Problems China Would Face as a Full Democracy
Since the start of the 1911 revolution, that fought for democracy and the end of dynasties in China provided legitimacy to the rebelling groups by declaring their autonomy from the Qing Empire. China’s democracy can be described as a quasi-democracy; it favors one-party state as currently witnessed (Chen, 2013). The Chinese Communist Party (CPP) is the only lawful party in China and the calls of democratization have been increasing. Pro-democratization activists are receiving massive support from the West which wants to have China fully democratized. The social impact of democratization lies in the cultivation of the divide and rule notion. The student movement that happened at the Freedom Square in Beijing in 1989 was the first democratic challenge for the Chinese administration. However, for the last 30 years, the Chinese communist government has been successful in suppressing the people’s demands for the need for a democratic change in the country (Heilmann & Perry, 2011).
The current administration in China under the leadership of Xi Jinping has concentrated on economic development and economic success is evident from the massive economic growth rate which has propelled China to be the second largest economy after the United States. However, the Administration has been skeptical and reluctant in introducing political reforms to take China to the full democracy status. This paper will consider the evolution of democracy in China, the impacts of democratization, risks of democratization and the probable problems that are likely to face China if it assumes the full democracy status. The pre-modern Chinese states, however, would not seek to reorder the country along the Qin’s well-established system. The first Emperor of Qin; Qin Shi Huangdi is reported to have ordered the burying alive of more than 400 Confucian educators (Weller, 2018).
This dynasty, however, ruled and lasted for about 16 years due to the arrogance of its governance that bred enmity. The subsequent regime; the Han Dynasty that took power from the Qin dynasty implemented various modernist measures that were initially undertaken by Qin but tempered the harsh governance as it reintroduced the Confucian theories. The Han regime institutionalized these modernist forms of governance that distinguished China for the next two thousand years. The presence of the moral element also constrained power that was relied on Confucian doctrine. Emperors were, however, provided with educations in the Confucian classics and rites that focused on their responsibilities as guardians of the public interest. The mandate of the emperors was not to increase their richness and happiness of their families but to ensure wise and just management of the empire as per the Confucian codes (Mungello, 2012).
Currently, the Chinese Communist Party is calling for the adoption of the traditions of China to enable it legitimizes its governance. Mao Zedong tried on several occasions especially during the Cultural Revolution to dismantle the Chinese state and much of the Communist Party by substituting the authority of the Red Guards and mobilizing masses under his individual authority which were outside the party’s authority (Weller, 2018). From the start of the 1980s, there have been organizations of the village elections that have been steered by the government in which various candidates were allowed to contest. Notwithstanding, there have been numerous protests calling for democracy especially the Fourth Movement which resulted to the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations which called for the participation of the public in the reforming of procedures to fight and curb corruption (Mungello, 2017).
To date, China still remains the world’s largest world power that practices an autocratic system of governance that infringes on the rights of its citizens, a situation that needs to be changed in the modern democracy. Impacts of Democracy on Development i. Social The major social impact of democratization is that it divides a country based on grounds of political support; usually, different areas support different either different candidates or political parties. There are political party nominations where those eyeing party candidature are voted for and the candidate with most votes is chosen (Carbone & Memoli, 2015). This structure makes sure that most populous candidate is given the ticket. On that regard, the fact that parties compete on a level-playing ground, the most preferred candidate usually carries the day.
It is a fact that candidates were chosen by the top party organ-like in South Africa or China, then the former President of the United States Barack Obama would not have been given a chance to rule America considering the fact he became the first African-American President of America. On the negative side, democratization has been found to greatly promote political corruption. The democratic space allowed by Nigerian Democracy has enabled the various groups to spread numerous aggressive messages that the government is wasting resources meant to benefit the common citizen. On the contrary, the autocratic nature of many of the Middle East countries has turned the oil-rich countries into economic superpowers especially Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Rentier state theory suggests that autocratic nature of governance has turned the resources to blessing and which in return has promoted the political stability which crucial for developments.
According to Grugel and Bishop (2013), the autocratic style of leadership has significantly reduced the tax burden of the citizens because the large income from the natural resources largely covers the government’s budget. On that regard, the accountability to the people has increased because the state is less dependent on the citizens. As a result, the redistribute role of democratic governments makes them overspend which adversely affects the saving and productive investment. Risks of Democratization Typically democracy creates a syndrome of weak central authority that is characterized by unstable coalitions domestically and equally over-sensitive mass politics. The political stage is crowded with various social groups that always strive to maintain relevance before the masses. Democracy allows different political leaders to co-exist while pursuing their different incompatible interests.
The largely affected social group by democratization is the political elites who now do not occupy the prestigious position of speaking on behalf of the people. Moreover, democratization has attracted government kickbacks for the campaign financiers and individuals who helped the political leaders get into office. Thirdly, democratization retards rapid economic reforms. Democratization influences the economic growth on various fronts. To start with, there is the economic freedom which calls for consensus from the masses in passing economic reforms. Often than not, in a majority of the democratic countries, rational voters oppose economic changes based on their economic freedom rights even when the final effects are expected to be welfare augmenting for a majority (Christiansen, 2015). In creating the monopoly on information, the groups interfere with the information that is relayed through various media channels to suit their need.
Propaganda has been used extensively to attract more support and usually, this propaganda aims to create holes in the ruling government, destabilize it and make look weak. Some groups have used the traditional existing political institutions to consolidate their support and shape their political agenda. The institutions previously served as platforms where the people would point out the areas where the government needs to perform better. Discussion The economic rise of China has been described by many historians and scholars as the world’s biggest event after the fall of the Soviet. The yearning of the lost glory has moved China nationalists to respect the government in place and this is the reason why they view democratization as another plan of the West of keeping China in check.
The current Chinese communist government is largely a product of the Marxism and Communism ideologies (Pridham, 2012). On that regard, it is important to note that democratization will interfere with Beijing’s top priority of maintaining absolute peace while it pursues both domestic and international development goals and increased participation in global affairs. For example, the path of democratization has used the elites in Germany a nationalist bidding war. As a result, Germany was divided into two over the different stands over Morocco and the decision to launch a preventive war in 1914. Authoritarian regimes have proved effective in implementing economic reforms in a number of countries worldwide such as Chile, South Korea, and Taiwan. Moreover, China can learn Russia as a case study.
Russia started political liberalization in attempts of fostering democratization. Unfortunately, the process ended up in the institutional chaos that immensely retarded economic reforms. China can learn from the devastating effects in the name of democracy from Libya. The country still remains to be a one-party ruled state which denies its citizens the right to choose leaders from different political parties. The path to democratization will have far-reaching effects in China. China is typically one-party democracy as China’s Communist Party (CPP) is the only recognized party in China all the political leaders are chosen from the CPP. China stands a chance of losing the prevalent unity and harmony if it pursues the path of democratization as more political parties will come into the picture.
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