With the election of Beijing Communists to the Party‘s National People's Congress (NPC) having taken place this past Wednesday, here's but a handful of the thousands of follow-up blog posts containing words such as democracy, election, revolution and more:
“If I had the right to elect the deputies to the National People's Congress,” says Bokee blogger Ren Binju fresh back from the polls, I sure wouldn't have chosen any of them:
If I had the right to elect the deputies to the National People's Congress, I'd definitely choose more people like Liang Shuming
, despite Chairman Mao's disagreement with his ‘care more, much more, for the peasants’. When Mao said Liang didn't know the difference between a ‘big benevolent government’ and a ‘small benevolent government’, without hesitation he decided to go find Chairman Mao for a face-to-face debate, to speak reason to him or die trying. So brave, he was the the first to disavow the revolution. What China lacks is this kind of NPC representative.
If I had the right to elect the deputies to the NPC, I'd definitely choose people like Taiwan's Li Ao
. He dared interrogate Taiwan's Minister of Defense Li Jie: “You're like the Sun-Tzu for Americans, spending money to buy others’ broken weapons. Don't you have any face?” He even brought tear gas into the legislature
, yelling loudly at the politicians. What China lacks is NPC representatives like this, daring to speak the truth straight up.
If I had the right to elect deputies to the NPC, I definitely would not choose administrative executives. The NPC's role is to oversee the executive authorities, yet in the Tenth NPC, government officers count for over seventy percent (not including those from state-owned enterprises and those from groups with governmental backgrounds). How can they act as overseers of the government? What the NPC lacks are people truly from the bottom layers of society, representing the interests of people at the bottom layers of society.
If I had the right to elect deputies to the NPC, I definitely would not choose those “absolutely obedient” types, who only know how to applaud, as NPC reps. They must have the courage and knowledge to be able to say to any government officer, “this matter, you must explain to me within a week”. NPC reps bustling around the government, accustomed to the upper levels’ “highbrow” lifestyle are too many, the upright and outspoken too few.
If I had the right to elect deputies to the NPC, those I'd choose would have to come to the neighborhoods, schools, offices, companies, factories, farms, hospitals, cafeterias and entertainment venues of me and the people around me at least once a year. We'd quite conveniently bring voices to them, and they could help us go shouting to the government; they'd also have to express political views different to their own, at the same time report to us “untouchables” every stage of all the things they'd be doing for us, or else naturally they wouldn't be able to serve again as NPC reps.
If I had the right to elect deputies to the NPC, the representatives I'd choose would have to use their right of veto at least once, would have to strengthen supervision of the government, would have to deal with China's education, real estate and health care reform problems, submitting a widely-approved and feasible proposal. They'd have to call upon the government to boost respect for taxpayers. They'd have to do their best to call for a decrease in people's life stress. They'd have to call on the government to open up all areas of administrative work that can be done openly. They have to allow for the formation of an independent judicial system, starting off by having judges “clean up”. They'd have to do their best to modify the decayed and impotent anti-corruption laws, completely chopping off the hands of corruption and greedy desire. They'd have to strenghten supervision of every part of the state of law enforcement, ceaselessly evaluating and amending the practical effectiveness of administrative licence law and the clauses in administrative litigation law which shield the government from being sued. They'd have to see the proportion of ‘government investment in education’ and ‘media transparency’ surpass that of African countries in world rankings. Or else naturally they wouldn't be able to serve again as NPC reps.
Out with the old and in with the new is what Sina blogger and polling station volunteer Da Lihui would like to see, but didn't:
On the eighth, I also put on a ‘election staff’ nametag, getting to work in the village, my task being to stamp voters’ voter certificates with a ‘cast’ after they'd made their vote, and then send them to accounting to collect their ten yuan ‘voter's money’ (steps taken in villages to encourage villagers to get out and vote). About eighty percent of people come out just for this, that's why everyone's so envious of my job, because the part I do gets the best reception from the peasants. I never stop saying, “take your voter certificate and go get your money!”
Cash money wasn't what brought KDNet Forum poster nkzxyzj out to vote, but it might have to be next time, given what she saw as a pointless vote in what Beijing authorities are passing off as elections these days:
When will local NPC elections not just be about going through the motions?
November 8 was the day Beijing held its local NPC end-of-term elections. At ten that morning, my colleagues and I took our earlier-obtained Voter Certificates and went to our workplace's neighborhood voting station to vote. After registering as voters, everyone took a ballot upon which were two candidates, with one to be chosen by drawing a circle or an ‘x’ in the box beside the name of the approved candidate. Within three minutes I had finished carrying out the specified voting procedures, and the candidate I chose was the one I had been told earlier would be selected. Actually, who to choose doesn't matter at all, because to the voters, candidates couldn't be more abstract a concept. Except for their name and profession, voters know nothing about the candidates prior to voting. There are absolutely no major opportunities for exchange between candidates and voters. Of all eight million voters in the city, I doubt there are more than a few lucky enough to even meet the candidates. I'm afraid that most voters are just like myself, coming to the voting station when they're supposed to, putting their so-called right to vote to use by ignorantly voting for candidates who may or may not be able to legitimately represent public opinion, in fact just going through the motions and nothing more. The way I see it, this is not only disrespect for the candidates and voters, but disrespect for electoral law as well. NPC elections are supposed to be an extremely solemn and dignified matter, but as shortcuts were taken in the pre-election work, voters inevitably got the feeling of merely going through the motions. Further, going through the motions like this year after year, since the twentieth century now into the twenty-first, there's been almost no improvements seen.
Following adjustments, regulation number thirty-three of the electoral code for national and local NPC representatives for the People's Republic of China released on October 27, 2004 reads as follows: “the election committee or the chairman of the NPC ought to introduce details of representative candidates either to the voters or their representatives. Parties of nominated candidates, people's groups and voters and their representatives can introduce details of all candidates at meetings for either voters or representatives. The election committee can organize meetings and question-and-answer sessions between representative candidates and voters. However, on the day of the election, all introductions of representative candidates must stop.” Introducing candidates to voters and organizing candidates and voters to meet is an important process stipulated in electoral law; it's also the basic right of candidates and voters. However, in the current process, if this important procedure isn't mentioned casually, then it's deliberately overstepped, disrespecting the rights accorded to candidates and voters by law. If one neighborhood happens to be like this, you can imagine that neighborhoods and workplaces throughout the city can't be too far off. Because from the city down to the district, from the district to the street, from the street down to the neighborhood, all are levels of management on top of other levels. The ones on the bottom want to try new things, but they don't dare. From this, one can get a rough picture of a democratic election at the lower levels of Beijing city.
Is this a waste of my time? asks PhD student and Sina blogger Ignorant Youth:
November 8, NPC grassroots elections. Really made me think for a while, how coincidental it is that America begins its mid-term elections on the 7th. China and America are holding elections almost at the same time, although the elections have different names, it really does make one think. On the morning of the eighth, the head of our class of PhD students informed us during class that that afternoon we would be going to xx to vote, and that every student must go. Strange, I thought at the time, because the candidate board had been hanging outside and the election publicized for a long time already, so how is it that every single student will be going? At least I didn't register to vote, so I shouldn't go, and there was no information before about any voter registration. You see American elections, all voters have to register beforehand, but not China?
Voter registration: China actually does have voter registration, but at the basic level the process has changed. Registration can be done through teachers or administrators at levels higher than the level holding elections, without your permission. Such is the voter registration process in Chinese democratic elections.
The election: the class head requires everyone to go; maybe PhD students have it easier. But undergrad students are being forced to go. If you don't, the teacher will keep phoning you until you show up. At the beginning I didn't plan on going, because I'm not interested in voting in this election. That and I'm not familiar with the candidates; they haven't come out into the open to give any speeches of plans following an election victory, so I have no reason to go choose them. But then later I thought I ought to support the class head's work, so I went and voted. All along I was thinking, an election should be the right of every citizen; I can forfeit this right, but I could make use of it too. But why has it now become mandatory? This kind of obligation, especially for undergrads, is quite prominent. I remember my first time making use of this right. I was very happy, because I had the right to vote. But now I no longer have this interest. Because this election is too postured. By going to the election, the person directly benefitting from it is the organizer responsible for the election. They can report to their superiors how great their turnout numbers were; it's not me who benefits and it's definitely not the masses. That's why I feel that as long as there are no legitime elections being prepared, people shouldn't be bullied with this kind of posturing, a waste of time and money.
Creating representatives: When this representative was made, what people elected was a person to legitimately represent the interests of the many citizens in this region, not someone to go off to some meeting, there's already too many of those. But after our representative was made, we at least didn't see anything about a fixed time when he will report the status of his work to his own electorate. Did he raise any of his own constituents’ problems towards the representative committee? Did he make any proposals? Can he reflect citizens’ problems to the representative committee? etc. At least let this region's citizens see whether or not the representative they elected can represent himself. This I have not seen to this point. A representative is supposed to responsible to his voters; after he becomes a representative, he must serve citizens. This I also have yet to see. It could be that I'm lacking knowledge, or that my investigation is insufficient, but judging from what I see around me, I'm very unsatisfied with the current state of democracy. I just hope that it will improve over time.
And eeny, meeny, mynee, moe, says Sina blogger Crystal Garden, more concerned about why she was given a voting licence a year before the law says she should:
On November 8, the day everyone has to go vote, I guess it's a pretty classic “fake holiday”, it has no significance at all!!! At school I took part in the NPC representative election. There were three candidates; two I didn't know, but the third I did, although he doesn't know me! Like a blind cat bumping a mouse to death, I went and chose the two I didn't know! God grant them good luck!!!
My voter's certificate. Til now I've lived a total of twenty-one years, and in just one more year I'll be eligible for my first ever voter's certificate. From this it can be seen that in China an activity which should be of monumental political import is actually quite irregular! What fairness? What democracy? What making use of one's own rights? Totally phony!!!
Ten reasons to reject democracy altogther from Bokee blogger Guo Youlong, who could just as likely be trying to find a way out of having to go through another one of these Chinese-style elections:
Since Sun Yat-sen
, the May Fourth Movement
, the Communist Revolution, since the people took up a hundred-year struggle for democracy, countless revolutionary martyrs have lost their heads and spilt their blood in fighting for democratic freedom for the people. The revolution was victorious, but some politicians say Chinese aren't refined enough, that they don't suit democracy. Democracy is the stuff of Western capitalism, it doesn't suit China's conditions. Implementing democracy is opposition to Party leadership, and would create chaos under heaven. I've worked out the various reasons to oppose democracy:
1. The Stability Theory. Suppress everything for stability; implementation of democracy would create chaos under heaven and divide the country, just like the Soviet Union.
2. The Development Theory. Development is the first priority; implementation of democracy would influence economic development.
3. The Political Theory. Maintain the Party leadership; implementation of democracy is opposition to Party leadership.
4. The Refinement Theory. Chinese have low class, implementation of democracy would be very messy. Enlightened dictators and officials are more suited for governing the country and the people than democrats.
5. The Reform Theory. China has reformed; people's lives have improved, democracy can't feed the hungry.
6. Acclimatization Theory. Democracy is the stuff of Western capitalist countries, is not suitable for China's conditions. America and The West are capitalist democracies, China is a socialist country, China cannot implement Western capitalist democracy.
7. Sellout Theory. Democracy will bring China under America and The West's control, implementing democracy amounts to selling out the nation.
8. Currency Theory. Democracy is money politics, bribing elections. Democratic elections are a waste of money, the cost of democracy is high.
9. Useless Theory. Authoritarianism benefits economic development, like Singapore. Democratic countries don't compare to China, like India.
10. Representation Theory. The National People's Congress and its deputies represent the people's democracy, as well as the key “Three Represents
” ideology. No need for any democracy.