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Democracy with Chinese Characteristics

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science

POL101 Nov. 1, 2010 Democracy with Chinese Characteristics Allure of Fukuyama is compelling, however; the example of China goes against his idea that history has ended along with the fall of Communism Why doesn’t China have democracy? China in the Modern Era 1) End of the Qing dynasty 2) Republican revolution 3) Sun Yat-Sen: “Three principles of people” 4) Nation 5) Democracy 6) Welfare Opium wars with the British; go to war with the Japanese (end up losing the war) Ok to lose war to British, but not the Japanese These lost wars set the stage for the end of the dynastic regime After the Ming dynasty more people living on less, China closed off from the rest of the world becoming essentially economically backwards, disengaged from the world economy Brilliant at inventing things, however; were unable to sell on the international market Was a Manchurian dynasty (not Han); Manchurians viewed as barbarians that ruled China for over 2 centuries Was a republican revolution to throw the Manchurians out and overthrow the Qing dynasty Out of this chaos is a moment in which people try to rebuild a unified China The birth of China in the 20 century was one of tremendous philosophical reflection Sun Yat-Sen came up with three principles: nation, democracy, & welfare Wanted a China that would serve the livelihoods of the Chinese Non-Democratic Modern China Largest economic miracle of all time – fasting growing economy in terms of economic growth of all time Emerged as a basket-case economy in the 1970s (but will most likely become the largest economy in the world) Extraordinary modernization and economic growth; yet no democracy China is not a democracy as it is understood in political theory, or if one takes into consideration Robert Dahl’s Polyarchy No institutionalized uncertainty Terribly poor human rights, no meaningful elections No separation of powers, freedoms are extremely curtailed (enormous capacity for censorship) No alternative to the Chinese communist party Very difficult to describe the Chinese political system, however it is not democratic According to our theories, China should be democratic and it should be leaning towards democracy A Democratic Revolution? 1) High tide of Maoist socialism (1949-56) 2) 100 flowers movement (1956) 3) Anti-rightist campaign (1957) 4) Great leap forward (1928-62) 5) Cultural revolution (1966-76) …Yet, no democratic revolution. 1) High Tide of Maoist Socialism China began to economically develop in the 1950s, wanted a self-reliant China that would grow on its own, closed off to the world China Communist Party announces 12-year plan targeting agricultural production to increase by 150% Massive economic transformation in China with the participation of people; production increases in the 1950’s – people were buying in, wanted a China that would be able to stand up to the rest of the world This occurred because people were forced into cooperatives in order to increase agricultural production This was the high tide of socialism, scientific Maoism – China was on the rise, Mao’s plan for China was working 100 Flowers Movement Mao began to get confidant, really believed the masses would support him In 1956 Mao launches the 100 Flowers Movement; elect people to criticize the party. However; didn’t think people would actually criticize the plan (people criticized the CCP as being irrational, cooperatives inefficient, no longer useful) Mao interpreted this as an attack upon himself, as well as socialism Anti-Rightist Campaign In 1957 Mao launches the Anti-Rightist campaign as a result, go after anyone who criticizes the party, purges all those in the party and citizens (all those who dare criticize him and the Chinese Communist Party) People begin to say that Mao was not doing what is best for China 1958: Mao needed to re-energize the masses, felt as if they were poisoned by bourgeois revisionists Great Leap Forward Political power through legitimacy (energizing the masses) Great Leap Forward: allowed for the legitimating of the Chinese communist party Agriculture production thoroughly collectivized, property rights dismantled, society reorganized from the household into work teams (childcare, cooking, agricultural) Became a social system, as well as economic Work done collectively in the commune system – energy of the masses Main focus was on steel in the 1950s (every great nation had to have steal) Expected China to overtake USA in steel production in 10 years. But how? People would meet targets by sweltering their own pots and pans. Production targets and wages set by the states, no incentives to work harder, no foreign technology Great leap forward was a disaster No trade, market signals, access to foreign help Cultural Revolution Increasing resistance led to the Cultural Revolution Mao found himself becoming increasingly politically marginalized within his own party – tried to re-e
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