Democracy in China
There is democracy in China. China’s government is of the people, by the people and for the people. It puts to shame the older democracies of the USA and the EU. Consider this:
- More people vote in China than in Europe and the US combined: government by the people.
- Voting is more transparent in China because it’s designed and monitored by the Carter Center.
- Every Chinese, regardless of wealth or connections, has an opportunity to run the country. Every year 10 million take that opportunity when they sit the gaokao. That’s how poor boys President Hu and Premiers Wen and Li made it: such government by the people and almost unimaginable in the EU or US.
- China is an economic democracy, the EU and USA are not. 83 percent of Chinese think their country is run for all the people, rather than for a few big interest groups – government for the people – versus 36 percent of Americans.
- Most Chinese support their government’s policies and have confidence in them – precisely the outcome we expect from a real democracy. Only 37 percent of Americans support their Government’s policies. (Europeans don’t know what the EU’s policies are).
- Most Chinese – almost 90 percent – trust their government. Again, this is what we’d expect in a democracy that’s governed for the people. Only 9 percent of Americans trust their government, a sign that their government is not for the people.
- All Chinese feel free to publicly criticize their government, as you would expect in a democracy.
- Chinese overwhelmingly trust their media, suggesting that it’s democratically run and doesn’t merely serve the interests of an oligarchy. Only 20 percent of Americans trust theirs.
- Chinese are very satisfied with China’s direction. Only 33 percent of Americans feel the same way for the U.S.
- Basics like food and shelter are more democratically distributed in China than in the US. Less than 10% of Chinese could not afford their food at some point last year compared to over 20% for the USA and 15% for the UK. [Global Indicators Database].
- Since 1975 every Chinese, including the poorest, has received a 100% (inflation-adjusted) pay raise every ten years. Few can remember a year when they didn’t get a raise in addition to their three weeks’ paid vacation. In other words, China democratizes income distribution.
- 90 percent of Chinese own their homes, and 90 percent of them are mortgage-free, so wealth distribution (homes are most of ordinary people’s assets in China and the US) is more democratized.
- Though much poorer, Chinese children are better educated than ours and China does a better job of educating their poorest children, as you would expect of a democracy.
- Chinese-style democracy has what Max Weber called ‘Performance Legitimacy’ – it produces democratic outcomes. American-style democracy has ‘Formal Legitimacy’: it appears democratic but, as most Americans know, that’s a facade and it’s why 90 percent of Americans lack confidence in their country’s political system.
- “The central point that emerges from our research,” political scientists Gilens and Page find, “is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy…while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence. Ordinary citizens have virtually no influence over what their government does in the United States.” The Chinese people own the ‘business interests’ in China: all the most powerful and profitable corporations are owned in common and their profits are sloughed back into things like free health care for everyone.
Here’s Gallup’s most recent poll of Americans’ attitudes to their institutions. Is it a portrait of a democracy?