14 Aug 2019     home

The Media and whether China is a Democracy

Again we have news of a pro-democracy protests disturbing the government of China. Demonstrators, some violent, have occupied Hong Kong's airport, intending, or hoping to remove any authority by Beijing over Hong Kong. Since 1997 Hong Kong has been a part of China and Hong Kong is scheduled to be completely integrated politically with China in 2047 (after fifty years of one-country, two systems).

Nancy Pelosi joins bias regarding China with a tweet that "Democrats & Republicans continue to stand united with the people of Hong Kong in demanding their right to a hopeful, free & democratic future." This touches on the question whether China can provide the Hong Kong with democracy. The leader of the demonstrations, Joshua Long (age 23) doesn't think so. He's a Christian anti-Communist who has spoken of denying China any authority over Hong Kong including from the year 2047.

It's my opinion that Hong Kong protesters are not contributing to what Pelosi speaks of as its "democratic future." And I side with some at Quora.com who improve on the mainstream media's simplistic interpretation of whether China is a democracy.

A contributor to Quora who has lived in China answered that the majority in China are happy with their government and that the government "in general terms responds to the desires of the majority of its people." He points to Pew Global Research results that has 85 percent in China satisfied with their country's direction compared to 31 percent in the United States. But still his opinion is that China is not a democracy.

Someone says that at the village level China is a democracy. Some others argue that a country that has a one party political system can be democratic, that any patriotic individual wanting to contribute and have his say within that party, but that troublemakers (those against the system) are not allowed membership.

On Quora a Chinese woman observes that we should take into consideration that in Chinese history "a strong central government means a peaceful nation; a weak central government means disorder."

And on Quora a woman who describes herself as a Chinese from China gives the UK, France and major European countries a democracy grade of 90-95, South Korea 85, China 70, North Korea 0, and the US 100.

I like the above answer except that I wouldn't give the US a 100 grade, although I appreciate that people in the US are not being locked up for their political opinions. During the Cold War some in the US wanted to lock up communists, and a few were locked up for awhile, but cooler heads prevailed, with lockups not for political thoughts but for those charged with actual crimes like espionage, bomb-throwing, etcera.

Maybe I would give China a higher grade than 70, but even a 70 grade allows me to label China as a democracy rather then not.

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Copyright © 2019 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.