Not a Parody — China’s White Paper on Democracy


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[First published October 20, 2005] China has published a white paper, “Building of Political Democracy in China.” (full paper here). This is a remarkable paper and provides an invaluable view of the Chinese communist elite’s perception of democracy, or what they believe would justify their dictatorship to the democracies. In short, what we see as red, they claim is truly blue. A few choice paragraphs:

In the course of their modern history, the Chinese people have waged unrelenting struggles and made arduous explorations in order to win their democratic rights. But only under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) did they really win the right to be masters of the state. The Chinese people dearly cherish and resolutely protect their hard-earned democratic achievements.

Because situations differ from one country to another, the paths the people of different countries take to win and develop democracy are different. Based on the specific conditions of China, the CPC and the Chinese people first engaged in a New Democratic Revolution, and after New China was founded in 1949, and proceeding from the actual situation of the primary stage of socialism, began to practice socialist democracy with its own characteristics. The experience over the past few decades has proved that embarking on this road of development of political democracy chosen by the Chinese people themselves not only realized the Chinese people’s demand to be masters of their own country, but is also gradually realizing their common ideal to build their country into a strong and modern socialist country. . . .

The experience of political civilization of mankind over a history of several millenniums is ample proof of the truth that the political system a country adopts and the road to democracy it takes must be in conformity with the conditions of that country. The socialist political democracy of China is rooted in the vast land of fertile soil on which the Chinese nation has depended for its subsistence and development over thousands of years. It grew out of the experience of the CPC and the Chinese people in their great practice of striving for national independence, liberation of the people and prosperity of the country. It is the apt choice suited to China’s conditions and meeting the requirement of social progress.

Then there is the choice part of the paper on “Respecting and Safeguarding Human Rights:”

Respecting and safeguarding human rights, ensuring that the people enjoy extensive rights and freedom according to law, represents an intrinsic requirement for the development of socialist democracy. Socialist democracy means that all power of the state belongs to the people and people enjoy in real terms the civil rights prescribed in the Constitution and law. China’s socialist democracy is a kind of democracy built on the basis that citizens’ rights are guaranteed and constantly developed.

As a committed representative of the Chinese people’s fundamental interests, the CPC has always taken as its basic task the maintenance of national sovereignty and independence, as well as the safeguarding and development of the various rights of the people, and regards the rights to subsistence and development as the paramount human rights. The CPC adheres to taking development as the task of first importance, implements the scientific concept of putting the people first and seeking an overall, coordinated and sustainable development, and strives to promote economic development and social progress to satisfy the people’s multiple needs and realize their all-round development.

The Chinese Constitution comprehensively stipulates the citizens’ basic rights and freedoms. Based on the Constitut ion, China has enacted a series of laws on the protection of human rights, and set up a relatively comprehensive legal system for the protection of human rights. On the basis of achievements made over the 50-plus years of economic and social development, the Chinese people are now enjoying human rights more comprehensive and fuller than they have ever enjoyed in the past.

All I can say is read my “Introduction and Overview” of China’s Bloody Century (here), and note that even with the recent advance in freedom of the Chinese people (still not democracy, even electorally), as Michael Backman says (from here):

China routinely executes hundreds and sometimes thousands of its citizens each year. There were 27,120 death sentences reported in China’s official media in the 1990s and more than 18,000 confirmed executions. More than 50 crimes are punishable by death. Famously, relatives of the executed are invoiced for bullets used in the dispatch.

Pre-trial confessions are still relied on extensively in place of forensic evidence and although torture is illegal it is still used to extract confessions. It is likely that many innocent people are executed each year on the basis of such “confessions”.

The legal system is poorly resourced. Many judges are poorly trained. They are nominated by local and provincial party committees and approved by local people’s congresses. The congresses provide the salaries, housing and other benefits for judges, many of whom are former military personnel with little or no legal training. There is not even a pretence of judicial independence: judges are expected to discuss sensitive cases with members of their local Communist Party political-legal committees before making rulings..

As to the Chinese Communist Party’s after 1949 beginning to “practice socialist democracy with its own characteristics,” what these characteristics were is well illustrated in the pie chart below.


Link of Note

“[China's] DF-5 (CSS-4) INTERCONTINENTAL BALLISTIC MISSILE

:

The Dong Feng-5 (DF-5, NATO codename: CSS-4) is China’s first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Developed by China Academy of Launch Vehicle (CALT, also known as 1st Aerospace Academy), it is a silo-based, two-stage, liquid propellant ballistic missile. The missile carries a single 3 megatons nuclear warhead and has an effective range of 12,000km. The DF-5A is the improved variant with an extended range. The PLA currently deploys approximately 24~36 of this missile deployed in central China.

Following the success of the DF-4 (CSS-3) long-range ballistic missile, in 1964 China began to develop its first true ICBM capable of reaching the United States. The same design was also later used to develop China’s Chang Zheng (Long March) family space launch vehicle and became the foundation of the Chinese space programme.

RJR: And liberals and libertarians oppose our development of a missile space shield, which they still derisively call “Star Wars.” But, they offer no alternative defense except massive retaliation against Chinese ICBMs. Keep in mind what this would mean — the killing of tens of millions of Chinese people in retaliation for what a gang of Chinese communist thugs have done.


Links I Must Share

Terrorism Knowledge Base
RJR: this is an incredible resource, and even enables you to generate online your own terrorism time series charts.

Transparancy International
RJR: Provides a corruption index for most nations. Least corrupt is Iceland, U.S. is ranked 17th, under Germany and Hong Kong. At the bottom is Chad. China is 78th, along with Morocco, Senegal, Sri Lanka, and Suriname. It seems from scanning the ranks that the democracies are the least corrupt. If no one correlated these ranking with democratic freedom, I will.


“Death With A Smile”
A docudrama of China’s Cultural Revolution

2 Responses to Not a Parody — China’s White Paper on Democracy

  1. My fellow on Facebook shared this link and I’m not dissapointed that I came to your blog.
    p.s. Year One is already on the Internet and you can watch it for free.

  2. JStone says:

    I do not often have the opportunity to debate China and its politics with other Chinese in Australia.

    This may sound surprising given that I am married to a Chinese woman, am aquainted with many Chinese, and often have dinner with various Chinese born Australians.

    Oddly, I have reluctantly concluded that I have a greater interest in China’s history and its current politics than most Chinese that I come in contact with. This is a shame given the richness of the cultural and political landscape that is China.

    I find that even my very own wife lacks any genuine interest in discussing the increasing prominence of China’s actions on the world stage, and what its internal struggle for democracy means for those living in China. She is more interested in events that may impact her directly, such as the value of the yuan or the performance of the Chinese stock market.

    There are however a few people I know who do have very interesting views on China, and who are not afraid to express themselves. These people have grown up in China, and so their views are of paticular interest to me.

    Having said that I should state from the outset that not only am I an unabashed Sinophile, but that I also appreciate the difficulties that the Chinese government must deal with in order to keep such a large and diverse nation together.

    Unlike many of my highly educated colleagues at my work, I do not take the view that democracy above all is the most important goal of a nation. Quality of life must come first, and it is here that I think the cautious but ultimately benelovent approach of the Chinese government shines through.

    Make no mistake, I realise that the government has made many serious mistakes and that poverty and corruption is rampant in China, but I am speaking in relative and pragmatic terms, not in ideal terms.

    What has really caught me by surprise however has been the general agreement on this point from those least expected.

    Why is this so surpising you ask?

    Well, these very same Chinese that I refer to were the same Chinese who as students in Australia in the late 1980s effectively defected from China after the Tianemen Square protests. These people had a rabid resentment for the oppressive Chinese government at the time, so much so that they permanently left China as a result.

    These same people now praise the current Chinese government and defend its actions.

    Surprising yes, but not remarkable given the changes in China over the last 20 years.

    Overall, I think that the general political apathy of most Chinese Australians, and the otherwise supportive attitude towards the Chinese government’s iron hold of the vestiges of political power, says a lot about the Chinese, their aspirations, values and their hopes.

    It seems that at least for Chinese Australians, health, wealth and happiness is the ultimate goal of life, and although political freedom is a nice to have for most people, it plays little role in the thinking of most Chinese.

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