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Old 2008-08-30, 14:50   Link #1101
Xellos-_^
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
Sorry, but that's a cop-out. You honestly believe that what happened during the Tang Dynasty and other such dynasties has any impact on what's going on with China today? I would not argue that certain aspects of the culture and social thought can be derived from the distant past, but things are incredibly different. The only thing that China's long history has an impact on, in my opinion, is China's national identity and pride. That's it. If you want to argue about complexity, I could create a compelling argument that America is more complex due to the "melting pot" scenario derived from having many, many more cultures mixing and mingling. China's population vs. America's diversity: let's just agree that they're both complex, and not argue over which is "more" complex.
i don't think what hari is trying to say is that what happen during the Tang Dynasty is affecting what is happening in China today. But that China has unbroken 5000 years of history with a similar culture and mindset and that has continue to today.

what i think Hari is saying is that you can't this mindset in few decades.

China's transformation is going to take awhile, decades maybe upto a century. What the final result would be is anyone guess. It could be a western style democracy or something completely different. Whatever China turn into is upto China and its people. Which is a point that most westerners can't seem to gaspe, that China can a successful country without turing into a western country.


Quote:
Transformation doesn't have to do with wealth, it has to do with the people in the country. If the Chinese people want to have more freedom, they will have to work toward it. Similarly, here in America we're experiencing a decay in our freedoms - because the people either want it or are simply not fighting against it.
Transformation doesn't have to do with wealth but it does have to do with education. You can't just tell someone they have democracy when they have no idea what it means and what responsbilities it entails.

If China suddenly turns into a democracy right this instance. I am willing to put every penny i have in vegas that there will be a Civil War and breakup of the coutry. With the US and western countries trying to play faction off the other. People like KJM and Zone would be thrill if something like this happen. Not so much the people caught in the civil war.

@hari

stop responding to zone87, he is a troll.
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Old 2008-08-30, 14:56   Link #1102
Zoned87
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Re-education is the quickest way to change a country, more schools in rural communitys would do China good.
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Old 2008-08-30, 15:33   Link #1103
TinyRedLeaf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
Transformation doesn't have to do with wealth, it has to do with the people in the country. If the Chinese people want to have more freedom, they will have to work toward it. Similarly, here in America we're experiencing a decay in our freedoms - because the people either want it or are simply not fighting against it.
The Chinese, along with people in other developing countries, don't need more freedom at this moment. What they do need, however, is respect for the rule of law and substantially less corruption.

When it comes to corruption, I despair. It is rampant throughout Asia. It is endemic. It is a way of life. Common folk do not even question its existence — graft is the accepted means to get to the top, and once you get high enough, it's your turn to milk the powerless for every penny they've got. Justice is a sham, judges can be bought, witnesses can be intimidated, evidence can be fabricated. The police? They're no better than the mafia, except for their prettier uniforms.

How does anyone even begin to fix such a problem?

Forget democracy. Most of Asia is not ready for it. The Philippines made a mess out of its American-style democracy. Thailand is a joke, whose idea of democracy is to throw out an unpopular government through the power of the mob. The biggest, wealthiest private company in Indonesia is the TNI — its Armed Forces. Taiwan's idea of democractic debate involves officials fighting one another during parliamentary sessions, broadcasted on national TV. These countries or territories are all a mere fraction of China's size in terms of both geography and population. If they have such a hard time of it, can you imagine the scale of China's problem?

I'll be brutally frank. At this stage of their development, most Asian countries are better off being ruled by enlightened despots. In a society where everyone is a crook, it's best to give power to the crook with the most integrity. In China's case, that's the Chinese Communist Party.

You don't have a choice but to work with the lesser of two evils. That's the way to do business in most of Asia.
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Old 2008-08-30, 15:43   Link #1104
Anh_Minh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xellos-_^ View Post
i don't think what hari is trying to say is that what happen during the Tang Dynasty is affecting what is happening in China today. But that China has unbroken 5000 years of history with a similar culture and mindset and that has continue to today.

what i think Hari is saying is that you can't this mindset in few decades.
Hari's trying to argue that breaking away from 5000 years of monarchy's harder than breaking away from 1000 years of it. I can't say I agree with that. For most people, either duration is the same: "forever".

Though I do agree with the statement that change on such a scale takes time, though.
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Old 2008-08-30, 15:44   Link #1105
Intranetusa
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Scale has nothing to do with it. India has almost as many people as China, and their democracy is fairly successful.

As for Taiwan, sure they have those parliamentary brawls, but their government system is still less corrupt than the PRC at nearly every level.


btw, Chinese civilization is 4000 years old, and Chinese history is 3200 years old. I dunno where the number 5000 comes from. It's not offically considered history unless there is writing (Shang at around 1200-1600 BCE), and the earliest Chinese civilization is the Xia at 3000 BCE... The Yellow Emperor legend is a myth that shouldn't taken into account.
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Old 2008-08-30, 15:53   Link #1106
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Either way it's an extremely long time.
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Old 2008-08-30, 16:13   Link #1107
Xellos-_^
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Intranetusa View Post
Scale has nothing to do with it. India has almost as many people as China, and their democracy is fairly successful.

As for Taiwan, sure they have those parliamentary brawls, but their government system is still less corrupt than the PRC at nearly every level.

http://wiredispatch.com/news/?id=300693

Quote:
Shih Ming-teh, a former leader of Chen's Democratic Progressive Party, said the money could be the tip of the iceberg. He accused Chen of taking at least $85 million from an entrepreneur bidding for bank ownership during a spate of mergers initiated by the government in 2005. He refused to identify the businessman.
Chen left the presidency in May 2008, two months after his party's candidate was beaten in the presidential poll by the then-opposition Nationalists.




Quote:
btw, Chinese civilization is 4000 years old, and Chinese history is 3200 years old. I dunno where the number 5000 comes from. It's not offically considered history unless there is writing (Shang at around 1200-1600 BCE), and the earliest Chinese civilization is the Xia at 3000 BCE... The Yellow Emperor legend is a myth that shouldn't taken into account.
because 5000 sounds better then 4000 or 3269
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Old 2008-08-30, 16:47   Link #1108
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Originally Posted by Intranetusa View Post
Scale has nothing to do with it. India has almost as many people as China, and their democracy is fairly successful.
India's current political system owes a lot of its success to the British Empire and the fact that India's independence was won by a man named Gandhi, London-educated and a pacifist. The unification of the Hindu parts of the Indian nation was achieved through mostly peaceful means (Pakistan, and the Indian-Pakistan partition, were different matters altogether, obviously), and its first generation of leaders (ie Nehru) were heavily influenced by Western political systems and ideas.

China, by comparison, did not fare nearly as well. Chinese nationhood is an outgrowth of Chinese empire (ie the Qing Dynasty). Chinese nationalist leaders looked not to the US or Britain, but to Germany and Japan for models. Then came the Communists, heavily influenced by the Bolsheviks of Russia, and several devastating, brutal wars - some fought against foreign invaders, others fought amongst themselves. The Chinese nation was forged from fire and violence, through the barrels of a gun, as Mao would call it.

The different courses taken by India and China are not all that unexpected, if you look closely at the circumstances. China had much more in common with pre-WW 2 Japan, North Korea, and pre-democracy South Korea than it did with India. It was not a true colony of any European empire, and as such it never inherited European government structures. This differentiates it from post-war Japan and South Korea, also, since both were occupied by the US and received a great deal of Western political influences from those occupations.

I'm not trying to suggest here that only the West can create working democracies, but that the political traditions of China are different than that of the other countries in question. Democracy is not a native concept of Asia. It is a Western import, and as such adapted to a very different kind of culture. It took hundreds of years, if not thousands, for individualism, the rule of law, and Christian guilt to create the modern West. The same cultural trends simply did not exist in Asia, and it is therefore understandable that democracy there depended on Western influence.

As it is, Western influence in China was limited. The West never directly occupied China, as it had done to India, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and so on. The West was also completely shut out of China by the Communists, who were on the other side of the Cold War. It is only recently that the West has had any real influence in China.

Last edited by Lathdrinor; 2008-08-30 at 16:58.
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Old 2008-08-30, 18:22   Link #1109
Irenicus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
I'll be brutally frank. At this stage of their development, most Asian countries are better off being ruled by enlightened despots. In a society where everyone is a crook, it's best to give power to the crook with the most integrity. In China's case, that's the Chinese Communist Party.

You don't have a choice but to work with the lesser of two evils. That's the way to do business in most of Asia.
Oh, please. "Enlightened despots."

If anything, the very political crisis in Thailand is a combined result of popular sentiment against everyone's favorite enlightened despot Mr. Thaksin, and his puppet government (I still can't believe that imbecile Samak is now a Prime Minister...oh now time flies) and power-play from other factions seeking to profit by mobilizing said popular sentiment. Much good did enlightened despotism do indeed...

And if you're saying that Thaksin was no enlightened despot, then I'd point out that there were probably few in history who could truly claim to be an enlightened despot.

Indonesia's and Philippine's woes are deeply rooted in the dictatorial periods of their respective countries. Suharto and Marcos didn't do much to improve their countries, and what they did they took back as much and much more.

And what's so horrible about politicians punching each other in Taiwan? Sure, it isn't the nicest way to conduct Democracy, but that's hardly a mandate for the return of the Chiang's or whomever.

...thus, where is Democracy to blame? Asia might not be truly ready for flawless Democracy now, but that hardly means that in an increasingly globalized world the existing middle class (and in Taiwan and Japan, and your Singapore possibly, there are many) will not grow in number and grow more competent and assertive in protecting their own rights and interests from the currently powerful established powers and their rapacious ways.

Extreme levels of graft isn't an "Asian" concept. Africa suffers the same, far more if anything. Europe suffered the same. It is rooted in the culture, true, but not for any inferiority or uniqueness of Asian culture. It is there because the economy could not sustain everybody in a comfortable level like in first world countries, and solving that will solve it in the long run.

And it will never be completely eliminated. First world countries have political scandals of such natures often enough. Increased scrutiny from the open public will decrease it over time. It might start off as a game of "who gets revealed gets shafted" in a political culture that implicitly accepts corruption as part of the deal, but that will change with frequent exposures and the political equivalent of evolution will have the few honest ones slowly coming to the fore. Eventually.

How one goes about it, or the time it takes, is another matter, but is that a cause for such despair and skepticism? If the results don't show tomorrow, why cry foul? They'll show someday, but if one does nothing, they'll never show.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lathdrinor
China, by comparison, did not fare nearly as well. Chinese nationhood is an outgrowth of Chinese empire (ie the Qing Dynasty). Chinese nationalist leaders looked not to the US or Britain, but to Germany and Japan for models. Then came the Communists, heavily influenced by the Bolsheviks of Russia, and several devastating, brutal wars - some fought against foreign invaders, others fought amongst themselves. The Chinese nation was forged from fire and violence, through the barrels of a gun, as Mao would call it.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, "The Father of China," though he relies on many influences, formulated his famous political philosophy primarily from the influence of *gasp* American Founding Fathers and Western classical liberalism; Chinese-applied, of course.

Hardly "German." It's Chiang Kai-Shek who was the Il Duce-style dictator and the communists traced a very different path from the KMT by then.

You are correct in general, however. Democracy as an idea was rooted in Sun Yat-Sen's political philosophy which was the guiding light for China throughout its darkest years, and even the communists acknowledged his role whole even though they were more influenced by Mao's, well, megalomaniac ramblings; but Democracy as an institution never existed in China.

...then again, I don't recall the British ever giving voting rights to the Indians they oppressed...
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Old 2008-08-30, 18:49   Link #1110
Intranetusa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xellos-_^ View Post
http://wiredispatch.com/news/?id=300693
Shih Ming-teh, a former leader of Chen's Democratic Progressive Party, said the money could be the tip of the iceberg. He accused Chen of taking at least $85 million from an entrepreneur bidding for bank ownership during a spate of mergers initiated by the government in 2005. He refused to identify the businessman.
Chen left the presidency in May 2008, two months after his party's candidate was beaten in the presidential poll by the then-opposition Nationalists.

because 5000 sounds better then 4000 or 3269
Aye, but you see, 85 million is a drop in the bucket compare to PRC corruption and money laundering. PRC money skimming runs in the Billions

ROC - maybe swindles 2% of the budget
PRC - maybe swindles 6% of the budget

lol, 3269...yeh that would sound weird




Quote:
Originally Posted by Lathdrinor View Post
India's current political system owes a lot of its success to the British Empire and the fact that India's independence was won by a man named Gandhi, London-educated and a pacifist...
And the founder of modern China after the collapse of the Qing Dynasty was Sun Yatsun, who was also western educated. After the end of warlordism, China was relatively unified up until the 2nd Sino Japanese war. + what Irenicus posted.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Lathdrinor View Post
China, by comparison, did not fare nearly as well. Chinese nationhood is an outgrowth of Chinese empire (ie the Qing Dynasty). Chinese nationalist leaders looked not to the US or Britain, but to Germany and Japan for models. Then came the Communists...
The reforms of the late Qing Dynasty did emphasis a western style military, and later after the revolution, reformers did stress a more western style system of government.

In the end, it was really the Communists that controlled the mainland while Nationalists controlled Taiwan which became democratic. The Nationalists after the Chinese Civil War, who were bordering on Fascism, had no problem with the transition to democracy...capitalism is perhaps just more interrelated with democracy.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Lathdrinor View Post
The different courses taken by India and China are not all that unexpected, if you look closely at the circumstances. China had much more in common with pre-WW 2 Japan, North Korea, and pre-democracy South Korea than it did with India. It was not a true colony of any European empire, and as such it never inherited European government structures.
I'd say the courses taken by India and China would've been very similar...had the nationalists won the civil war over the communists.

The main difference between India and China is capitalism vs communism. Capitalism naturally paves the way for democracy - especially since the capitalist alligned nations were democratic, while communist alligned were authoritarian.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Lathdrinor View Post
This differentiates it from post-war Japan and South Korea, also, since both were occupied by the US and received a great deal of Western political influences from those occupations....political traditions of China are different than that of the other countries in question...It is only recently that the West has had any real influence in China.
Taiwan, is essentially a miniature version of China and is both capitalist and democratic. Taiwan has had the exact same political traditions and challenges as mainland China.

Japan's occupation of Taiwan had negligible influence, and Taiwan was never occupied by western powers.

In the end, mainland China is not democratic because of leadership and the failed policies of communism - not because of its political traditions.

Because it was the Nationalists who controlled Taiwan instead of the Communists, Taiwan was able to make the transition to democracy.

Last edited by Intranetusa; 2008-08-30 at 19:01.
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Old 2008-08-30, 20:18   Link #1111
Xellos-_^
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Intranetusa View Post



Taiwan, is essentially a miniature version of China and is both capitalist and democratic. Taiwan has had the exact same political traditions and challenges as mainland China.

Japan's occupation of Taiwan had negligible influence, and Taiwan was never occupied by western powers.

In the end, mainland China is not democratic because of leadership and the failed policies of communism - not because of its political traditions.

Because it was the Nationalists who controlled Taiwan instead of the Communists, Taiwan was able to make the transition to democracy.
the difference between China and Taiwan is that China is about 100x bigger then Taiwan in terms of pop and 10x bbigger in terms of size.

it took Taiwan 50years to make the transition form fake democracy to real democracy. Given the size of China in terms of pop and geography and number of different minorities. It is going to take a hell a lot longer then 50 years.


and As TRL said, what China most need right now is Rule of Law. Once you have rule of law establish then you can talk about things like democracy and human rights.
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Old 2008-08-30, 20:30   Link #1112
yezhanquan
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Originally Posted by Zoned87 View Post
When the United States was first founded very few of the people who made up the country had any education, but it still worked.

We had 1 civil war although that was over slavery
This is only true for the ordinary people. Do a check on the delegates who were around for the discussions and signing of the Declaration, and tell me how many of them were NOT educated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Intranetusa View Post

Taiwan, is essentially a miniature version of China and is both capitalist and democratic. Taiwan has had the exact same political traditions and challenges as mainland China.

Japan's occupation of Taiwan had negligible influence, and Taiwan was never occupied by western powers.

In the end, mainland China is not democratic because of leadership and the failed policies of communism - not because of its political traditions.

Because it was the Nationalists who controlled Taiwan instead of the Communists, Taiwan was able to make the transition to democracy.
Hoho. Don't let any Taiwanese nationalist read this post.

Japan's occupation of Taiwan is NOT negligible. 50 years was really enough to influence a generation of people. Also, in the 17th century, the Dutch occupied parts of it for a short while. Now, THAT had negligible effects.

Also, I'll say that the death of Jiang Sr. was the beginning of the road to democracy. Interestingly, he died in the same year as Franco did.
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Old 2008-08-30, 21:20   Link #1113
Intranetusa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xellos-_^ View Post
the difference between China and Taiwan is that China is about 100x bigger then Taiwan in terms of pop and 10x bbigger in terms of size. it took Taiwan 50years to make the transition form fake democracy to real democracy. Given the size of China in terms of pop and geography and number of different minorities. It is going to take a hell a lot longer then 50 years. and As TRL said, what China most need right now is Rule of Law. Once you have rule of law establish then you can talk about things like democracy and human rights.
And India is about the same size of China population wise, had a similar historical background, and is fully democratic. If India can do it, then why can't mainland China? Mainly because the communists took power and instituted failed forms of economic policies...

The 'ensuring civil stability and order' is often used as the poor man's excuse for the justifying the lack of democracy. Ben Franklin once said 'those who sacrifice liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security.'

China has no problem with rule of law...the problems are in enforcement of law and corruption of the law...both thanks to the hugely inefficient communist bureaucracy. If China was democratic, judges and politicians would actually be held more accountable for their actions.

Right now, ensuring 'rule of law' is just an excuse for the CCP leadership to hold on to power.



Quote:
Originally Posted by yezhanquan View Post
Hoho. Don't let any Taiwanese nationalist read this post. Japan's occupation of Taiwan is NOT negligible. 50 years was really enough to influence a generation of people. Also, in the 17th century, the Dutch occupied parts of it for a short while. Now, THAT had negligible effects.
Also, I'll say that the death of Jiang Sr. was the beginning of the road to democracy. Interestingly, he died in the same year as Franco did.
Taiwan is a separate nation, but it basically just democratic China...whether those nationalists admit it or not. The culture, language, etc are basically the same. So people can't make the argument that "Chinese culture is unsuitable for democracy."

When I say negligible, I meant in terms of democracy. Japan influenced Taiwan's culture - but form of Japanese authoritarian rule wasn't significantly different than form of Qing Dynasty authoritarian rule.
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Old 2008-08-30, 22:06   Link #1114
Tri-ring
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Mainland China never had in it's 2000 years history experienced democracy and more over, Confucianism teaches that a benevolent sage will appear and guide the people to it's greatness.
In other words the Chinese people never fully embraced the meaning of people power nor individual responsibility to scrutinize political affairs.
Voting for a leader is a freedom but more over keeping the government under tabs is each citizen's responsibility.
If you look at Chinese history you'll find that they were always good at overthrowing a government but they always recur to it's original corrupt political status after several decades and the process repeats itself because they think they appointed a benevolent sage have that person or organization handle national politics without placing a civilian checking process.
Bottom line the Chinese citizens needs to take reponsibility to keep their government under tabs for any misconduct.
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Old 2008-08-30, 22:10   Link #1115
yezhanquan
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Originally Posted by Intranetusa View Post
And India is about the same size of China population wise, had a similar historical background, and is fully democratic. If India can do it, then why can't mainland China? Mainly because the communists took power and instituted failed forms of economic policies...

The 'ensuring civil stability and order' is often used as the poor man's excuse for the justifying the lack of democracy. Ben Franklin once said 'those who sacrifice liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security.'

China has no problem with rule of law...the problems are in enforcement of law and corruption of the law...both thanks to the hugely inefficient communist bureaucracy. If China was democratic, judges and politicians would actually be held more accountable for their actions.
Democracy in India isn't pretty. I don't think I'm qualified to comment on it, but if Fareed Zakeria's picture is anything to go by, Indian's democracy is non-liberal. It may be surprising to you, but your last assumption on the judges and politicians is not happening as what you may expect in India. Local politicians and judges have gotten away for illegal actions.

In the US, the issue of slavery in the early days of the republic was never settled. Who was it who said that those who deny liberty to others do not deserve it for themselves?

Besides, the US system is probably less "democratic" than thought. Women only received the vote in 1920 (less than 100 years ago), with the 19th Amendement. Even the people directly electing their Senators did not happen until 1913 (again, less than 100 years ago), with the 17th.

I would argue that China needs to cultivate liberal values first, before trying for democracy.
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Old 2008-08-30, 23:00   Link #1116
Hari Michiru
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The Chinese population needs to be educated to respect the law first before anything happens. If you don't do that before giving them complete freedom, it's like letting your 10 year old kid drive a car, drink alcohol, or smoke. They also have to be educated in general to understand the benefits and the responsibilities of democracy before actually getting it. I don't know about the rest of the world, but when you take the oath to be a Canadian citizens, you swear that you will, when you receive the benefits of the Charter of Rights, you also have the responsibilities to obey the law etc etc. Take voting for example: it is a right, but also a responsibility. You have the right to vote in Canada, but you are also responsible to vote. If you don't vote, then you have disregarded your role as a Canadian citizen.

Also, the first contact China had with the rest of the world was when the Silk Route was established. The last contact China had with the West was when the first Ming Emperor died. He was the one who funded sea expeditions, and also the one Marco Polo encountered (I'm pretty sure, but my history is a bit dusty). When he died, his successor canceled all explorations, and closed off China from the rest of the world. It wasn't until the Boxer Rebellion (somewhere around that time) that the Chinese came in contact with the West once more. As someone said above me, China's closure to the world is very similar to Japan's.

As a consequence, the Chinese way of thinking is rather closed minded. Take my grandmother for example: she thinks being a nurse is not a profession, because you have to be a 'servant' to the patient you are caring for. Obviously, that is not the case, but no matter how much you try to convince her, she won't change her mind (yeah, it's annoying). That's basically how the older generation was raised and educated. They won't accept new ideas, and try to enforce their ideas on other people. The newest generation is doing better, but now the problem is that they are too money orientated (you should see the Hong Kong youth). It will take a while before the education will have a significant enough impact on the population before this old, yet new country will be ready for democracy.

I agree with the above posts that talk about Asia not bein ready for democracy. Hong Kong is basically a nice laugh with bribing, Macau's the same as HK, Taiwanese politics are like an afternoon soap opera, Tailand is filled with bribery and corruption and Vietnam's almost the same as Tailand. After all those examples, the Chinese government would be smart to have learned from them that instant democracy would only ensure extreme corruption, population division, public and political unrest...basically absolute chaos.

Although I hope that China will grow to be a democracy, I do not want to see my homeland shattered for the sake of fake democracy. I will wait however long it takes for it to make a smooth transition into democracy, even if it means I won't live to see it.
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Old 2008-08-31, 00:54   Link #1117
dec4rhapsody
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tenken627 View Post
dec4rhapsody, I am curious.

Just how extensive is the censorship? What type of charges do they levy against you if the government does find your thread/post/blog/web article offensive?

It seems that some people here are frustrating each other talking about Tibet and the PRC, but at least they are allowed to discuss it. You can't take that for granted, whether you are on one side or the other.
Websites, internet communities and big forums have people on watch and keyword filters, if your entry contains a keyword that is on the blacklist, say Dalai or Falun Gong, then you are not allowed to post it. For issues recently popped up, like the Wengan Riot, or those that aren't defined by mere keywords, ie. the Communist Party, the mod/s or the admin/s will be on watch. If they find your text improper, they will delete it or even ban your account.

Recently I've tried to post sth about the Tiananmen Square Incident, a short rambling that was not aimed at criticising the government and I made it very ambiguous. However in 24hrs it was deleted anyway, which suggests that the censorship is really dense. <-Yet it varies from site to site. BTW, I posted it on a real-name community (similiar to facebook), but I haven't received anything personal yet.

I do agree that it is good that we are at least allowed to talk about those issues here, yet it somehow makes me sad and discloses my evil nature to make any thread I dig in crackish...

Actually I'm not Shanghainese, I've been moving around all the time, but my untimely and poor (indeed) satire comes from Beijing~


Quote:
The Chinese population needs to be educated to respect the law first before anything happens.
Yes, but recent propaganda are brainwashing people into believing that there is NO democracy at all. CCTV tends to show chaotic parliaments/congresses in contrast to the utter-harmonious People's congresses, and people do buy it, which is definitely a setback. Find an average college student (male) and try to discuss Western/US democracy with him, you'll find him snorting.

Last edited by dec4rhapsody; 2008-08-31 at 01:28.
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Old 2008-08-31, 01:16   Link #1118
Southern Cross
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Originally Posted by Hari Michiru View Post
I agree with the above posts that talk about Asia not bein ready for democracy. Hong Kong is basically a nice laugh with bribing, Macau's the same as HK, Taiwanese politics are like an afternoon soap opera, Tailand is filled with bribery and corruption and Vietnam's almost the same as Tailand. After all those examples, the Chinese government would be smart to have learned from them that instant democracy would only ensure extreme corruption, population division, public and political unrest...basically absolute chaos.

Although I hope that China will grow to be a democracy, I do not want to see my homeland shattered for the sake of fake democracy. I will wait however long it takes for it to make a smooth transition into democracy, even if it means I won't live to see it.
Even from the Western perspective, the shift to Democracy is almost always a bloody process. Although a lot of Americans are taught through their primary education that the United States (despite having a lot of trouble in the process) managed to establish and defend theirs, that case can be seen as a more *ideal* situation. In European history itself (which isn't exactly covered through U.S. primary education) nearly all shifts towards Democracy had a lot of conflict and corruption involved. Even the Greeks who first experimented with Democratic ideals had lots of trouble maintaining it.

I would say that the worst case scenario shift to Democracy in Western history can be taken from the example of the French Revolution. As Romanticized as their pursuit for Democracy may be seen as today, the French Revolution was incredibly violent. Not only did it start with the ruthless executions of the central figures of the monarchy, but it went on even further to actually establish an even more ruthless and almost authoritarian command under Maximilian Robespierre's "Committee of Public Safety" (heralding "The Reign of Terror"). He himself became a victim of his own creation, and following the reactionary bloodshed France very barely managed to become a Republic. Even then, further unrest allowed the young Napoleon Bonaparte to "seize the moment" to overwhelm France and establish his own Empire over the shattered French "Republic," torn by its own thirst for Democracy. Even after Napoleon himself was effectively dethroned there was a return to status-quo with the reestablishment of the monarchy under the Bourbons. It took the aftermath of Napoleon's final bid for power during "The Hundred Days" for there to finally be constitutional reform, allowing France to truly start off on the path to Democracy (Even then the road was extremely shaky.)

What can be taken from this worst case scenario example is that the establishment of a true Democracy does not only require the people themselves to wish for it enough to fight for it, but it also takes a complete reworking of a current government's framework (not its complete destruction in the case of the French Revolution) in order to ideally work out. In the case of France it is because they completely eliminated the governing monarchy that they were under that caused them to descend into such anarchy. If there isn't a type of medium present to allow a swift transition from one governing body to completely revised system, then anarchy, like in the case of the French, is very much possible. In other words, the people must have a sort of representative figure/body of their own (e.g. the American Revolution's "Founding Fathers") that are out there to truly seek out Democracy for their people.

Here's an interesting example to bring up that's a little closer to home to Tibet/China. My history education may have been Western-based, but my ethnic roots are actually from the Philippines. Thus there is this one almost miraculous event of Democracy prevailing that I can think of. People might know of it as People Power Revolution, (1986) when the people of the Philippines themselves actually managed to peacefully overthrow their authoritarian ruler Ferdinand Marcos.

As I've mentioned the importance of it earlier, they did actually have a type of representative figure to unite under - it came in the form of a man popularly known as Ninoy Aquino. It was because of his peaceful approach to the situation and his commanding authority that allowed the people to rally and unite in the way they did. The most unfortunate part of this is that it took his exile and then his death (as soon as his plane landed returning him to the Philippines on 1983 he was shot dead before he could even set foot on the land of the people he fought for) to be a catalyst for the people to begin to rise up. It was three years later when their crusade took a turning point and Ferdinand Marcos himself actually chose not to shed any blood and rather step down himself. For whatever reason, he did not allow his troops to fire on the rapidly growing crowds of reformists gathering at Epifanio de los Santos Avenue at Metro Manila. On the other hand there were small pockets of violence being carried out between an armed reformist faction and the loyalist troops. (Philippine Military Academy graduates actually started defecting themselves forming the armed reformist faction that managed to capture several of important centers of trade and communication.) Regardless, it is still a miracle of sorts that Ferdinand Marcos chose to avoid a massacre of the protesting civilians themselves and instead stepped down peacefully.

The person to become the President of the Philippines was actually Ninoy Aquino's widow, Corazon Aquino. She actually became a central figure of the reformist movement herself after her husband was shot dead. She ended up becoming President, too, but of course, there's still minor pockets of violence going on throughout the Philippine islands today. MILFs are one of the causes of such violence, and I don't mean the kind we talk about on anime image threads.

I wouldn't necessarily blame Democracy itself for some of the continued problems faced throughout the Philippine islands today - it is just inevitable with such a diversity of subcultures dispersed throughout the islands that there are small pockets of rampant militant factions. It's incredibly unfortunate but it has only been about two decades since they got on the road, so it's understandable that such problems still exist.

Despite having quite a bit of history of Western influence, the example of the Philippines does show that Democracy isn't completely impossible in the Eastern setting. Impractical? Most likely, but it's just a matter of how much the people want it, and how far they themselves and more especially their representative figures will go to establish such an ideal for them. Ninoy Aquino himself had to go as far as sacrifice his life, though, so it would indeed take a lot for even a handful of men to rise up to rally the people in such a manner. Also considering that China is the world's most populous country, it indeed would be quite a difficult task for them to set on the path towards becoming a true Democracy (it would be hard to manage a movement of people to such a scale.) Not only that, but the disproportion of population distribution between the coastal cities and the areas more inland present an issue. There may even be a difference in subcultures (like in the case of the Tibetans) that also creates the potential for not reform, but an incredibly bloody civil war. If the cause of Democracy ends up getting caught up in such a conflict between cultural/national identity factions, such a pursuit may end up becoming more of a setback than anything for the Chinese people as a whole.

Once again there's yet a lot I have to learn about the Eastern perspective in this, so please mind that I may not exactly be as accurate as would be preferred. Instead, help me out and correct me if I have any discrepancies; I would really appreciate it.
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Last edited by Southern Cross; 2008-08-31 at 16:13.
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Old 2008-08-31, 03:32   Link #1119
Kinny Riddle
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
Forget democracy. Most of Asia is not ready for it. The Philippines made a mess out of its American-style democracy. Thailand is a joke, whose idea of democracy is to throw out an unpopular government through the power of the mob. The biggest, wealthiest private company in Indonesia is the TNI — its Armed Forces. Taiwan's idea of democractic debate involves officials fighting one another during parliamentary sessions, broadcasted on national TV. These countries or territories are all a mere fraction of China's size in terms of both geography and population. If they have such a hard time of it, can you imagine the scale of China's problem?

I'll be brutally frank. At this stage of their development, most Asian countries are better off being ruled by enlightened despots. In a society where everyone is a crook, it's best to give power to the crook with the most integrity. In China's case, that's the Chinese Communist Party.

You don't have a choice but to work with the lesser of two evils. That's the way to do business in most of Asia.
I am quite disappointed that you would think like that. Sure, blame everything on democracy, how convenient is that.

A lot of anti-democrats in HK and China would always use the odd punchout by Taiwan's legislators as an "example" of why democracy doesn't work. To me, this is all just an excuse to justify their privileged positions in the name of "stability" and "harmony".

Taiwan has gone through a tough journey to be fully democratic. And it is because of the media's new found powers that scandals committed by scumbag politicians can be exposed in the sunlight. The mainland Chinese can laugh all they like about Taiwan, but I'd like to see them have the guts to rat out their own corrupt politicians and not be punished for it.

You say work on the "lesser of two evils", I wonder if you're confusing which evil is lesser.

Quote:
Oh, please. "Enlightened despots."

If anything, the very political crisis in Thailand is a combined result of popular sentiment against everyone's favorite enlightened despot Mr. Thaksin, and his puppet government (I still can't believe that imbecile Samak is now a Prime Minister...oh now time flies) and power-play from other factions seeking to profit by mobilizing said popular sentiment. Much good did enlightened despotism do indeed...

And if you're saying that Thaksin was no enlightened despot, then I'd point out that there were probably few in history who could truly claim to be an enlightened despot.

Indonesia's and Philippine's woes are deeply rooted in the dictatorial periods of their respective countries. Suharto and Marcos didn't do much to improve their countries, and what they did they took back as much and much more.

And what's so horrible about politicians punching each other in Taiwan? Sure, it isn't the nicest way to conduct Democracy, but that's hardly a mandate for the return of the Chiang's or whomever.

...thus, where is Democracy to blame? Asia might not be truly ready for flawless Democracy now, but that hardly means that in an increasingly globalized world the existing middle class (and in Taiwan and Japan, and your Singapore possibly, there are many) will not grow in number and grow more competent and assertive in protecting their own rights and interests from the currently powerful established powers and their rapacious ways.

Extreme levels of graft isn't an "Asian" concept. Africa suffers the same, far more if anything. Europe suffered the same. It is rooted in the culture, true, but not for any inferiority or uniqueness of Asian culture. It is there because the economy could not sustain everybody in a comfortable level like in first world countries, and solving that will solve it in the long run.

And it will never be completely eliminated. First world countries have political scandals of such natures often enough. Increased scrutiny from the open public will decrease it over time. It might start off as a game of "who gets revealed gets shafted" in a political culture that implicitly accepts corruption as part of the deal, but that will change with frequent exposures and the political equivalent of evolution will have the few honest ones slowly coming to the fore. Eventually.

How one goes about it, or the time it takes, is another matter, but is that a cause for such despair and skepticism? If the results don't show tomorrow, why cry foul? They'll show someday, but if one does nothing, they'll never show.
You couldn't have put it any better, Irenicus.


Here is an interesting article from the Guardian of UK which might explain attitudes of the people above from countries like Singapore, which serves as the ultimate model of authoritarianism with the guise of a democracy, yet still manages to stay efficient and corrupt-free, for all other authoritarian regimes like China and Russia.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/jul/01/civilliberties

I'm all ears to hear you Singaporeans prove otherwise. Having relatives from Malaysia myself, I've seen with my own eyes how the similar iron-fist "dictatorship via parliament" system in both Malaysia and Singapore works, though Malaysia may finally be coming out of this mess if recent events are any indications.

Last edited by Kinny Riddle; 2008-08-31 at 03:46.
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Old 2008-08-31, 04:35   Link #1120
Ascaloth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kinny Riddle View Post
Here is an interesting article from the Guardian of UK which might explain attitudes of the people above from countries like Singapore, which serves as the ultimate model of authoritarianism with the guise of a democracy, yet still manages to stay efficient and corrupt-free, for all other authoritarian regimes like China and Russia.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/jul/01/civilliberties

I'm all ears to hear you Singaporeans prove otherwise. Having relatives from Malaysia myself, I've seen with my own eyes how the similar iron-fist "dictatorship via parliament" system in both Malaysia and Singapore works, though Malaysia may finally be coming out of this mess if recent events are any indications.
Prove otherwise? I'm sure you would like to hear a Singaporean do that, Kinny, but for my part, I'm not even going to try.

From my point of view, to which I would first add the disclaimer that it should be taken with a pinch of salt just in case, Kampfner has got exactly one aspect of the docility of the Singaporean society down, that being the selective repression thing. There is still a lingering taint of fear into the local psyche of the people about the government, which stems from the time when it was somewhat more strict than it is nowadays. The older generations will testify to the times when the ruling government had marginalized or exiled opposition leaders who proved to be troublesome, but these days it's fading into the background.

Kampfner got the selective repression down, but he didn't emphasize sufficiently the other side of the story; the fact that Singapore as a whole has indeed prospered under their leadership. I mean, there's something to be said for the fact that common Singaporeans on the whole have it better than their counterparts in the neighbouring countries, and when you have a populace living fairly comfortably, you've got a populace less likely to risk losing it all by biting the hand that fed it. Add to the fact that Singaporeans are regularly fed media tidbits about how "[insert any troubled country's] 'democracy' is hurting the island's once vibrant economy", how the government is "all for democracy, but it must be responsible democracy", and how "we risk losing everything we've fought so hard to achieve if we don't use our democracy responsibly", and you've got a populace which holds the general mindset that "well yeah, we don't have complete political freedom, our government is still scary powerful, but hey, at least they deliver results, which is more than can be said for most others, so why rock the boat? Honestly, it could be worse."

Are the opposition parties marginalized here? For the most part, yes they are, but it's an uphill struggle to argue against the current government's results in the first place. And considering that we didn't have much of a liberal history (or much of any history to begin with), I guess the Singaporean government as it is now is already plenty liberal in the eyes of the people, especially for the older generations.

So I'm going to stop my rambling here to just say.....yeah, we may be less liberal from the Western viewpoint, but at least it's still a comfortable life here with plenty of opportunities. Meh, it could be worse.
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