Youth Participation in Democracy: China Essay
Any voice that is seen to advocate for democracy in China is not allowed. This is despite the government’s claim that it is democratic. All democratic expressions have been suppressed by the law. Furthermore, the law allows for only limited private property rights that advocate for cooperation and harmony. As such, any demonstrations are assumed to be aimed at destabilizing the economy. The government does not allow demonstrations to take place. The experiment by Wuijun Chen demonstrates China’s level of preparedness for democracy and how the youth can participate in the fight for justice.
Summary of the Film
The experiment is about electing a person to hold the prestigious position of the class monitor. The work of selecting a class monitor is usually left to the teacher. Things have changed. Pupils have been allowed to elect one democratically on their own. The teacher selects three eight-year-old candidates; Luo Lei, Xu Xiaofei, and Cheng. The three candidates show their abilities to lead by participating in three tasks.
First, they take part in a talent test. They either sing a song or play instruments. Secondly, they take part in a debate where they show their qualifications while pointing out the weaknesses of their opponents. Thirdly, they present their final speeches to convince the voters of their worthiness. The campaigns are mainly taken up by the parents who make concerted efforts to ensure their children win.
Finally, the candidates engage one another in an ugly fight where they heckle each other. From the film, it is clear that carrying out such activities in school is important as they make the youth understand democracy better. These activities should regularly be carried out as they bring an early understanding of democracy. As such, they create a platform for the pursuance of the same in the future.
Democracy in China
The revolution that occurred in China in 1911 ended the reign of the feudal monarchy while marking the start of democracy (Nathan, 2013). Although it was not successful in itself, it prompted the people to push ahead with democracy. Since then China has been able to scale economic heights and be among the world’s economic giants. Specifically, the social system that aims at achieving high-level democracy emphasizes making people work together thereby overcoming individualism while making people work towards the betterment of the country as a whole (Nathan, 2013). Democracy has spurred economic growth in the country.
Social Stratification and Democracy
The education system in China allows the youth from wealthy families to access a good quality of education (Yeung, 2013). The system allows the children and young people from well-off families to advance both in their careers and politically while those from poor households remain impoverished (Peilin, 2013). As seen in the film by Weijun, the parents of the male students had some influence in the society. Their influence had a big impact on their sons’ campaigns. One can conclude that social stratification impedes the quest for democracy.
Democracy has many definitions in China. For instance, the government believes that its system is democratic but the demonstrations that are witnessed in the country show people’s dissatisfaction with the government. This is evidence of lack of democracy. However, China can improve the situation through internal reforms and cultivation of the new generation especially the youth to become informed citizens. Internal reform will cover the loopholes in the current system and create an avenue for achieving democracy. However, only people with good will can push such reforms forward. Cultivating an informed citizenry will also have similar effects.
Nathan, A. J. (2013). China at the Tipping Point? Forseeing the Unforseeable. Journal of Democracy, 24(1), 20-15.
Peilin, L. (2012). Introduction: Changes in Social Stratification in China Since the Reform.
Yeung, W. J. (2013). China’s Higher Education Expansion and Social stratification.
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