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Democracy with Chinese Characteristics

Political Science
Course Code
Jeffrey Kopstein

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Democracy with Chinese Characteristics
the peoples wishes for and needs for democracy and freedom are irresistible. Premiere Wen Jia-Bao,
interview with CNN, September 23, 2010
End of the Qing Dynasty (lost wars against England, Japan, Russia; population increases 6 fold
but economy does not grow)
Republican revolution (1912)
Sun Yat-Sen (elected leader)Three Principle of the People”
oNation – China as a unified nation
oDemocracy – and of dynastic rule replaced by peoples republic
oWelfarelivelihood of the people
2nd largest economy in the world
Tremendous economic growth
Not a democracy as political theory depicts
No polyarchy, no meaningful votes, freedoms are extremely limited, no separation of the
executive, legislative branches
No alternative to the Chinese Communist Party
China turns theory on its head.
China should be a democracy or should seriously lean towards democracy.
High tide of Maoist socialism (1949-56)

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oa self-reliant China closed off from the rest of the world by harenessing the energy of the
oaimed at increasing agricultural production by 170%
100 Flowers Movement (1956)
oAllowed people to criticise the government
oMao was expecting praises for his government but instead was faced with negative
Anti-rightist Campaign (1957)
oAll who criticize the government/socialism are labeled counter-revolutionary
Great Leap Forward (1958-62)
oCreate a commune system
oAn economic and socialist system
oWork was done collectively
oMaos plan was to drastically increase production of steel (5.4t to 700 million tonnes) in a
matter of 10 years
oNo private enterprises, everything owned and controlled by the state
oThe Great Leap Forward” turned out to be an unmitigated economic disaster
oThis development plan was reliant on the revolutionary spirit of the people
oIt is estimated that 30 million people died in the Great Leap Forward”
oScepticism grew as a result
Cultural Revolution (1966-76)
oA split occurred in the leadership between those that were increasingly sceptical of the
Great Leap Forward and those that still supported Mao
oMaos response by trying to re-energize the people
oHe also calls for young people to be red guardsthe mobilization of the masses
oAimed at destroying old customs, thinking … etc.
oThe result was anarchy
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