The Private World of Politics Inside China

February 11, 2014

This will probably rankle some, but the world of politics inside China isn’t that much different from the United States. Where the U.S. has two major parties and several splinter parties with little or no political power no matter how loud they shout, China has one major political party and several splinter parties without political power.

But what goes on inside the Chinese Communist Party mirrors what goes on between the GOP and the Democrats—when I say mirrors, I mean there are factions that debate and disagree with each other.

What the world sees in China is a government that seems to be walking in step but under the surface there are a lot of different opinions and debates taking place behind closed doors. In the end, like all republics—instead of one man making all the decisions—a consensus usually makes the final decision on important issues.

The biggest difference with the CCP is that any disagreements and arguments between factions are not for public consumption through the media like it is in the political circus that makes up American politics.

“It’s worth remembering that China has parties other than the Chinese Communist Party, although this does not make China a ‘multi-party state’ in the sense of the term. But observing how the CCP interacts with these other groupings can be revealing.”  (Sino-Gist)

The following list represents the eight registered minor political parties in China:

1. Revolutionary Committee of Kuomintang that’s considered second in status to the CCP has 53,000 members.

2. China’s Democratic League formed by 130,000 members, mainly mid-level and senior intellectuals.

3. Representing market socialism is the China Democratic national Construction Association that was formed by 69,000 members.

4. China Association for Promoting Democracy with about 65,000 members.

5. Chinese Peasants’ and Workers’ Democratic Party with 65,000 members

6. Zhigongdang of China: Returned overseas Chinese with 15,000 members

7. Jiusan Society with 68.000 members

8. Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League with 1,600 people mostly wealthy Taiwanese who now live on the mainland.

There is also the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) that was established in 1949 when the CCP legally made women equal to men for the first time in China’s history.  I wrote about that in Women’s Rights in China.

Then there’s the China Youth League (founded in 1920 with more than 73 million members today) and other representatives from people’s organizations; representatives of the People’s Liberation Army; and representatives of minority ethnic groups that have a population of over 1 million each. (China.org)

Another segment of the population where the CCP recruits new members, are freshly minted millionaires and billionaires of China’s successful capitalists—after an exhaustive background check probably similar to the CIA or FBI.

Many from the political list mentioned earlier may not belong to the CCP or have voting rights, but they have a voice. Just as most western corporate business is conducted on a golf course, in China these nonvoting members may express themselves at meals and banquets with CCP voting members.

These non-voting members are sort of like lower management in a corporation who take advantage to express their opinions and suggestions, with no guarantee that the majority of the CCP will agree.

In fact, non-party members, who are of a like mind, may be noticed and possibly asked to join the party, which is an invitation few in China reject since it means joining the more than 80 million that rule the country.

The Journal of Current Chinese Affairs reports: “China’s emerging bipartisanship within the CCP, therefor, is not only a mechanism of power-sharing through checks and balances among competing political camps, but also entails a more dynamic and pluralistic decision-making process through which political leaders can represent various social and geographic constituencies.”

In addition, “the diverse demographic and political backgrounds of China’s new leaders can also be considered a positive development that may contribute to the Chinese-style inner-Party democracy.” (The Chinese Communist Party: Recruiting and Controlling the New Elites)

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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Looking at Sun Yat-sen’s vision of a republic in China: Part 2 of 2

January 22, 2014

We must also ask how many Chinese would have been allowed to vote in Sun Yat-sen’s republic.

To find out, we need to take a closer look at who was eligible to vote in the United States during Sun’s life to discover that minorities [China has 56] and women in the United States were often not allowed to vote. In addition, some American states at the time had literacy laws in place and eligible adult men [mostly minorities] had to pass a literacy test to be able to vote. The first literacy test for voting was adopted by Connecticut in 1855. In fact, ten of the eleven southern states had subjective literacy tests that were used to restrict voter registration, but some of those states used grandfather clauses to exempt white voters from taking literacy tests.

Knowing this, it is highly likely that Sun Yat-sen would have created a republic in China that only allowed educated and wealthy Han Chinese men to vote. Women and children would have remained chattel—the property of men to be bought and sold at will for any reason—as they had for thousands of years and China’s minorities would have had no rights.

Therefore, once we subtract children, women, minorities, Han Chinese adult males who did not own property and any of those who were illiterate from the eligible voting population, what’s left is less than five percent of the adult population—and the educated Han elite adult males who owned property would rule the country. Most of the people in China would have no voice; no vote.

What about today’s China?

Six-hundred million rural Chinese are allowed to vote in local elections—only CCP members vote in national elections but at last count, there were 80 million CCP members; China’s leader—with limited powers—may only serve two five-year terms. And China has its own form of an electoral college. The President of China is elected by the National People’s Congress [NPC] with 2,987 members [dramatically more than the Electoral College in the United States]. The NPC also has the power to remove the President and other state officers from office. Elections and removals are decided by a simple majority vote.

There is another significant difference between China’s NPC and America’s Electoral College—members of China’s NPC are elected but members of America’s Electoral College are appointed by the major political parties in the United States. This means that the American people have no say in the few hundred who elect the U.S. President.

Then there is this fact: China’s culture is influenced by Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism—not Christianity, Islam or Judaism—and all three of these Asian religions/philosophies emphasizes harmony with little or no focus on individual rights as practiced in Europe and North America. Knowing that, it is highly likely that Sun Yat-sen would have supported some form of censorship over individuals in China when too much freedom of expression threatened the nation’s harmony.

Return to or start with Looking at Sun Yat-sen’s vision of a republic in China: Part 1

Discover three of China’s other republics; then decide how they are different from China.

  _______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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Looking at Sun Yat-sen’s vision of a republic in China: Part 1 of 2

January 21, 2014

China is often criticized for not being a democracy with the same freedom of expression that the 1st Amendment of the United States offers its citizens.

However, no one considers that the political structure of today’s China might be closer to Sun Yat-sen’s vision than the democracy we find in the United States. In fact, the China ruled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) may offer the Chinese people more of a voice than the republic Sun Yat-sen was building before his death.

Sun Yat-sen [1866 – 1925], considered the father of China’s republic both on the mainland and Taiwan, was introduced to the United States in 1882 when he attended a Christian school in Hawaii. That experience exposed him to American politics, and later he wrote that he wanted to model China’s government after America but by combining Western thought with Chinese tradition.

To learn about the United States that Sun Yat-sen discovered, we must step back and examine America’s political structure at that time.

“After the British were defeated a centralized, national government was seen by George Washington and company not as a method of extending freedom and the right to vote, but as a way of keeping control in the hands of rich. They wrote several anti-democratic provisions into the U.S. Constitution. Slavery was institutionalized. The Senate was not to be elected directly by the people; rather Senators were to be appointed by state legislatures. The President was not to be directly elected by the voters, but elected through an electoral college. The Supreme Court was to be appointed. Only the House of Representatives was elected directly.” (http://www.williampmeyers.org/republic.html)

In 1920, five years before Sun died, the right to vote was extended to women in the United States in both state and federal elections. Where was Sun when this happened? He was in China leading a rebellion and struggling to build a multi-party republic that included the Communist and Nationalist parties. His ideas of what a republic would look like in China had formed decades earlier.

The political climate that existed in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries will show us what Sun learned about politics in the United States. For instance, there was the Chinese Exclusion Act passed by Congress in the spring of 1882 that was still in force. It wouldn’t be until 1942 that the act would be repealed.

In addition, in 1922, the US Supreme Court ruled that people of Japanese heritage could not become naturalized citizens. The following year the Supreme Court ruled that Asian Indians also could not become citizens, and the law that barred Native American’s from voting wasn’t removed until 1947.

How about the way children were treated in the United States?

It may shock some that children could be sold into slavery and end up working in factories, coal mines and whore houses as young as five. It wouldn’t be until 1938 that a federal law stopped this form of child slavery in the United States. America’s Civil War [1861 – 1865] may have ended black slavery but it didn’t free women and children of any race.

Continued on January 22, 2014 in Looking at Sun Yat-sen’s vision of a republic in China: Part 2

Discover three of China’s other republics; then decide how they are different from China.

_______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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Discover three of Asia’s Republics–Singapore: Part 3 of 3

January 16, 2014

I’ve written about the Republic of Singapore before in The Reasons Why China is Studying Singapore.

Singapore is a model “republic” respected around the world. In fact, Singapore is tied for number one in the Corruption Perception Index for 2010 with a score much better than the U.S. Source: Transparency.org

Focus Singapore says, “It is interesting to note that Singapore laws are very strict with harsh punishments for smoking and littering in public places.”

For example, “A drug offence in Singapore can attract severe penalties including a death penalty.… Homosexual acts, including kissing between men, are illegal in Singapore and penalties include imprisonment.”

Human Rights Watch reports, “Singapore officials should cease using criminal defamation and contempt laws to silence government critics. … Free speech is an endangered species in Singapore.”

In fact, “Singapore remains the textbook example of a politically repressive state,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Individuals who want to criticize or challenge the ruling party’s hold on power can expect to face a life of harassment, lawsuits, and even prison.” Source: Human Rights Watch

But the Western media often ignore human rights violations in Singapore, because, “The United States has maintained formal diplomatic relations with Singapore since it became independent in 1965. Singapore’s efforts to maintain economic growth and political stability and its support for regional cooperation harmonize with U.S. policy in the region and form a solid basis for amicable relations between the two countries.”

About religion — “Singapore generally allows religious freedom, although religious groups are subject to government scrutiny, and some religious sects are restricted or banned. Almost all Malays are Muslim; other Singaporeans are Taoists, Buddhists, Confucianists, Christians, Hindus, or Sikhs.” Source: U. S. Department of State

Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister from 1959 to 1990, was the world’s longest serving prime minister and was elected seven times. His son Lee Hsien Loong has been Prime Minister since 2004. When he runs for office, there is no competition.

When examined closely, Singapore seems similar to China except for China’s policy that leaders may only serve two five-year terms and must retire at sixty-seven.

Return to Discover three of Asia’s Republics: Part 2 or start with Part 1, South Korea

_______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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Discover three of Asia’s Republics–Thailand: Part 2 of 3

January 15, 2014

Transparency.org ranks Thailand’s corruption at 78—tied with China.  India, for comparison, ranks 87th—worse than China and Thailand.

A Blog about Political Prisoners in Thailand claims that there is no freedom of speech in Thailand. Saying what you feel or think can get you thrown in jail.

Thailand also passed a Computer Crimes act in 2007. The language in one section sounds similar to language in China’s Constitution that Western Critics often complain of.

The Asian Human Rights Commission writes that Thailand chained wounded detainees recently under an Emergency Decree. “For many years, the AHRC and other concerned organizations and individuals have voiced outrage at the shackling and otherwise barbaric treatment of accused criminal prisoners in Thailand.”

In May 2010, Reuters reported that Bangkok was being cleaned up after the worst riots in modern history. “At least 54 people were killed and more than 400 injured in the latest bout of violence which began on May 14. Almost 40 buildings in the city were set on fire and the tourism and retail sectors have been devastated.”

And analysts report that “The political problems are not over….”

About women in Thailand, the 1997 Constitution increased legal protections for women and persons with disabilities. However, some inequities in the law remained and some protections were not enforced. Violence and societal discrimination against women were problems. Societal discrimination against hill tribes and religious and ethnic minorities continued. There were reports of forced labor and child labor. Trafficking in women and children, coerced prostitution and labor were serious problems. Source: U.S. Department of State

We seldom hear about Thailand in the Western media for problems that don’t exist in China. Even when there is turmoil and unrest in Thailand, the news reports in the West are friendly compared to the language used to report incidents that take place in China.

However, the reason for this soft treatment is obvious. Thailand has had close relations with the United States since the end of the Second World War. Threatened by communist revolutions in neighboring countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos during the Cold War, Thailand actively sought U.S. assistance to contain the spread of communist in the region. Source: U.S. Department of State

Continued on January 16, 2014 in Discover three of Asia’s Republics: Part 3 or return to Part 1

_______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


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