China: a democracy in ten to fifteen years - Essay Example

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With its vast human and natural resources, China’s integration in the world trade since 1978, which has resulted to its unprecedented fast rising economy, has demonstrated the great impact it can effect on the world economyand has triggered speculations and wanting of its democratization, specifically by the US …
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China: a democracy in ten to fifteen years
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Download file to see previous pages With its vast human and natural resources, China’s integration in the world trade (Rumbaugh and Blancher 2004, 3) since 1978, which has resulted to its unprecedented fast rising economy, has demonstrated the great impact it can effect on the world economy (Chuang 2010, 3) and has triggered speculations and wanting of its democratization, specifically by the US (Ma 2007, 3). The overwhelming doubt over China’s democratization is quite understandable, considering the antidemocratic actions it had shown the modern world – most prominent of which are the SARS crisis (Clark 2003), the Beijing Massacre of June 4, 1989 (Brook 1998), and China’s unfair international trade practices (Mann 2007). Given these conflicting circumstances, determining China’s prospects for democracy is truly something that cannot be easily agreed upon, that it requires deeper thought. The path that China is taking may not be similar with the European communist states- turned democratic states (Perry 2007). But, it does not also mean that China is not democratizing or cannot be democratized, because China, just like any other country for that matter, has its own context of development (He 1996: 220). And though it may be true that China’s transition to democracy is filled with uncertainties, it does not necessarily eliminate its prospects for democracy. On the contrary these uncertainties indicate that there exists in China a struggle between anti-democratic and pro-democratic forces, because if not, then, there is nothing to debate upon today. “Every democratization usually faces some countermovement in which remnant hardliners and neo-authoritarians seek to derail the slide to change” (Gilley 2006, 344). Hence analysis of these uncertainties shows irreversible trends of China’s democratization in the next 10 to 15 years. 1. There emerges a pro-democracy civil society within China, which although being criticized as weak could be easily consolidated and strengthened, is nonetheless compelling China to democratize. Thus once strengthened this could be a powerful force to push for China’s democratization. China’s subsequent efforts to quell opposition and free expression – some features of democracy – most prominently the June Fourth Beijing Massacre, which despite its bloody suppression did not end popular protest in China (Perry 2007, 1), but instead has inadvertently created one of the important seeds of democracy, which is the civil society (Hong 1992, 252). As Marshall (2011, 98) explains, “Democratization… is the process by which civil society asserts popular authority over the institutions of the state…” The ironic result of CCP’s anti-democratic actions Gilley (2006, 343) explains, though not a prerequisite, must have been necessitated by China’s unique historical context in order to begin the democratization process. Though critics belittle China’s civil society, the fact remains that there exists an opposition which could be readily consolidated to push for China’s democratization. In fact, from the 1978 Democracy Wall Movement to the 1989 Tiananmen Square Movement, the Chinese civil society have illustrated its power to pressure the government for reforms and most importantly have exemplified to the Chinese people better democratic ideals and values as opposed to the reigning CCP ideals. (Tong 1992, 146) As He (1996, 225) states, “this newly emergent civil society provides a fertile bed in which political liberalism can thrive.” 2. Although, it is true that the CCP remains the single political party running the PRC; the CCP which appears organizationally and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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