Tuesday, January 29, 2008

China: Prospects for Democracy

Foreign Affairs has a long piece about democracy in China -- or the lack of it.

All the mumbling about "development" and doing things "over time" does not impress me. Democracy delayed is democracy denied. You just think about the lack of freedoms in China, press censorship, the autocratic one-party rule, human-rights abuses, and all the rest.

While you're thinking about that and wondering if democracy can "work" there, take a look at South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.

1 comment:

SSayer said...

Western economies compete with one another for Chinese investment, causing the issues of human rights, democracy and liberty to be suppressed in pursuit of Chinese favour.

They have compromised the opportunity to encourage democratic reforms in the plutocratic police-state by making the economic rewards for China, in the form of foreign investment and returns from outward investment, conditional. Holding hostage the vital ingredients for economic growth would force the Chinese oligarchy to listen to the Chinese people and their enduring demands for political and governmental reform.

Brown bent over backwards to forge a close economic relationship with China when he visited in January 2008. He offered London as a base for a $200bn sovereign wealth fund (a private cash reserve of the Chinese elite’s spare change), secured a deal which will increase trade between the nations by $10bn over the next two years, and he even got a personal invitation to the Beijing Olympics. Where were the issues over human rights discussed? Conveniently below Prime Ministerial level.

Although economic ‘turbulence’ is an understandably a cause for concern and securing future investment is essential in such times, the financial storm caused by the inevitable violent upheaval in China will cause far greater economic instability, especially if it leads to another form of despotism.

Would it not be far more economically competent to create incentives for gradual democratic reform so that China’s transformation into a liberalised and sustainable economy becomes grounded and legitimised through popular consent?