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More on China…

March 26, 2012

Super tired, but had a quick thought that I’m curious what you guys think of.  China’s government isn’t a democracy, but it’s certainly populist, and if not entirely, at least increasingly.  Why isn’t that enough?  Why do they need Democracy if they’re aware of people’s opinions via twitter and other social networks, as well as protests, and look to respond to them?  The regrettable things that they’ve done like destroying villages, re-routing rivers, etc is always about the larger social benefit, is it not?  The Communist Party’s principal aim is to remain in power, but it seems to me that they understand that maintaining power only comes with keeping Chinese citizens happy.  Aren’t the Communist Party’s actions largely driven by appeasement?

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One Comment
  1. There are two responses to your question, Vic. Both of them assume
    that the CCP does factor in public opinion and does seek to appease
    the populace. But I also argue that the CPP also places limits
    because it is still essentially run by 25 men who constitute the final
    say on just about anything.

    First, appeasement is a viable option when the economy is booming, as
    China’s has for the past decade. But if the economy slides into a
    recession, the appeasement will only work to a certain point. If the
    market naturally ebbs and flows, and China has one of the largest
    disparities in wealth, and much of its astronomical population is
    still dependent on enormous government aid (the consequences of a
    post-communistic regime), the ebbing of China’s market will look
    severe. This gets me to my second point.

    At the end of the day, China is not a democracy. It’s not even a
    republic. There is no seperation of powers, no adherence to the rule
    of law. It has ripped through 4 constitutions since the mid-twentieth
    century, which are not worth the paper they are written on. Yet, many
    scholars think China can sustain massive growth and standards of
    living changes that will not create lasting influences on its culture
    and population. One of my main contentions is that technology affects
    civilizations as it increases the freedom of information and it calls
    for open institutions. Factors like the abovementioned ebbing of
    China’s market may precipitate what I argue is the inevitability of
    civil unrest. The population calls for reform based on freedom of
    information and rule of law. But CPP needs to silence open
    institutions in the name of collective solidarity. The CPP, like all
    institutions founded on central authority, is not primarily concerned
    with the people. It is concerned with survival. The satisfaction of
    the people is the easiest way to survive in this era. But when that
    point passes, the CPP will dispel civil unrest by any means necessary.

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