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'Democracy is when the people rule the country.' Critically assess whether this statement constitutes an adequate description of - Assignment Example

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Is Hong Kong A Democratic Country? University Is Hong Kong A Democratic Country? Of all the terms used in political science, the word democracy is perhaps one of the most complicated, if not the most commonly misused. In fact, it is pointed out in Unit 3 that “democracy has become the most promiscuous word in the world of public affairs” (Bernard Crick as quoted in Vermeer, Wai-hing, Liu, Luen-tim, & Che-leung, 2011, p…
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Democracy is when the people rule the country. Critically assess whether this statement constitutes an adequate description of
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'Democracy is when the people rule the country.' Critically assess whether this statement constitutes an adequate description of

Download file to see previous pages... 97–101). Meanwhile, the Oxford English Dictionary defines democracy as “[a] government by the people in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system (Bureau of International Information Programs, 2010). Or in the words of Abraham Lincoln, it is the government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” (Democracy Building, 2004). Old democracies such as Athens and Rome were created as a response to the concentration and abuse of power by the wealthy ruling class. Through a democratic form of government, citizens could form an “assembly to discuss major issues, make public policies, enact law and appoint officials” (Vermeer, Wai-hing, Liu, et al., 2011a). With the rise of democratic states, citizens discovered new power never before afforded to them. Yet, despite the beauty of democracy in the city states, many sectors of society, including women, children, slaves and males with no military training, were essentially marginalized because they were not considered as citizens. Direct democracy practiced in the city states may have enabled more people to rule, but power became concentrated among individuals who already had power in the first place. It paved the way for oligarchy as each statesman tended to push for his own interest without regard for the needs of his wards. In this sense, democracy was successful at decentralizing power, but it did not help improve the welfare of the general population. Our modern definition of democracy, one that “champions the development and well-being of the individual” (Museum of Australian Democracy, 2013) was developed only in the late 17th century. It is based on four main principles: (1) that the individual is both moral and rational, (2) that growth and development is the natural condition of civilizations and politics is a way to ensure the sustenance of the process, (3) that every individual desires order and cooperation, (4) that people believe in the sharing of power (Museum of Australian Democracy, 2013). Today, citizens cannot exercise their right to enact laws or appoint officials directly, but there is a general agreement that governments have to protect the citizen’s basic human rights. Through representation, citizens expect their rulers to: (1) safeguard the constitutional provision for basic human rights, including, but not limited to, religious liberty, freedom of expression and the right to vote, (2) ensure the separation of powers between the various institutions (executive, legislative, judicial) of the state, and (3) work towards good governance through the eradication of corruption and the promotion of public interest (Democracy Building, 2004). If one explores this modern concept of democracy and applies it to Hong Kong, then one may say that Hong Kong is a democratic state. The Basic Law provides guidelines on the relationship of Hong Kong and the Central government in Beijing, as well as express the rights and duties of its people, and the state’s political structure (Vermeer, Wai-hing, Liu, et al., 2011a). The ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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