’s democratic ‘dictatorship of the people’ is highly engaged at the day-to-day, citizen-on-the-street level. I know, because I live in a middle class Chinese community and I question them all the time. I find their government much more responsive and democratic than the dog-and-pony shows back home, and I mean that seriously.”
Mao introduced universal suffrage in 1951 (ten years before America) on the basis of one person, one vote. Everyone voted to elect a legislature that would control of all legislation and approve all senior appointments. He even extended democracy to non-citizens, as Quaker William Sewell, a professor at Jen Dah Christian University in Szechuan recalls,
As a labor union member, I was entitled to vote. The election of a government in China is indirect. We at Jen Dah were to vote for our local People’s Congress. Then the Local Congresses would, from among their own members, elect the Duliang Congress. From these members and from the congresses of the great cities and many counties would be elected the Szechwan People’s Provincial Congress. Finally emerged the National People’s Congress, every member of which had in the first place been elected to a local body. The National Congress made the laws, elected the Chairman, and appointed the Premier and members of the State Council. In our chemistry group we discussed the sort of men and women who might best represent us; then we put forward half a dozen names.
Each group in our Jen Dah section did the same. All the names were then written on a board so that everyone might see who had been suggested. The names which several groups had listed in common were put on a short list. They amounted to over a dozen, any groups being still at liberty to put forward again any name which they considered should not have been omitted. Those whose names were on the short list had then to be persuaded to allow their names to remain. This took some time as a genuine sense of inability to cope made many of them reluctant to undertake such responsible work. Each person was discussed at length by the group. Those who were unknown were invited to visit the various groups so that they might be questioned. At length a still shorter list of candidates was obtained, which was cut down eventually, after further discussion, to the number desired.
When the day of the election came, the flags were flying and the bands with their cymbals and drums with their constant rhythm made it all pleasantly noisy. Voting slips were handed out at one end of the booth and students, all sworn to secrecy, were available to help if you couldn’t read. Then alone, or accompanied by your helper, you sat at the table and cast your votes. The list contained names which had by now become very familiar but there was a space at the bottom for additional names to be added should you so desire. A ring was to be put around those whom you wished to be elected and the paper dropped into the box. In England I had voted for a man I didn’t know, with whom I had never spoken and who asked for my vote by a circular letter and who had lost to his rival by over 14,000 votes. I had felt that my vote was entirely worthless. In China, at this one election, I had at least had the happy illusion that my vote was of real significance.
By the 1980s the electoral process had deteriorated, powerful family clans dominated local elections and villagers regularly petitioned Beijing to send ‘a capable Party Secretary to straighten things out’. So the government invited The Carter Center to supervise the process and, by 2010, voter turnout had outstripped America’s and the Prime Minister encouraged more experiments, “The experience of many villages has proven that farmers can successfully elect village committees. If people can manage a village well, they can manage a township and a county. We must encourage people to experiment boldly and test democracy in practice.” Five years later President Xi asked the Carter Center to reevaluate the fairness of election laws and to educate candidates in ethical campaigning, “Democracy is not only defined by people’s right to vote in elections but also their right to participate in political affairs on a daily basis. Democracy is not decoration, it’s for solving people’s problems.” Like Capitalism, Democracy is a tool in China, not a religion.
There are six hundred thousand villages and successful candidates, who need not be Party members, begin their five-year terms with a trial year at the end of which, if they fail to achieve their promised goals, they’re dismissed. Otherwise they spend their second year reviewing and adjusting their objectives, knowing that their successes could be propagated nationwide.
Village representatives choose peers to represent them at district level where further voting elects county representatives until, eventually, three thousand provincial congresspeople, all volunteers, convene in Beijing and strive for consensus as earnestly as they do in their villages. Congresspeople are volunteers, ordinary citizens whose progress to the national level requires prudence and common sense. Tiered voting makes it difficult to join a higher level assembly without the support from politicians below and impossible for the Party to completely control the process. As a result, one-third of National People’s Congresspeople are not Communist Party members, nor are other parties merely decorative. Parties like the China Democratic League, the Kuomintang and the Jiusan Society (whose all-PhD members campaign for climate initiatives, increased R&D budgets and data-driven health policies) regularly produce outstanding Ministers.
Is China’s Constitution Democratic?
The Constitution is clear: “The National People’s Congress and the local people’s congresses at various levels are constituted through democratic elections. They are responsible to the people and subject to their supervision. All administrative, judicial and procuratorial organs of the State are created by the People’s Congresses to which they are responsible and by which they are supervised.” Most legislation receives ninety-percent support in Congress but does this make the NPCC a mere ‘rubber stamp’ as critics claim?
The ‘rubber stamp’ misunderstanding arises because policy development is managed like double-blind, randomized clinical trials, called Trial Spots, and Congress is primarily responsible for publicly evaluating data gathered on them. Europe has started universal income trial spots but China has been doing them for thirty years and has a mature system to support it and manage it.
It’s not hard to must ninety-percent support if the data is sound. Policy proposals are first tried in villages, towns or cities and the vast majority die during this phase for the same reasons that most scientific experiments fail. The process has created the most trusted government on earth but Congress is no pushover. Congresspeople visit, inspect and audit Trial Spot cashflows, calculate affordability and debate scalability and national impact.
When, after thirty years of engineering studies, the government presented its proposal to fund the Three Gorges Dam, Congress demurred. The project’s cost and scale were beyond most members’ imagination, retired engineers and foreign experts damned it and a million people who would be displaced criticized the project so vehemently that legislators demanded a similar dam be built nearby to demonstrate geological stability. The government duly built the Gezhouba Dam downstream yet, when they re-presented the funding request, just sixty-four percent of delegates supported it and, when the government decided to proceed, people loudly accused it of ‘ramming the bill through.’
Though China’s process is neither fully scientific nor totally democratic, labeling it ‘authoritarian’–a Western concept–also misses the point. China’s reliance on data for course corrections is its greatest strength, though even solid data does not guarantee smooth sailing. Fifty percent of legislation is not passed within the planned period and ten percent takes more than a decade, thanks to the Peoples Consultive Congress, a gigantic lobby of special interest groups–including peasants, indigenes, professors, fishermen, manufacturers and Taiwan’s Kuomintang Party–who ensure that pending legislation does not damage their interests. Legislators must use both trial data and political tradeoffs to craft the laws which, by the time they emerge, have almost unanimous support. Even then, legislation is issued ‘subject to revision’ because data collection continues after implementation, too.
Congress commissioned the Guangzhou-Shenzhen high speed rail Trial Spot in 1998 before voting to fund today’s massive HSR network. In 2016 the administration advanced legislation permitting genetically modified food crops because they had promised that GM maize and soybeans would be in commercial use by 2020. Two years later–after an intense public education campaign–a survey found half the country still opposed to GM, ten percent were supportive and eleven percent considered GM ‘a bioterrorism weapon aimed at China’. Legislation was shelved. Venture capitalist Robin Daverman describes the process at the national level:
China is a giant trial portfolio with millions of trials going on everywhere. Today, innovations in everything from healthcare to poverty reduction, education, energy, trade and transportation are being trialled in different communities. Every one of China’s 662 cities is experimenting: Shanghai with free trade zones, Guizhou with poverty reduction, twenty-three cities with education reforms, Northeastern provinces with SOE reform: pilot schools, pilot cities, pilot hospitals, pilot markets, pilot everything. Mayors and governors, the Primary Investigators, share their ‘lab results’ at the Central Party School and publish them in their ‘scientific journals,’ the State-owned newspapers.
Beginning in small towns, major policies undergo ‘clinical trials’ that generate and analyze test data. If the stats look good, they’ll add test sites and do long-term follow-ups. They test and tweak for 10-30 years then ask the 3,000-member People’s Congress to review the data and authorize national trials in three major provinces. If a national trial is successful the State Council [the Brains Trust] polishes the plan and takes it back to Congress for a final vote. It’s very transparent and, if your data is better than mine, your bill gets passed and mine doesn’t. Congress’ votes are nearly unanimous because the legislation is backed by reams of data. This allows China to accomplish a great deal in a short time, because your winning solution will be quickly propagated throughout the country, you’ll be a front page hero, invited to high-level meetings in Beijing and promoted. As you can imagine, the competition to solve problems is intense. Local government has a great deal of freedom to try their own things as long as they have the support of the local people. Everything from bare-knuckled liberalism to straight communism has been tried by various villages and small towns.
Yiwu, a sleepy town in the middle of Zhejiang province, started an international trade Trial Spot in the 1980s and became the world’s center for small commodities like stuffed animals (and the subject of endless books and articles). Today, townships are running Trial Spots on smart towns, schools ran Trial Spots on academic quality, labor unions ran labor rights Trial Spots, state-owned enterprises trialed mixed compensation (cash and stock) and maverick officials tried ideas knowing that any damage would be contained and successes quickly replicated. Even the conservative Chinese Customs had ‘trade facilitation Trial Spots’ at border crossings.
The Health Ministry asked thirty-three Provincial Health Ministers–PhDs and MDs–to bring childhood obesity under control by 2030. The ministers involved a thousand County Health Directors and today hundreds of Childhood Obesity Awareness Trial Spots are running in cities and townships across the country. One billboard warns, rather dubiously, that obesity reduces children’s intelligence but wheat and chaff will be separated by 2030 and overweight children will become as rare as they were when we were young. Overall, the process keeps the government in sync with people’s wishes better than any on earth:
Every five years since 1950, planners have readjusted the nation’s course towards the country’s ultimate goal of dàtóng, issued progress reports and gathered feedback. Results encouraged them to allow entrepreneurs to compete in non-essential industries like automobile manufacturing but showed that profits on essential services were as burdensome as taxes. Profiting from healthcare, they found, taxed every business needing healthy workers, and profits from education taxed every businesses that needs literate workers. The government now provides them at cost and even supports loss-making corporations (‘zombies’ to neoliberals) that serve a social purpose.
Are China’s Five Year Plans Democratic?
Researchers begin Five Year Plans with questionnaires and grassroots forums and, after mid-term assessments, Congress commissions scholars to evaluate and economists to budget for their recommendations. Teams then tour the country, appear on local TV, listen to local opinions and formulate proposals. One planner explained, “Computers have made huge improvements in collecting and analyzing the information but still, thousands of statisticians, actuaries, database experts and technicians with degrees in urban, rural, agricultural, environmental and economic planning invest thousands of hours interpreting and analyzing this vast trove of data, statistics and information. Needless to say, for a continent-sized country with over a billion citizens, it takes hundreds of thousands of people to develop each Five-Year Plan.”
Next, the State Council publishes a draft Plan and solicits input from employees, farmers, businessmen, entrepreneurs, officials and specialists and feasibility reports from all twenty-seven levels of the bureaucracy responsible for implementing it. The Finance and Economics Committee analyzes the Plan’s budget and, after the State Council and Politburo sign off, Congress votes. Then discussion is suspended and implementation proceeds unimpeded. Here’s the cover sheet for the 12th Plan:
Over the five years, economic growth averaged 7.8%, services became the largest sector and consumption became the major growth driver, energy intensity fell eighteen percent and emissions dropped twelve percent, the urban-rural income gap narrowed, rudimentary health insurance became universal, three hundred million folk gained access to safe drinking water and one hundred million were lifted from poverty. Harvard’s Tony Saich, who conducts his own surveys, concludes that ninety per cent of people are satisfied with the government and surveys found that eighty-three percent think it runs the country for everyone’s benefit rather than for special groups. More remarkably, it’s run parsimoniously:
￼The current administration has promised to further extend democratic rule of law as education levels rise but there has been another, less formal democracy at work for three thousand years. Any citizen can petition the government with a demand or complaint. Historically at any time but especially now, when Congress is meeting with the Peoples Consultative Congress, thousands of insistent constituents appear on their doorsteps with written petitions. Protocol requires them to start at the neighborhood level then, if they are still dissatisfied, go to the next level, all the way to the NPC if needed. In fact, there is a special office, the State Bureau for Letters and Calls, where everyone, even resident non-citizens, can lodge petitions.
Legislation, once published in newspapers and posted on neighborhood bulletin boards, now blossoms online. Every draft is posted for citizens, non-citizens, national and international businesses alike to comment and critique–and they do. If there is strong pushback or resistance to proposed laws they’re sent back for amendment. And if that is too cumbersome there is the constitutional right to demonstrate publicly.
Today, smartphones, social media and streaming video to multiply the effects of public demonstrations (as 150,000 ‘mass incidents’ in 2018 testify). Rowdy protests–usually triggered by local officials’ unfairness, dishonesty or incompetence–are cheap, exciting and safe since police are unarmed. Indignant citizens paint signs, alert NGOs and the media, recruit neighbors, bang drums, shout slogans and livestream their parade. Responses which once took months now take hours. Targeted officials–usually after a phone call from an angry superior–speed to the scene, bow deeply, apologize profusely, kiss babies, explain that they had no idea that such things were going on and promise brighter tomorrows. Since cell phones became ubiquitous local officials’ approval has risen from forty-five to fifty-five percent and, by 2025, should rival Americans’ seventy percent.
From land redistribution in the 1950s to communes in the 60s to the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, Reform and Opening and anti-corruption, Chinese politics are almost unrecognizable from one decade to the next yet policy support rivals Switzerland’s. Tsinghua Professor Daniel Bell credits democracy at the bottom, experiments in the middle and meritocracy at the top for a string of policy successes. And The New York Times’ Tom Friedman says wistfully, “If we could just be China for one day we could actually authorize the right decisions.”
Former President Hu Jintao, who formalized Trial Spots, wisely observed that there’s more to China’s democratic process than meets the eye, “Taking from each according his ability and giving to each according to his need requires democratic rule of law, fairness and justice, honesty and fraternity, abundant energy, stability, orderliness, harmony between people and the environment and sustainable development.”
Words to ponder.
 Confucius’ most famous disciple, Mencius, lived 372 BC – 289 BC.
 Record High Name Government as Most Important Problem. Gallup. February 18, 2019
 The “Surprise” of Authoritarian Resilience in China. Wenfang Tang
 The Voting Rights Act of 1965
 William Sewell, I Stayed in China.
 The China Democratic League is for teachers from elementary school to universities. Since Confucius is China’s archetypal teacher and teachers are held at an high regards by the society as a whole, this is a highly influential party.
 The Kuomintang of China, KMT; (sometimes Guomindang) often translated as the Nationalist Party of China) is a major political party in the Republic of China on Taiwan, based in Taipei and is currently the opposition political party in Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan.
 The Jiusan Society is for PhD scientists, mostly physicists and engineers, whose position is ‘everything should be run by science’. Very big on pushing for climate initiatives, environmental protection, more R&D budget, better health policies, etc.
 Authoritarian Gridlock? Understanding Delay in the Chinese Legislative System. Rory Truex. Journal of Comparative Political Studies, April 2018
 The lowest recorded legislative support is sixty-four percent for the Three Gorges Dam project, which now repays its original investment every two years. It was the biggest, most expensive single-site project in history whose lake has changed the earth’s rotation, so legislators’ caution in their generation is understandable.
 Public perception of genetically-modified (GM) food: A Nationwide Chinese Consumer Study. Kai Cui & Sharon P. Shoemaker. npj Science of Food volume 2, Article number: 10 (2018)
 Jeff J. Brown, China Rising.
 Tang, Populist Authoritarianism.
 The China Model: Political Meritocracy and the Limits of Democracy.(p. 9) Daniel . Bell
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The process as described create a lot of pressure on the people. Very little peace for the younger people.
i see it from a completely different POV: all those efforts are not to be praised,
but are symptoms of a desperate attempt to continue unsustainable growth.
and from my personal experience, thinking outside the box isnt a chinese strength.
the actual solution would be more localisation and a more simplistic less energy consuming
life, a complete 180 from what they are doing now by killing small villages and herding the
population in big city conglomerates.
i bet none of those trials are considering that premise.
The Western mentality will find it very difficult if ever, to run and sustain such a “democracy” ala Mencius. I hope to be proven wrong.
Americans who don’t support “forever wars” in the Middle East in service of the “liberal world order” are simply showing their “intolerance,” so says PNAC co-founder ((( Robert Kagan))) in Foreign Affairs magazine.
the ny post also chimes in that womens rights are a worthy reason to stay in Afghanistan. apparently young men join up to ensure girls dont get arranged marriages these days.
“Public opinion must guide our actions.”
sure, all those Chinese wanted only 1 child so the CCP enacted the 1-child policy
and no Chinese family ever moved abroad to have more children….. riiiiiight
my advice is to reconsider stopping the China-the-glorious propaganda
it is just not working anymore
”my advice is to reconsider stopping the China-the-glorious propaganda it is just not working anymore”
Of course it’s not working particularly well with Western public opinion, and this is not simply due to non-stop imperialist propaganda. In those parts of the Global South where China is economically active, poverty is being significantly reduced. This cannot happen without losses inflicted on Western interests and, by extension, Westerners’ (sense of) entitlement to other peoples’ lands, natural resources, and labour output. But still, it’s quite preposterous to put forward the notion that ”it is just not working anymore” — a typical case of projection.
sorry to disappoint you, but i am not in the West nor a “westerner”
i actually fought NATO and western imperialism, for real in ’99,
not like most of the commentators here who are brave internet warriors
who think their comments make such a difference in the world… /sarc
friendly advice: “the grass is not greener on the other side” even when talking about
China/Russia/Iran and certainly not for DPRK
You might not be a Westerner, but since you’re unsupportive of not just China but the entire Axis of Resistance, it means you’re — for all practical intents and purposes — in support of Western imperialism. Actually, the usual ”credentials” offered to prove the contrary make the picture even clearer. To wit: it’s 100% OK to provide token support for countries and peoples ravaged by imperialism as long as their fate seems to be perpetual oppression and misery. That changes instantly the very moment there is hope entering their prospects for the future. Then we get to hear all this sanctimonious cant about them ’not being any better’ or ’betraying the ideals’ or whatever.
hey are you by any chance bush jr 3rd?
“you are either with us or against us” – is what you are saying
to clarify: i am not for western imperialism, nor for china/axis of resistance
i dont see much solidarity coming from the chinese, they arent in syria fighting ISIS to
protect the syrian populace
i dont see much solidarity coming from the russians, they werent in Nagorno-Karabakh
to protect outgunned Armenians
i didnt see much solidarity from russians, they let serbia got raped and b0mbed to pieces
and dont rebute me with silly excuses like “to teach the armenians a lesson”, and “traitor yeltsin was in charge”
blah blah blah… i know all the excuses
bottom line is, the west as well as the east are only in it for themselves, their methods might differ,
but ultimately they are the same
I wonder where people get the idea or impression that its Russia or China’s duty to protect someone else, why they should be dragged into someone else’s war which always make it worse than better, every time the U, S, has entered or started a war it plunged the whole area into nothing but chaos, the mid-east is a good example of that as they think they should control the whole world and everyone in it, If this system works for China and the people are satisfied then that’s all that matters to others who were brought up in others system and a capitalist system is one with many, many faults as they have removed all the barriers between the sheep and the wolves, and now they are stating to pay for it, !!
Russian and china have no responsibility to protect other countries.
so why should other countries care if Russia and china have it good?!?
many commentators here see china as a winner and praise her in a futile attempt
to identify with her. says it all really.
sorry to burst your bubble, but any chinese successes, real or not, will not rub off on you.
Of course Chinese success will improve life for everyone in the Global South. Our governments will no longer be forced to follow the dictates of deliberate destructive neoliberal agenda to reshape what it means to be a human being. China’s 4000 year track record as a continuously adapting polity built on the heavenly mandate of the greatest good for the greatest number of people certainly has my support over the greedy merciless inhuman 500 year reign of migratory far western Asians (According to Wikipedia Europe exists as a geographical location because of tradition … that’s neither very scientific nor even rational).
The West is is a nihilistic wasteland and its inner state is surely and gradually manifesting in perceived realities of day to day existence. It is a a subjective hell that is shallow, self-centred and hollow. The Western model of growth is ruinous to itself. Fortunately there other ways to grow, and in a multipolar world you will see it, if God wills.
“I wonder where people get the idea or impression that its Russia or China’s duty to protect someone else, why they should be dragged into someone else’s war..”
Someone else? We are all human beings, all in the same boat. And as long as no one out there opposes US-Israel global terrorism, we are all losing.
Where do people get the idea? Do you know how many wars Iran is involved in to protect others? Can you imagine what would happen if China was also helping the Resistance?
@Nussiminen, I take issue with your hijacking of the Resistance axis title and bestowing it on China and Russia, who condone the Zionist regime, who condone and support the blockade of Yemen, who go along with the US sanctions against Iran.
Let’s be clear, China and Russia may be resisting the US, but they are on very friendly terms with the Zionist regime and the endless crowd of billionaire Jews who run the world.
In 1999 Yeltsin was in power. Enough said.
Armenian Sorosite leadership never asked help from Russia, nor did Armenia help or recognize Nagorno Karabakh.
China does not care about exporting their ideology to other countries, that is a western thing to do, China only cares about making money. China is an introverted society and DPRK is more so. China respects other countries culture and ideology and does not want to infringe upon it, unlike the west.
Tell that to the Tibetans.
You mean the Tibet that was a part of the Middle Kingdom (Zhongguo/China) for about 600 years? Or the Tibet that was carved off from the Middle Kingdom by an illegal treaty forced on China by Great Britain? You know, the one where the Mandarins were held at gunpoint? Or was your comment directed to the Tibetan peasants who were held in indentured slavery by the Dalai Lhama?
Are you aware that Tibet and China had been engaging in Royal weddings for a couple of thousand years?
Don’t feel bad, edumacation is hard…
During sejournes in China 1990-91 and altogether two years in the 1999-2008period, I met a lot of ordinary CHinese who said one of the four mistakes they could not forgive Máo Zé’dōng was that he had not enforced population control early enough (although there was propaganda for small families all ofer China during his latest years. Dèng Xiǎopíngs 1 1/2 child policy was grudgingly approved of by aquaintances of mine even though they themselves were strongly put under hard pressure to have abortions that they didn’t want.
–Author says: “Public opinion must guide our actions.”
-Anon says: “sure, all those Chinese wanted only 1 child so the CCP enacted the 1-child policy
and no Chinese family ever moved abroad to have more children….. riiiiiight”
The author says “Public opinion must GUIDE…” not must “dictate”. Furthermore, public opinion can’t be satisfied 100% of the time because there is no issue in the society that satisfy 100% of people.
You obviously is an absolutist (person with absolute ideal or binary in thinking). If you are objective and realist, you would agree that China cares more about public opinion than any (or at least most) countries in the world. And if you want to pick something about China to criticize (which I see you are doing), you probably would not pick this ONE if you aren’t that absolutist.
I’ve been wondering if the lack of uniformity in public opinion explains why certain aspects of Chinese society are the way they are.
For one, the largest banknote denomination is ¥100, which has around US$20 of purchasing power. Considering that the renminbi currency is state-owned (correct me if I’m wrong on that), at first I wasn’t sure how that, or the lack of a generally-circulating ¥5 coin (~$1), would adequately reflect the needs of the Chinese populace, especially speaking as a USAmerican who has long complained about the absence of the $1 coin.
I’m assuming at this point that the presence or absence of certain denominations, especially following decades of inflation and in an era of vending machines, isn’t such a big deal for many a Chinese citizen, and there isn’t that much demand for higher denominations such as ¥500.
I’ve searched the question on DuckDuckGo before, and the answers I got ranged from fears that higher denominations beyond ¥100 might worsen the problem of counterfeiting, to something about a supposed wealth gap, to something about making monetary crimes like laundering more difficult.
It is a moot point, joey_n, as nobody in China uses cash, and haven’t for years..
Deng, the Father of modern China, should realistically be represented on the currency, rather than the little guy & his great leap backwards..
You don’t see Pol Pot on all of Cambodia’s currency, for example..
I see what you mean. If fewer people these days use cash, then I can understand the lack of demand for larger denominations (e.g. something as solidly tangible as a 100-yen coin).
On the one hand it leaves me worried about the fate of cash in China and whether people will still accept it, especially in situations where power and/or internet connectivity are unavailable (e.g. suppose one’s phone breaks – what happens to all the money in it?). Maybe I’m being paranoid, but I just want to have access to a tried-and-tested system that has served us well for over a century, won’t break if you drop it, and can be worked with without fears of govt. surveillance or reliance on power consumption.
On the other hand, cash can indeed be heavy and have its own degree of cumbersomeness. There’s also the counterfeiting problems I mentioned earlier. If that’s part of the reason most Chinese aren’t using it anymore, then I can only sympathize.
Then again, it was last November when a new version of the 5-yuan note was introduced, so I’m not too sure they’re that ready to abandon cash so soon.
Re: Deng vs Mao, I wonder why they put him on Chinese banknotes in 1999; the previous generation of banknotes did not feature him, let alone prominently.
You’re quite right in pointing to counterfeiting as a prime factor Chinese financial authorities face, especially considering the world’s most prolific and technically proficient currency counterfeiter – North Korea – is right next door and has repeatedly flooded the Chinese economy with virtually impossible-to-distinguish fake notes.
But the other main factors are slightly less dramatic, and fairly much in line with standard international monetary policy. The Chinese the renminbi is indeed ‘state owned’ but it is its ‘non convertible’ status that sets it aside from other national monetary units such as the US dollar, euro, yen. State ‘controlled’ is probably a better way of thinking about it. And again, you’re bang on the money in regards to the importance of this status, as it’s enabled China to retain a large degree of economic independence and in both real and policy terms while navigating the extremely challenging path towards global economic integration.
But back to the subject of denominations: the 100 yuan note – the highest denomination of the renminbi – may well have been exchangeable for around only US$20 in international markets (it’s now around $15, down from approx US$1 = Y5 to the approx current US$1 = 6.5 yuan), but inside of China, especially in the less developed rural regions, Y100 yuan would buy a hell of a lot more than its equivalent value – (let’s stick to) US$20 in the United States. In fact Y100 would probably buy more in China than US$100 would in America, but a reasonable figure for the relative purchasing power of the renminbi versus the US dollar about 5 to 1.
That means a drink costing $1 in American would sell for about 20c in China, or inversely, a standard budget restaurant meal costing about $2 in China would cost around $10 in the US.
Of course, that’s exactly the same as our long-term average exchange rate of US$1 = 5 yuan.
And that of course means that a Y100 note holds around the same relative value and purchasing as a US$100 note.
Governments the world over don’t like money in higher denominations than that as high value notes tend to end up under mattresses or in the hands of criminals and/or on the black market.
And in the case of China, the need for denominations higher than Y100 is met by gold – still readily accepted and very easily converted – and US $100 notes!
So don’t expect to see a Chinese bank note with a higher face value than Y100 any time soon – especially with the digital reminbi on the way.
It’s almost comical how this ”Anon” litters the comment sections with sour grapes; it was the same with the blog post covering the interview with Lavrov. According to ”Anon”, the Axis of Resistance is up to no good whatsoever. Well, people in the Global South may have a ”slightly different” opinion here, but of course it takes the ”Anon”:s of this world to set the record straight with their veering between defeatism, utopianism, and Western imperial arrogance.
I can live with the defeatism, utopianism and imperial arrogance. It is the idiocy that gets to me. We should all club together and buy this anon a gift.
This Chinese table decoration, fruit bowl from Amazon. https://www.rt.com/news/516228-amazon-chinese-potty-fruit-basket/
That’s pretty funny Amarynth!
Some Chinese businessman is having a good laugh somewhere….maybe also sending message? A metaphorical “eat shit” to the Americans…
“We should all club together and buy this anon a gift.”
Why not just club together and buy the anon a doble dose AstraZeneca/Sputnik V jab
” ”We should all club together and buy this anon a gift.”
Yes, absolutely! How about a poetry book dedicated to boosting anon’s fighting spirit? Here’s an example:
List some anti-Zionist acts performed by Russia, China and North Korea.
Russia: Syria + outright banning of Soros Inc.
China: BRI + Teaming up with Russia + Defeating each and every colour revolution stunt +
Raising hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.
DPRK: National independence and total contempt of the Axis of Kindness.
Counter-question: Exactly how difficult is it for anonymous Western ’progressives’ to find one (1) country/leader fighting Western imperialism worthy of their ’support’ ?
the Chinese government thought that fertility was still too high, influenced by the global debate over a possible overpopulation crisis suggested by organizations such as the Club of Rome and the Sierra Club.
The problem was maybe not that much about “overpopulation” but about “overgrowth”.
If all the resources of the country are not enough to bridge the gap and there is a never ending lack of housing, schools, workplace, etc; then it would be impossible to collectively grow and get out of poverty.
By slowing population growth resources were made available to improvement of the Nation as a whole.
Compare India and China, with similar populations and similar date of sovereignty.
Maybe it is just a coincidence; but the country that did slowed population growth fares much better overall.
So, it seems that the Chinese government did the right after all ?
And maybe the Chinese population does see it, and is grateful of that ?
The one child policy was a matter of context and timing. in 1970 to 1980, China was at crossroads. Its citizens are prosperous enough to afford more than one child but the education has yet to catch on. So that makes many people in that decade wanted to have more than one kid: three, or four even. We have to remember that China’s population doubled during the Mao’s era despite some political and economic turbulence. If you are on the seats of CPC high ups at that time, you’ll know how crucial it is to control the growth of Chinese population.
Personally I think the policy was a right call, only that it stayed for a decade too long.
I would like to suggest an alternative definition of democracy.
Democracy is political authority, based on a collective form of power – ‘legitimacy’, granted by the population as a whole.
Dictatorship is political authority based on personal forms of power – wealth and violence (fear and greed).
Elections, in and of themselves, are not democracy. Elections can be an effective tool to express the will of the population. However there can be many other tools, as described in this paper, for determining the will of the population.
Elections, on the other hand, are open to manipulation, and (today, more often than not) can be an equally effective tool to support dictatorship at the expense democracy.
To determine whether a government is democratic or not, one needs to answer one simple question. Does the government work on behalf of the population, as a whole, or on behalf of individuals in control of wealth and violence?
Under the above definitions it is clear that many regimes in the West, particularly in the U.S., the U.K. and the EU have long since ceased to work on behalf of their populations, have lost any democratic legitimacy and are pure dictatorships.
Based on the continuing improvement of living standards of both China and Russia, it is also clear that these governments are concerned with the well-being of their populations, and as a result enjoy a degree of legitimacy that surpasses that of most Western governments.
So which governments are more democratic, the U.S., U.K. and EU, or Russia and China?
The answer is clear!
As to ‘direct democracy’, I commend to all a forgotten novel by William Borden, ‘Superstoe’.
Harpers etc, 1968. All but unknown now and probably out of print. quote from the cover,
A witty novel about a group of intellectuals who take over the American government and
run the nation by logic, for a change. Involves a few assassinations as well as computers.
”Tsinghua Professor Daniel Bell credits democracy at the bottom, experiments in the middle and meritocracy at the top for a string of policy successes.”
Exactly. Works somewhat better than apathy at the bottom, gender confusion in the middle, and kleptocracy at the top.
I wish one would report more on and from local People’s Congresses’ meeting in china and thair role and importance. Such are heald at least once a year in most counties (“xiàn” and/or “shì”) all over most of Mainland CHina and are often very boisterous occations — as I have myself notised on several travels in China.
Quoting Tom Friedman from the NYT hardly gives your article the glorious finish you intended in fact it made me laugh—well, that just blew its believability all to smithereens! Oh yes, the techno fascists loooove China’s data collection/control system. ( eye-roll) snare
LOL, yes i have noticed that too
if the so much hated western NWO praises China’s methods
how can anyone, who cherishes freedom and humanity, praise China?!?
their cognitive dissonance must be EPIC
Only thing to praise China about is they do not have an aggressive foreign policy and it is in their culture to respect other countries’ sovereignity and culture. The micromanagement of their society is not something i would admire, but that is an internal business.
”And The New York Times’ Tom Friedman says wistfully, ’If we could just be China for one day we could actually authorize the right decisions.’ ”
Sorry, but I don’t get what’s supposed to be the ”damning evidence” offered by the above quote. It doesn’t reveal anything except Friedman’s lamenting that the US — for all the mayhem and murder it instigates permanently — can’t keep the Empire afloat while China — peacefully — consolidates her power. It’s got nothing to do with ”praising China”.
Really, as an ironic little backhanded compliment, let it be known that in case Friedman had condemned China’s ”totalitarianism”, the spiritual kinship between the NYT and ”Anon” would have become manifest for everybody here to see.
Data is a two-edged sword. In the western countries we got absolutely used to it being used against us, data gets sold and worse. From China, they say it is different. Data is being used to support the overall well-being of the population. They do not mind living in a data-driven country as mostly it works for them.
Take a look at this, an ordinary Chinese person having to start a court case and how data driven it is. But, it cost this person nothing, and it was damn easy.
Its a quick read and there is a thread unroll at the end to read the whole thing in one document.
Something else on data, and the comment on techno fascism. Yes, it exists and there is no way that I would make light of it. But it behooves us to look a little deeper into what techno fascism is and what good use of technology is.
In the case of China, they have to feed +20% of the world’s population with 7% of the world’s arable land. There is only one way to do it, and that is high precision farming and high digitalization of products. One cannot afford to lose anything from a crop, pre or post-production. I know a bit about farming and the use of drones and robots is mind-boggling. But the increases in yields are also mind-boggling. We’re not calling high-precision farming on the Russian side techno fascism. I don’t see why we should do this on China’s side.
These two videos will probably only be of interest to people that like farming, food production and technology. They may be using methods that you do not like, and for sure, we personally are completely into organic food production. Yet, to categorize these methods as techno fascism would be over the top or misplaced (whichever the right word is, I’m not trying to offend).
This on the ever asked question of the “genocide” against the Muslim Uyghur population in China’s Xinjiang province.
“The US government’s accusation of genocide against China stems from a single source: a June 2020 paper by Adrian Zenz, a right-wing German researcher affiliated with the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation and neoconservative Jamestown Foundation in Washington, DC.”
“While Zenz’s employers describe him as “one of the world’s leading scholars on People’s Republic of China government policies towards the country’s western regions of Tibet and Xinjiang,” he is, in fact, a far-right Christian fundamentalist who has said he is “led by God” against China’s government, deplores homosexuality and gender equality, and has taught exclusively in evangelical theological institutions.”
Because the issue gets raised frequently, this link also includes information about the now-defunct one-child policy.
zog (zone A as saker describes) media refuses to mention the wests active funding and training of urygur seperatists. from the cold war to today with zog supported rat lines to syria and the caliphate. (malysia thailand etc catches a few and deports them back) usa bleats about human rights. sometimes they linger in asia and blow up some stuff as practice for syria where its open knowledge they have their own territory. zog paid good money for their jihadists to be turned back . a great export only recently stopped was the saudi immans spreading Wahhabism. china has restricted schools and visas for these guys to indoctrinate. no wonder the west cries about re education. what nation wouldnt want to re educate wahhabists.
“now-defunct one-child policy.”
so lets analyze this:
a country B from Zone B had insufficient resources to provide for their population
so they enacted the one-child policy to limit population growth
but now that B is much richer and can buy resources, the one-child policy is shelved
a country A from Zone A had sufficient resources, so anyone could copulate as they pleased,
but now that A is much poorer and has less resources to go around,
they promote abortions, same-sex child-less marriages and gender-confusions
to limit population growth
anyone can see that both countries had/have the same goal, only using different methods
but here is the kicker:
for me, country A is more humane, because the ones suffering will be the truly imbeciles who
fall for the propaganda, while country B made everybody suffer the same and made everybody
so yea… i can honestly say: GO USA!
@ Anon at 1:20 pm
Your rant sounds much like a hasbara troll hammering away in an air conditioned state sponsored office in Herzliya. Or is it Langley DC?
Do they pay you in shekels or dollars? That would answer the question.
Hey, i would gladly accept their job offer.
But as I am an equal opportunity employee – i would also accept to be Putin’s or Lavrov’s replacement.
Bigger offer wins. Start the bidding.
I read an impertinence, reminding me to a certain Navalny.
China is not forcing the world to adopt the one child policy.
USA is forcing the world to incorporate LGBT trends in our culture.
The gender confusions is not about limiting population growth or else they would not have opened the borders wide open to third world immigrants who have a higher birthrate.
The gender confusions is about creating more individualism which is good for consumerism and more control over society.
“China is not forcing the world to adopt the one child policy.”
China DIDNT force it on the world because at that time, China didnt control the world
(or Zone B). This doesnt mean that when the time comes when Zone B has limited or negative growth
that China wont impose their policies onto other Zone B countries.
“USA is forcing the world to incorporate LGBT trends in our culture.”
Well yes, because wherever you are you are probably in Zone A, and the Empire (not just USA)
is having limited or negative growth. This means you too (as part of the Empire)
“they would not have opened the borders wide open”
This is GOP propaganda to smear the Democrats. Both Obama and Trump sent millions of refugees “packing”.
There are plenty of sources on the internet about that.
Sure, when the West was growing they let immigrants in. Now not so much. Or only as many are needed to
dilute the population structure so no strong resistance against the establishment can be organized.
China will not force anything on the world because their society is introverted and that of confucian balance and harmony which is official ccp policy.
China has a sovereignist ideology not a globalist (except for trade).
China could have used force to incorporate Taiwan, they didn’t and they won’t.
China could have exported their cultural or political ideology to poor African nations it trades with but it didn’t.
Soviet Union could have exported communism to Italy and Greece but they didn’t because Russia had communism in one country policy and they did not liberate those countries in ww2, they kept their word to the Americans. Italy and Greece should have been communist after ww2 but thanks to Soviet Union they weren’t.
After collapse of Soviet Union, Nato and Americans did not keep their word not to expand Nato.
It has everything to do with culture when (not) infringing upon other people’s culture and sovereignity.
Borders are still wide open in western EU for migrants.
AI use in classrooms is being used/trialed all around the world particularly in Asia, they always had a fond of technology ever since the Japanese economic boom in the 80s. It is an Asian thing and not only of CCP.
“The gender confusions is about creating more individualism which is good for consumerism and more control over society.”
or perhaps to provide cover for all the oestrogens in the food
What is your fixation of One Child Policy? It was a matter of utmost importance and timing at the time: 1970’s-80’s China is prosperous enough for people to have more than one child but the education has yet to caught up. People wanted to have three or even four children. China population doubled during Mao’s era despite the tumultuous political and economic situation. With only 7% arable land, do you think China can control yet another doubling of their population? The policy was right, albeit is stay a decade too long.
But you wouldn’t care about nuance wouldn’t you? You’re just going to ‘hurr durr one child policy bad’ because a government wanted to avoid overpopulation crisis is the most evilest thing on earth.
Looking for references to Uighurs, Tibet and ethnic minority groups, can’t see.
Sackerson, here are some good links that I hope will answer your questions:
China and the Uyghurs;
China’s Uyghur problem – The unmentioned part;
Xinjiang religious leader: US should get facts straight;
Seventy years of U.S. destabilization in China, the U.S sponsored Uyghur insurgency in Xinjiang;
Thank you, I *will* have a look at your links (btw I forgot to ask about Hong Kong).
However the special pleading about democracy – if it is understood, as most Western people would understand it, to include personal freedom, privacy, civil rights and limits on the power of the State – doesn’t square with the ‘social credit’ system. Effective, perhaps, but tyrannical, and not less so because allegedly supported by a majority of voters.
Thank you, I *will* have a look at your links (btw I forgot to ask about Hong Kong).
However the special pleading about democracy – if it is understood, as most Western people would understand it, to include personal freedom, privacy, civil rights and limits on the power of the State – doesn’t square with the ‘social credit’ system. Effective, perhaps, but tyrannical, and not less so because allegedly supported by a majority of voters.
Okay, having looked over your links:
1. I don’t defend any misbehaviour that the US may have shown in its foreign policy. I am an anti imperialist and that goes for China too.
2. I accept that an element among Muslims presents challenges for more than just liberal Western democracies; but a too ruthless response tarnishes the State. We in the UK struggle with striking the right balance but we feel we have certain political values and traditions to uphold.
Thank you for engaging reasonably – on Facebook it would simply turn into a slanging match.
You will find more helpful information here from L445;
I was a “power broker” once upon a time. The long ongoing tap root rot I indeed witnessed; e.g., Clinton gave green light to investment banks’ “subprime” financial warfare. Reagan 1980s, manipulations for billionaires, 24% interest rates overnight! And, Wars, 1960s, e.g., Vietnam & “evildoers”, Nixon, et al. Before my time, 1933, the Great Depression warned and was forgotten. China made a deal with the FED, and there was/is an agenda (2001-2003). Only one child policy created Big T boys, and they came of age. China’s Opium War via Rothchild, a reckoning to be sure. China is not going to allow nor are any of the BRICS, going to allow Rothchild to own world earth. Texas is an interesting timing,
I refused loans to “Big T” boys from China (2003,4,5??) or thereabouts. As a mostly starving artiest my whole life I was definately disapointed & depressed.
The East is not going to be the slop carrier for the West anymore.
My choice is for every human being to be free, a body called government isn’t modernized enough! Digital algorithms have completely changed the dynamic, of course the technology is an instant electromagnetic learning tool.
Marx, my cousin once removed said: “People of the world unite, all you have to lose are your chains”. I stand in his long in the tooth wisdom.
Been arrested x2, jailed & tortured x2, every material world valuable and loss of loved ones too, all for the most begone… simply because I refuse to shut up about “what it is”:
Saker’ blog truly stellar, Great Shining LIGHT an understatement (Moon of Alabama I also bow to the LIGHTS)
Short 8 minute report on using AI on children in China. The school children wear headbands with sensors- one is right on the area know as the third eye. All the data from their brain activity if fed into the teachers computer, and then fed into the AI ‘educational” research center.
Quote from a child in the interview:
“At first we got headaches, we felt like it was controlling us. Then we got used to it.”
common man, that is clearly a western propaganda video
to discredit china’s glorious achievements
you must be a pro-western imperialist /sarc
Actually you’re quite right – WSJ is published by Dow Jones & Co. a division of News Corp owned by American zionist Rupert Murdoch
anon, regret to tell you that but everybody in America except Tony Blinker, and Jake Sullypant nowadays think it obvious that China ‘s achievements cannot discredited that easy.
But America can yes dream about them – dreams usually pay no tax , although nightmares about their artificial islands are tax deductible.
And that’ s why so many so expensive psyops, carriers’ ocean promenades and unison presstitute howls are being run simultaneously.
Why don t you instead contract a Chinese company to build up a passenger bullet train railway from NY to Frisco? They ve got over a dozen of them.
The newest MagLev model is on the testing track; 600 kph (400 mph)..
Russia is planning its own version: Moscow to the Caucasus..
The US? Can’t afford it..
It is very interesting that still people believe in you tube, facebook, twitter and partly Google as well as in writings of some news papers or magazines and all this
without taking into consideration that far too many are political motivated “handles” of USA and to a lesser degree EU.
It seems that those people believe in political motivated pics or articles etc. as having never heard of political manipulation through websites, movies, etc. And all this despite numerous facts that pictures etc. can be easily manipulated and are fat too often done.
Omg those poor kids. And I bet they don’t even have Drag Queen Story Hour to teach “deeper lessons on diversity and appreciation of others”, nor were they taught about trans-genderism and masturbatation when they were six years old!
I don’t think having an electromagnetic transmitter on their heads all day long is healthy. It has been proven to cause brain tumors.
I have nieces and nephews attending school in China. I’m very skeptical of this ‘report’.
Anyone here even up to date enough to know that in most Chinese schools they’ve banned smartphones for the kids. No more phones in school time.
Uyghurs. The hot button for US/West propaganda war.
Consume this documentary. Then tell me about the Uyghurs.
It only takes a few hundred fanatics to conduct a terror war. But the “sea” they operated in was millions of good people, terrorized and traumatized by the fanatics.
China made a serious mistake not reporting the war for ten years.
And they generally use the term that means the most to them, separatism.
Well, the separatists killed a lot of innocent Uyghurs and others.
Take a look.
Some of the attacks were bestial.
Here is a second documentary on Uyghur Terrorism/Separatism.
Noted how the Soros sponsored US department of State support and champion separatists in Kosovo, Kurdistan, Balochistan, (to name but three), but separatists in Donbass, not so much….
and certainly not in Crimea!
Excellent article, an explantion that coheres is a rare thing. Also very close to Aristotle’s theory of democracy that did not elevate the ballot, but the interests of the common citizen and the direct running of state. All the rest he called oligarchic.
@Greg Schofield: “All the rest he [Aristotle] called oligarchic.”
I thought oligarch was a Russian word. Thanks for setting me right. As they say, the Greeks had a word for it.
Very impressive. China’s governance is highly experimentalist but is nonetheless recognisable in classical terms. It appears to be a mixture of aristocracy and democracy. The democratic element is the Peoples Congress which is elected from the base units of the Republic. The aristocratic elements consist of all the governing agencies and special interest groups who basically conceive and propose legislative initiatives which are then subjected to trial spots or test runs, as we might say, in specific and limited areas. These people are not elected but self selected or appointed (usually an examination system is involved) If they succeed in small areas they might then be tried on larger ones and if proven successful, which is to say if they pass muster with the Congress they are adopted nation wide.
The principle of the matter is that the people are relied upon to distinguish good from bad in their collectivity. The Romans relied upon this popular spirit to guide their decisions. When the senators were wanting to establish a piece of legislation they’d show up in the Forum and announce their law. If it was praised by the people, it was law. If silence, same (silence is consent). But if it was objected to, booed down, the senators would retreat to their chambers and it was back to the drawing board. The prevailing assumptions were similar in China, actually. Mencius: ‘Heaven thinks as the people think’. This was a good 2200 yeas before Mao came along. The Great Helmsman didn’t just make things up; the ideas were there already. But in any case what the Chinese are doing, at least such as I understand it, is actually standard faire for Republican constitutions in it’s essentials. The aristocratic element proposes; the democratic element judges and decides yes or no.
The real difference between the Chinese and Western forms is the difference between aristocracy and oligarchy. I contend that the Chinese ensemble of agencies, planners, review boards and so forth deserve the qualification of ‘aristocracy’ because they are clearly working in favour of the public good and are at least mainly free of corruption.
I have to back up here a bit. Most of us are not clear about these terms. Aristocracy and oligarchy are the two primary terms of classical political philosophy that distinguish the character of the ‘few’ as in ‘the one’, ‘the few’ and ‘the many’. The few can be good or bad. If good the correct term is aristocracy; if bad we use the term oligarchy. The difference between good and evil here is that a good constitution is one that is oriented to the benefit of the public; the public good comes first. In an oligarchy the public good is shorted by the rulers who think only of their private gain. So they steal public funds and salt them away in their offshore accounts. This is oligarchy. Interestingly, what most particularly qualifies Chinese governance as aristocratic is the new policing system put in place by Xi, the anti corruption cops. This is a big department that is exclusively concerned with government or Party officials and the people who do or might corrupt them. Prior to Xi there was a great deal of corruption because of all the land reforms and a need for high economic growth, so it was tolerated if not indulged in by the Party chiefs. But now that the corruption cops have been licensed to kill, the party’s over. Interestingly, this to has a democratic aspect, namely the hundreds of blogs on the Chinese net that are run by individuals who take it upon themselves to blow the whistle when they smell foul play among the governors. Something like 40% of convictions originate with these ‘sharp eyes’ as Mao called them (‘The people have sharp eyes’).
Godfree Roberts’ explanation for the near unanimity of the Peoples Congress makes sense, to me at least. And I might add that unanimity is actually typical of tribal cultures throughout the world, for example the ‘talking stick’ circle that is common with the Native American councils. There, unanimity is the norm. But in any case it’s actually the Western Congresses which deserve the ‘rubber stamp’ characterisation. These days the corruption is right out in the open, since it’s legal (People’s United). Now the buyers of legislative goods pay cash on the barrel head as campaign contributions and issue legislative text already scripted by corporate lawyers. All that remains is ‘the rubber stamp’. It goes without saying that all legislation bought in this way serves private purposes and never the public good.
The specific procedures developed to produce and ratify legislation are of the greatest interest but here my main concern was to observe that contemporary Chinese practice is basically in line with longstanding republican practice. Indeed, what the Chinese are doing is actively revisioning what a republic can be. I expect that in time this will have enormous influence upon Chinas neighbours. It doesn’t look like a culturally specific one-off thing to me.
In this stage of global politics it seems to be that business people (with tiny group of real scientists) are the only who reasoning things and at least try to find facts instead of fictions. Especially when it’s question about real economy, energy production chains, strategic critical raw materials, productivity and costs.
When we go to media one will find no hope. I have never found as vicious warmongers among generals as among media pundits.