Wednesday, 15 December 2010

BEDiD 16: Chinese Democracy

Finally! I'm online again. Not even half way through my BEDiD project and a Chinese person just HAS to get awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, BBC is blocked, my VPN is blocked and chances of managing to actually Blog Every Day in December are thwarted. Damn you Liu Xiaobo!

Throughout British media and Western media in general, there was a common theme through most of the commentary of the award, 'this is the start of the beginning,' that the awarding of this prize is that start of the democratic train that will ride through the Red East. I'm sorry to burst the bubble of The Guardian's China column, but democracy as we know it in the west is far from heading anywhere near China's direction.

On a side note; don't you think it's quite ironic that the most left leaning paper we have in the West is probably the most anti-Chinese one?

The problem with the West's desire for China to become democratic is simple, but quite large; the average person on the street does not want it.

When you speak to Chinese they will say that yes, they want a freer press, uncensored internet (the fact they can't get on Facebook, especially for those who have been abroad is a particular soft spot) and an end to corruption, but democracy is very often not on the list.

Even in the Tian'anmen Square protests of 1989, when scores of young students descended on the largest public square in the world, the protests were mainly for an improvement in student teaching conditions and less corruption. Western media decided, however, to focus on the minority that were asking for democratisation.

The fact is, and I think I tend to agree with this, democracy in China would not work. The country is too vast, has too many problems (including poverty and workers' rights) and would probably end up breaking up in the event of democratization. China would not have enjoyed the vast economic development it has had in the past 20 years if it had had to endure a change of government every 5 years. It would thus not have lifted the millions of people out of poverty that it has. Communism in China, though it had a shaky start, has ultimately done a lot of good for the country.

We should also remember that, though the Nobel Peace Prize is invariably given to fantastic and deserving people, which person is chosen is very often politically motivated. Obama last year, selected after a laughably short time in office, is a good example, "Oh, you're not George Bush any more, here, have a medal!"

It does annoy me sometimes when Western media goes on about how Chinese democracy is only a couple of decades away when they have never lived here or bothered to talk to the people who make up with vast land. It also annoys me when I can't write my blog. So basically, I'm ticked off at both sides right now.


Dave said...

Democracy might not be on their list, but don't you think it's a path that would lead towards the things that are?

Stefan Lamb said...

Well said. I simply didn't bother watching the nobel thing. It's a load of bull really, isn't it?
It's interesting to raise the question of whether democracy actually works though. For a long time now I've been disillusioned with out political system, parties and class, but I've never really questioned whether democracy itself really works. Food for thought, certainly.

Hi Katie said...

Oh man...
Chinese people don't want democracy? Maybe it is just that they do not have a clear concept of DEMOCRACY ,,,
The cause of many issues, such as corruption and even poverty, in China is the dictatorship, the one party thing. The root is democracy. Looking back to China's five thousands history, have any of the dynasty or period got the democratic system for ruling? NO. It is too alien to them ... not because they do NOT want it!