China and Democracy Essay (Critical Writing)
Arguments for and Against Democracy
The proponents of it, see democracy as good and very important. It enables individuals to decide what is good for them. Others argue that people don’t know what is in their best interests. Also, the definition of autonomy to various individuals differs. For example, democracy cannot in itself ensure that each individual will prevail.
Democracy provides a mechanism for solving group conflicts and social differences. It offers a channel for open discussion and expression of diverse ideas for better decision making. But then, the value of democracy in theory is very different in practice. Even when there is economic growth, it has always been accompanied by social inequality, embezzlement of public wealth and grand corruption.
Public dissatisfaction with how democracy works has been evident with the various civil protests on hampered economic growth, social inequality and the subsequent emergence of criminal gangs. Some just waive their constitutional right to vote. In fact, most individuals believe in the rule by the technocratic elite as compared to democracy.
Democracy’s ability to result to economic sustainability is contentious. This I because the heavy taxation often results to reduced productivity. Further, it may not be able to curb inflation through strict policies. Democracy also leads to religious and ethnic conflicts. Economic association and availability of information and transparency and accountability yield economic growth. Without democracy, there is no way of making the government accountable through the electoral process making them wasteful in their economic dealings.
Chinese perception of democracy
The Chinese citizens favor an economically rich country as opposed to their desire for a democratic society. Freedom is not the only way to measure what is important to a society. Instead, it should be associated with something of value to society. Democracy does not mean much if the citizenry is hungry, sick, uneducated and generally chained with poverty.
Chinese scholars argue that how democracy can only be equated to how much individuals are able to make decisions on what they hold important in their life. It is the abilities that one has to make his own individual choices on the things that we value and hold in high regard.
People associate leaders with individuals who have acted to empower people rather than those who concentrate on economic growth. The Chinese public however, views the government as caretakers and protector other than as owing obligations to them to offer them the basic needs.
Chinese movement towards democracy
At the beginning, due to the scourge of war, instability and famine facing them, the Chinese people were only concerned with fighting for a peaceful and safe environment that is free from hunger with political stability and cohesion. They did not worry about individual freedom and democracy. And these they achieved less for the now emerging high cases of instability and criminality in their country and people have resulted into ranking social order as the topmost current concern for them.
Then there was need for educating the public so as to empower them to utilize the opportunities available for economic growth. Basic education was integral for the Chinese people to integrate their own economic goals with the world market. Though the government was unable to achieve a compulsory nine years education for all its masses, it is determined to universalize its education system in this era that education has become important for any individual to be successful in life, even in the Chinese economy.
The Chinese government has also worked hard towards the realization of an improved health facilities and nutrition. There is increase in both protective and curative measures adopted as well as fight against epidemics and improved sanitation. This has resulted to low mortality rate and increased life expectancy laying a ground for the need of higher rights.
Women rights have also taken shape where women can choose their own spouses, right to divorce, to education and even to hold a job. They are also empowered to make political stands. Even though this has not been fully realized, it has been a great milestone for the Chinese people.
The people’s right to a job and subsequently the employer’s right to choose a worker of his choice have created free movement of labor as opposed to the rigid and immobile system that existed, even though this has resulted to risk of unemployment since the government no longer guarantees the public with jobs.
Further, almost all the population has been issued with houses increasing people’s freedom to make decisions concerning their own lives leading to economic growth. This in turn has resulted to institutional and cultural change pushing political reforms even higher.
Chinese Reaction to Democracy
Chinese public has its own feelings toward the individual freedoms and rights. From the controlled flow of information, now there is not only increased freedom of speech but also increased use of the internet and international communication through fax, telephones, mails and computers.
The government has invested heavily on technology and telecommunications all over the country. The media is no longer under the threat of the government on what it publishes. However, the media is not as free as it should be. There are still limitations imposed on the media both directly by the government and indirectly by the business people.
But the freedom has its own disadvantages such as the uncontrolled informational flow carrying with it lifestyles that were formally regarded as a taboo thus eroding public morals and standards of values, especially with pornography infiltrating the market. However, people generally believe that the media should expose the current social evils and problems facing the country, as they too no longer support the increased freedom of information.
The right to consumer goods too has a different aspect to it. If ones financial position is low, then the right to choose the products he would want to consume is inhibited and does not help. But the Chinese economy has grown thus empowering the consumers to purchase not only the necessities, but also the luxuries.
Further, the right to choose consumer goods cannot in itself ensure that consumers get exactly what they want to buy. It requires an additional right to consumer protection by state against the producers so they can enjoy the primary right.
Also, the right to work and live in a house of your own as granted by the state is still regulated by the market forces of labor. Most of the population is now faced with massive unemployment leading to social disparities and therefore reduced ability to own houses. Also, the people have a right to personal lifestyle through the music they listen to though most of them listen to music reflecting their values. There are also other rights such as right to inheritance, to dealing in stocks, to acquire wealth or hard currency.
Therefore, what democracy means for the majority of other countries may not be the same conception for the Chinese people. They define what democracy is and they act towards its realization, their democracy.
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