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This post was edited by markwu at 2017-4-11 09:10|
Has it already been a decade? We had broached this topic then and here. I still think China is not yet ready for full-blown democracy although during the Qing era, it almost got started on elections.
It is not so much the ideals of democracy that is the problem but the process of electioneering and the result.
The process of electioneering is cumbersome and costly. It takes months to prepare for an election, and millions of monies to do so. All to elect someone you hardly know into office for four years so that s.he can say something s.he thinks you want to hear that may in any case not be received by her/his party let alone members of other parties composed of the same pools of humanity for that matter citizens from the same village, neighborhood, family even.
The process also wastes millions of man-hours and brings productivity down across the land, burning paper and bytes, tiring tongues and eyes, creating discord, denuding social harmony, festering ill feelings. After all, democracy needs competition of differences in order to be democracy but at the end of the day, the elected still has to do something according to the (a) laws, and (b) the situation, and (c) her/his survival for a return in the next election.
Elections are also fertile grounds for corruption. An election run-up requires millions to buy banners and tv time, write social media pieces, get interviewed favorably, pay election workers and shower gifts on potential voters. Where will all the money come from if not from companies wishing to hedge their bets and curry favor should the candidate be elected into influential office later? Any election allowance given will be only a pittance against what is required to mount an election. It is when the candidate gets elected that the problem starts since his funders will start to ask for the very favors which seed corruption; this means overpriced projects, under-declared taxes, and substandard supplies or structures. When one starts, others follow because precedents are set.
There are other tricks in democratic election campaigning. One is vote splitting. Say, party A has less voter support than party B. Party A then creates party C to sell new burning platforms that appeal to the uneducated masses of party B. Votes for party B then move to party C, weakening party B but not strong enough to elect party C so that on election day, Party A is last man standing.
The next point is the disproportionate importance of the electoral college. Democratic elections only result in one group of winner members based on an arithmetic majority. Let's say it's party A which wins but at only 51 percent of the popular vote. In any issue later on, all seat-holders under party A in the electoral college will have to unanimously support a motion on the issue even if some of its members may personally disagree with the motion by their party, what more the 49 percent of the opposition which will fully disagree with the same motion. If those in-party dissenters don't support, party A can expel them from membership on disciplinary grounds.
Another point is gerrymandering of the electorates. Before any election, the voting grounds are delineated by an election committee. If the committee is not impartial, it can draw the lines such that only a few voters known to be favorable to a particular party need fall within the electorate area concerned in order to create one winning electoral seat for the party preferred whereas many voters who favor another party will be made to fall into another area which means the weightage of their votes will be reduced by their numbers needed to vote in one electoral seat for that party besides wasting election resources of that party needed to ensure their voters don't jump to the other party.
Yet another point is of course the quality and education of voters and candidates. These need not be elaborated further since i vaguely remember having narrated the matter the last time.
But it is not these issues alone which discourage consideration at this juncture on the democratization process. It is because, i think, there are other new looming challenges ahead which requires a strong government to run a stable and progressive society, and democracy as something new to so many may just create risks that can upturn progress made so far besides seeding chaos that antagonists would like to see.
One of these challenges is the direction of China's demographics at just the point of incipient need for domestification of her economy while challenged by the need to make massive paradigm shifts in such areas as national productivity and competitive innovation.