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Political Science
Jeffrey Kopstein

DEMOCRACY WITH CHINESE CHARACTERISTICS “The people’s wishes for and needs for democracy and freedom are irresistible.”—Premier Wen Jia- Bao, interview with CNN, September 23, 2010. China in the Modern Era  The idea of democracy is not foreign to China—there have been many attempts  End of the Qing Dynasty—opium war of 1892 o Chinese declare war against England—they are the ones exporting the drug o England wins o Another war is waged against japan—Chinese lose and have to pay many reparations o The Qing Dynasty was a huge defeat for Chinese pride o National psychological decline is what causes the end of the Qing Dynasty  China’s population was rising and people were becoming poor  By 1850 china’s population was half a billion people  China was also experiencing an economic crises—was dependent on an export economy o Was a very poor country  Nationalist Revolution—Manchurians were the ones that came in and created the Qing dynasty o Revolution was an opportunity for the Chinese to stand up to outsiders Republican Revolution  Over throw of the emperor in 1911—doesn’t abdicate until 1912  China is now a real modern country—with a modern Chinese president  Presidents main goal was to rebuild China and have it reemerge from its chaos  Reform China according to 3 PRINCIPLES: 1. Nation—no longer an imperial dynasty  Would defend itself 2. Democracy—China would have a democracy different from everyone else BUT still a modern democracy 3. Welfare—China would be able to feed its people  They would not be weak  Intended to be a very clean break from the ancient dynasty Non-Democratic Modern China  No poliarchy exists where people are allowed to freely vote  No institutionalized uncertainty—there are no alternatives to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)  Poor human rights record  No meaningful elections where there are alternatives  Executive branch is all powerful in China  Freedom of speech, assembly are severely restrained o There are limits and consequences o The state has the ability to censor everything How is it that China can MODERNIZE and not become a DEMOCRACY? (I) A Democratic Revolution?  High tide of Maoist socialism (1949-56) o When Mao founded the PRC the country was to be based on three principles  Socialism—break the old feudal ways  The Chinese revolutionary spirit—would allow china to stand up and become the socialist beacon it aspired to be  Anti-foreign Nationalism—foreigners had done nothing good for china it had to be a self-relying CHINA  Maoist cult of personality –stood for the spirit of China  1956—launces the mini leap forward o Anti-foreign o Self-reliant—they had to work harder and faster to produce more o FIRST TWELVE YEAR PLAN o China collectivized its land—they had to work together  The energy of the masses—would lead to China’s economic RISE  Economic production increased—high point of socialism ‘  100 FLOWERS MOVEMENT—Mao said that everyone could criticize the party and criticize him so he said with confidence—“let a hundred flowers bloom, a hundred thoughts content” o Thought this would get people excited and make the people join the party o What people actually did was criticize and want more political freedom o People started talking about DEMOCRACY o His reaction was that this was an attack on socialism and therefore on himself  IN 1957 launches the Anti-rightist Campaign o Anyone who opposed was considered a traitor  Mao’s patriotism was questioned as he did not agree with the idea of democracy  He felt he needed to re-elicit fee
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