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Topics on Democracy (Part 1) — Democracy War Game

( This article was first published on May 23, 2009 on the following website : chinablogs.wordpress.com )
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*** ( Important : Please note that this article is NOT a rebuttal of Raj’s recent Democracy article. Nor has it anything at all to do with his article in any way. It is a pure coincidence that his article was published just before mine. It has always been my intention to transfer my articles from my site onto FM. And my Democracy 2-part series happens to be the next and last articles to be transferred. The readers should NOT view this article as a response to any previous articles on this FM site ) ***

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Topics on Democracy (Part 1) — Democracy War Game

May 24, 2009 by Chan

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A : “We want democracy!!”
B: “Why?”

A : “It’s good for us”
B : “How?”

A : “What do you mean how??? Everyone says so.”
B : “Who’s everyone?”

A : “I don’t care. I want democracy now!!”

The above conversation never took place. I made it up.

But if a friend of mine was telling me the truth, then perhaps a similar conversation may have actually taken place in the 1960s. In that case, “A” would have been a local Hong Kong Chinese, and “B” would probably have been a British expat in Hong Kong. The location was British ruled Hong Kong.

According to my friend, his uncle was a democracy campaigner. He demanded nothing less than full democracy from the British government. A full functioning democracy with a multi-party system formed by the grassroots, and a 4-yearly general election. He marched on the streets in an impressive show of force, comprising of …. well, one old man and his dumb placard.

I leave it to you to come to your own conclusions on what had happened to him in the end. But just in case you don’t know, Britain had laws that protect the stability of its government in HK. Basically, these laws treat any attempts by the people to overthrow the government as high treason. But not only that, any attempts to incite others to overthrow the government is ALSO treated as high treason.

This means that not only general elections were not possible under British rule, but telling others how wonderful democracy was would (or at least could) have been treated as high treason according to those laws. Unless of course there is only one candidate on your general election ballet paper. Needless to say, that single candidate is of course the government itself.

That may explain why in the 150 years of British rule, HK never had one single protest demonstration for democracy other than those above-mentioned odd cases of one-man show here and there, assuming that they did actually take place.

———————————————-

What democracy? :

But how do you explain the sudden fervor for democracy that was to engulf Hong Kong leading up to the 1997 handover, and still going strongly today? I can understand that true believers of democracy would not hesitate to take whatever opportunity they have to express their views. And the leaving of the British would have provided that opportunity. But anyone who has lived in HK well before the handover knows that these people (if they existed at all) would account for an extremely small percentage of the population.

Back in the old days in HK, democracy was never on the minds of the average person. In fact, I have never known or heard of anyone who had even mentioned this word in any form (except of course from the above story which may not even be real). In those days, it wasn’t like the British had to point a gun at your head to stop you from demanding democracy. All they had to do was not promote the idea, and the people never bothered to ask.

So where did this sudden fervor for democracy come from? It happened in large scale, and almost overnight. Surely, if the masses love democracy that much, why was there never even a hint that this was so dear to their hearts in the entire 150 years of British rule.

Clearly, the surprising suddenness of the eruption of democracy fervour in HK leading up to the 1997 handover removes any doubt that this could have been a natural process of evolution in the Chinese psyche. There can be no doubt that someone or something was behind all this. The question is who was it, and what was the motive.

Anyone who had followed the news back then should have a pretty good idea who may be behind the sudden sea change. If you happen to not know, then I am happy to let you come up with your own conclusions, as that is not exactly what I want to explore with you today.

It is however interesting to note that during the entire 150 years of British rule, the so-called “free” broadcast media in HK had never promoted the idea and benefits of democracy to the people of HK. Then come the deadline for HK handover, all of a sudden it went out in force to promote democracy and a multi-party system to the public in sync with all government efforts. It even gave free air time to debates in the HK legislative council, thus educating the public about the potential benefits of having a powerful full-functioning legislative council that is independent of the government.

Perhaps this earlier lack of democratic debates and education is not surprising given that the government holds the key to media licences. It would be unthinkable to find your multi-million dollar media empire suffer a sudden death overnight because you accidentally educated the public of a new way to overthrow the British HK government. High treason carries very high penalties.

————————————————-

No, it’s YOU stupid :

But that’s beside the point. The point is what were YOU doing? The HK media had its hands tied behind its back. But NOT you!

If you do a simple Google search on blogs relating to China’s government, you will find all kinds of accusations and condemnations directed at the Chinese government. The average person, especially those in the West, is hellbent on condemning China’s government on almost all topics under the sun. The majority of these often eventually find its way to the topic of democracy, or rather the lack of it. This is often accompanied by how unimaginable life is in the Middle Kingdom because of that lack.

But here comes the question. If life was that unbearable without democracy, why did you not condemn the British government for stifling democracy in HK. If democracy was such a fundamental human right, why did you not defend human rights for the people of HK. Clearly, if democracy was that good, why not give them some. 150 years is a very long time for such an “abuse” of fundamental human rights.

Perhaps the real question is what is the real motive behind all this accusations at the Chinese government on the issue of democracy. Ask yourself these questions. If we were to switch the word “China” with the word “Britain”, would you still have done the same thing?

In other words, would you have been so happy to see Chinese without political freedom for the next 150 years? What about restraining from condemning China on the issue of democracy for the next 150 years? Would you not even mention the words “democratic mandate” for the next 150 years? But perhaps more importantly, would you pressure a British controlled Middle Kingdom for democratic reform? Something that no-one seemed to want to do for HK before 1997.

The story doesn’t end there. If it was just British HK, you may brush it aside by saying it was a once off mistake on the part of the “democracy” campaigners. But ALL Western colonies in the entire world never had any democracy. Yet, not a single soul preached the concept of democratic mandate to these colonials. Not a single “democracy” campaigner pressured any Western government on the issue of democracy.

One may argue that a colony cannot by definition have democracy. But that hardly justifies the double standards. You either believe in democracy or you don’t. Clearly, the word “democracy” plays no part in these accusations. The word “China” is everything. Once you replace the word “China” with the word “Britain”, or any other friendly Western colonial powers for that matter, these accusations would automatically fade away.

————————————————-

Let the game begin :

Perhaps this is just a game between rival powers. A new kind of war game. A game where you, the so-called “democracy” campaigner would happily and voluntarily play the foot soldiers for one side. The objective of the game is of course not to liberate, but to attack, for liberating would be much too easy. One could easily have done that to HK plus a dozen other places in the last few decades.

As the June 4th date nears, the “democracy” war game will inevitably heat up. Accusations and condemnations of China is going to come from all directions. And “democracy” is going to be the ammunition for this war game. And you, the “democracy” campaigners are of course the foot soldiers sitting in front of your computers waiting for the game to begin.

At the right moment, you are going to fire the first shot containing “democratic mandates” and “general elections”. I will then counter with “HK”, “Saudi Arabia”, and what have you, followed by “hypocrisy”. All of a sudden out of nowhere, someone kicks in the “F” word. Everyone pauses…. You then respond with “I am just against the government, not the people”. And I counter with “I love you too”. As for this article, well …. let’s just say it will be conveniently forgotten so that we can all pretend to have some “unpredictability” in this otherwise boring game.

So the clock is now ticking. In less than 2 weeks time, history will repeat itself. The conversation 40 years ago between A and B mentioned at the beginning of this article will see the light of day once again. But this time, the role is reversed. “A” is YOU, and “B” is me.

A : “You must have democracy!!”
B: “Why?”

A : “It’s good for you”
B : “How?”

A : “What do you mean how??? Everyone says so.”
B : “Who’s everyone?”

A : “I don’t care. You must have democracy now!!”

.

  1. Think Ming!
    July 1st, 2009 at 10:42 | #1

    Again obsessed with the bizarre notion that the world is ‘anti-China’. . . With xenophobic citizens like you, China will surely be the cause of the next world war.

    You also overlook the fact that there was plenty of protest against British rule in Hong Kong – much of it the direct result of meddling by China. “Meddling in the internal affairs of others” as the CCP cliche goes?

    You also overlook the fact that the democracy movement in Hong Kong grew in popularity as other Asian nations became democratic (Taiwan, South Korea, and so on), as the Berlin Wall came down, and as Hong Kong Chinese saw students murdered en mass in Tiananmen and thought “Shit! In less than a decade that could be us!”

    To blame the British for Hong Kong people wanting democracy is a bit weird. . .

    The world simply changed and Hong Kong evolved with it. . .

    Of course China is now doing its level best to make the world less democratic (viciously attacking Taiwan’s democracy for starters). Eventually China will no doubt succeed in this, so just take a chill pill and wait for the authoritarian world for which you yearn to materialize.

  2. S.K. Cheung
    July 1st, 2009 at 10:50 | #2

    “All they had to do was not promote the idea, and the people never bothered to ask.”
    —China also does not promote such an idea; yet some people are asking. i wonder why.

    “So where did this sudden fervor for democracy come from?”
    —who knows? Maybe pre 1997, people didn’t feel they needed it. Maybe with 1997 looming, and the reality of the alternative was more in focus, they suddenly felt otherwise.

    “surprising suddenness of the eruption of democracy fervour in HK leading up to the 1997 handover removes any doubt that this could have been a natural process of evolution in the Chinese psyche.”
    —it was not going to be a gradual, evolving process of handover. So why need there be a natural process of evolution of a desire for democracy.

    “One may argue that a colony cannot by definition have democracy. But that hardly justifies the double standards.”
    —maybe what Britain should do then is to return the colony to China…oh wait, she already did. Drat.

    “The objective of the game is of course not to liberate, but to attack, for liberating would be much too easy.”
    —for Chinese in China, if that is what they want? You honestly think it’d be easy?

    Saudi Arabia is a good point. Hopefully there is someone making that plea on a Blog for Saudi Arabia.

    You are really taking this anti-China thing for a prolonged spin. Your argument here seems to boil down to the fact that, unless people champion for democracy anywhere and everywhere that it is deemed to be lacking, people shouldn’t champion for it at all, and least of all in China. There are 3 problems with this: 1. whether it’s lacking elsewhere or not, if it is lacking in China, what’s wrong with asking for it in China? 2. Must it be all countries or none for anyone who would be doing the asking? 3. isn’t it the choice of the people who would do the asking to deem where it is necessary for them to ask? My answers would be nothing/no/yes. Yours would probably be the opposite. And that’s how these discussions go.

  3. barny chan
    July 1st, 2009 at 10:59 | #3

    Chan: “But how do you explain the sudden fervor for democracy that was to engulf Hong Kong leading up to the 1997 handover, and still going strongly today?”

    Are you really unaware of Hong Kong Basic Law 45?

    Quote: “The ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures.” This is where the “sudden fervor for democracy” came from. I think that should wrap the thread up…

  4. Raj
    July 1st, 2009 at 13:23 | #4

    Chan, why are you “transfering” your blog articles here? This isn’t your blog, it’s a shared project (or maybe it’s the Admin’s). But in any case you’re not writing anything original. If you want to link when writing something, fine. Do you even know how many articles have you put up on the front page in the last week or so?

    As for your entry, to be honest its complete nonsense and a waste of space. I might as well make up a conversation I essentially hear all the time from supporters of the political status-quo in China.

    A : “I strongly oppose democracy and civil rights!”
    B: “Why?”

    A : “Because Chinese are not ready for democracy.”
    B : “When will they be ready for democracy?”

    A : “When they’re able to make the right decisions.”
    B : “How do you know what the right decision is?”

    A : “It will be in China’s best interest.”
    B: “Yes, but how can you say what’s in China’s best interest?”

    A: “Look, stop confusing the matter. We all know that Chinese people need to be controlled and aren’t ready for change. It’s a FACT.”
    B: “Says who?”

    This means that not only general elections were not possible under British rule, but telling others how wonderful democracy was would (or at least could) have been treated as high treason according to those laws….. That may explain why in the 150 years of British rule, HK never had one single protest demonstration for democracy other than those above-mentioned odd cases of one-man show here and there, assuming that they did actually take place.

    That is complete rubbish. There were protests for democracy (or maybe “more” democracy depending on your POV) before 1997. Hong Kong law before 1997 also gave people a high degree of freedom and the ability to protest, speak their minds, etc. There was plenty of debate on political reform, and it didn’t have to be hidden.

    There were also elections, just not as advanced as they could and should be (i.e. no functional constituencies, direct elections for the chief executive, etc). But of course as a colony there couldn’t be elections for the governor.

    As for after 1997, as Barny says there was a specific commitment to direct elections for the Chief Executive, the ending of functional constituencies, etc. When China started delaying on drawing up a timetable and then various officials started saying patronising stuff like Hong Kong was not “ready” for democracy, despite the fact that the CCP is an authoritarian party with no real experience of democracy, Hong Kong people started to realise that if possible China would never bring the reforms in. Tung Chee Hwa’s “security law” was seen as an indication of what China really intended for Hong Kong.

    So people had to get motivated and not just float by as many had during the British-era, when if they didn’t have direct democracy for all political positions at least they had civil rights that they didn’t fear London was going to play around with.

    If you do a simple Google search on blogs relating to China’s government, you will find all kinds of accusations and condemnations directed at the Chinese government. The average person, especially those in the West, is hellbent on condemning China’s government on almost all topics under the sun.

    If life was that unbearable without democracy, why did you not condemn the British government for stifling democracy in HK.

    There were no blogs before 1997! But there were people who criticised the fact full, direct elections for the assembly were not brought in (or if writing in the 1990s, that they were brought in too late). What planet are you living on?

  5. Shane9219
    July 1st, 2009 at 19:20 | #5

    @Think Ming! #1

    You got take a modern-day Chinese belief to your heart: “Facts speak truth, not the other way around”.

    The fact is that GB left HK residents in cold for as long as people can remember, and suddenly turned on this “democracy’ machine just before the transfer of HK back to China’s control. Such a simple political calculation can not hide from anyone with a clear eye.

    >> “the notion that the world is ‘anti-China’”
    LoL. No one in China believes ” the world is ‘anti-China’”, but the belief of “the old West is anti-China” do exists. And you shouldn’t blame Chinese on that, just look at the naughty and sometime nasty behaviors and rhetoric by the West. Your own rhetoric and the drama associated with last year’s Olympics are the good examples.

    Deep down in their collective conscience, many people in the West JUST could not accept the fact of a strong China, as it does not confirm to their prescribed ideology, because these people grew up with an outdated Cold War worldview of black-or-white and you-are-either-with-me-or-against-me . At state level, the western nations are upset by the fact that a strong and successful China breaks the dominance of Western block formed during the Cold war, and those so-called “democracy ideology” game is in fact just smoke and mirrors to keep China off balance and to serve their own purposes.

  6. barny chan
    July 1st, 2009 at 19:54 | #6

    Shane9219 Says: “The fact is that GB…turned on this “democracy’ machine just before the transfer of HK back to China’s control. Such a simple political calculation can not hide from anyone with a clear eye.”

    Are you suggesting that the tens of thousands of people who marched in HK today are Brit-controlled puppets who can be turned on and off at will? The reality is that key players in the democracy movement like Szeto Wah were thorns in the side of the colonial regime while the city’s anti-democratic tycoons and administrators were happily shining Brit shoes in return for self-advancement. It should bring shame on Beijing that they appointed Donald Tsang as Chief Executive despite the fact that he was such a key colonial collaborator he received a British knighthood. In a slightly different time a man like Tsang, who literally got on his knees before the British royal family to receive that knighthood, would have done well not to be facing a PLA firing squad. The same applies to the city’s robber baron tycoons who seamlessly moved from being colonial stooges to Chinese super-patriots in return for being allowed to continue their exploitation of the territory’s ordinary people.

  7. raventhorn4000
    July 1st, 2009 at 21:36 | #7

    BC,

    Mob can be easily incited. Not so easily turned off.

    The fact that Britain purposefully gave the “democracy movement” more power in the political machine just before hand over is an indication of “scorched Earth” policy.

    Because they would have never done it if they were keeping HK.

  8. Wukailong
    July 1st, 2009 at 21:51 | #8

    @Shane9219: “Deep down in their collective conscience, many people in the West JUST could not accept the fact of a strong China, as it does not confirm to their prescribed ideology, because these people grew up with an outdated Cold War worldview of black-or-white and you-are-either-with-me-or-against-me . At state level, the western nations are upset by the fact that a strong and successful China breaks the dominance of Western block formed during the Cold war, and those so-called “democracy ideology” game is in fact just smoke and mirrors to keep China off balance and to serve their own purposes.”

    I can agree in as much as many Westerners worry about a strong, non-democratic China (though by no means everybody), and that it is based on Cold War thinking. At the same time, though, I don’t think it’s smoke and mirrors to “weaken China.” This is where the conspiracy theories come in. I think nobody worries about a strong China per se, no more than anyone worries about a strong India or strong Brazil.

    China’s situation is difficult as it requires a peaceful environment most of all, but because of its rhetoric on Taiwan and military spending a lot of people see it as bellicose. I agree this is not entirely fair when you think of what the US gets away with, but it’s certainly something it needs to rethink. Hu Jintao has been doing a much better job on this than Jiang Zemin.

  9. Wahaha
    July 1st, 2009 at 23:48 | #9

    BC,

    You mentioned in other thread that China will be OK under democracy, no chaos. Will you name some countries ( with some similarity to China) to back that statement ?

    WKL, (to your post on other thread.)

    Yes, I oppose current western democracy, not only in China, but also in America, As I said before, such system works for the rich, and let people fight for the crumbs left by the rich (so they feel they have the freedom). People in West havent felt such impact cuz their government has had money.

    Now the situation changed, govenment doesnt have money, the crumbs left by rich wont be enough to make everyone happy, but people have the right to demand the money, whether they deserve the money or not. All of this will make government unfunctionable, as you have seen the political struggle in California, New york state. America becomes a big circus that people watch those elected nonstop play political game, economics become an afterthought.

    History has taught us that “fight from within” will hurt the country most.

    I dont like one-party monoply in China, but I worry more about the rich controling a country. If the rich control a country, it will be disaster for any country. During the 1970s oil crisis, it needed borrowed money and huge tech breakthrough pulling the west out of recession. What do we have now ? no cheap oil, no money, no new tech that can enhance the productivity. The only thing that can help is people unite together to attack the problems, which is impossible under democracy. I am really scared that maybe America just entered the tunnel, If that is the case, well, God bless our planet.

  10. Otto Kerner
    July 2nd, 2009 at 00:51 | #10

    “As for this article, well …. let’s just say it will be conveniently forgotten so that we can all pretend to have some ‘unpredictability’ in this otherwise boring game.”

    I don’t know about you, but I have never been inclined to pretend that the ideas expressed in this article are anything other than predictable.

  11. raventhorn4000
    July 2nd, 2009 at 01:18 | #11

    Raj,

    “As for after 1997, as Barny says there was a specific commitment to direct elections for the Chief Executive, the ending of functional constituencies, etc. When China started delaying on drawing up a timetable and then various officials started saying patronising stuff like Hong Kong was not “ready” for democracy, despite the fact that the CCP is an authoritarian party with no real experience of democracy, Hong Kong people started to realise that if possible China would never bring the reforms in. Tung Chee Hwa’s “security law” was seen as an indication of what China really intended for Hong Kong.”

    this is complete “rubbish” and revisionist history.

    There is no agreement of “commitment” to direct elections or ending functional constituencies. British agreement with China was unspecific on time table. the HK “Basic Law” is the official agreed upon document between GB and China, with only aspirational goal of “universal suffrage” and no time table.

    Article 68 of “Basic Law” of HK has no time tables of any kind.

    “Security law” defines basic criminal law definition of “sedition” and treason, and terrorists.

    Every nation has such a law defining treason.

    The outcry over the “warrantless search” section of the “security law” is ridiculous. HK does not have the “fruit of poisonous tree doctrine”, as opposed to in US, which means, even evidence obtained through ILLEGAL search and seizure can be used in court.

    Great Britain, Australia, Canada, and Australia all follow the exact same “no fruit of poisonous tree” principle of law as HK. US is the anomaly.

    Great Britain passed similar “security” laws to allow warrantless searches on “suspected terrorists”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prevention_of_Terrorism_Act_2005

  12. barny chan
    July 2nd, 2009 at 03:50 | #12

    raventhorn4000 Says: “Mob can be easily incited. Not so easily turned off.”

    I didn’t ask if people could be easily incited (although I don’t believe it’s easy as you suggest), I asked Shane if he believed democracy campaigners were (as he implied) Brit-controlled puppets.

    “Britain purposefully gave the “democracy movement” more power in the political machine just before hand over is an indication of “scorched Earth” policy.”

    Don’t be ridiculous. A scorched earth policy does not involve leaving a highly functional administration and infrastructure intact.

    “Because they would have never done it if they were keeping HK.”

    But they weren’t keeping HK, they were withdrawing from one of their last bits of empire.

    Wahaha Says: “You mentioned in other thread that China will be OK under democracy, no chaos. Will you name some countries ( with some similarity to China) to back that statement ?”

    The obvious comparison (which I’ve already given) is with the Eastern Bloc. Despite initial conflicts such as the Yugoslav wars, I believe the majority of people value the transition towards a freer society; in most constituent countries the standard and quality of life is substantially higher, and in very few is the standard of life lower despite the recent financial turmoil.

    “I dont like one-party monoply in China, but I worry more about the rich controling a country. If the rich control a country, it will be disaster for any country.”

    The point is, the rich do now control China as the CCP have greedily embraced cronyism.

  13. Think Ming!
    July 2nd, 2009 at 04:18 | #13

    @ Shane 5

    My own rhetoric and drama around the time of the Olympics?

    Screw you. . .

    I attended a ‘Support the Olympics Rally’ to see what it was all about and suffered an unprovoked racial attack at the hands of Chinese xenophobes – their xenophobia nurtured by the Chinese government’s lies, omissions, and distortions.

    I did absolutely nothing to provoke these racist Chinese xenophobes. I was there purely to observe.

    Despite promises they would assist, none of the Chinese present who had footage of what occurred did anything to identify my attackers – despite having the entire incident on tape. Their rationale? It would be ‘unpatriotic’ – especially in the wake of the Sichuan Earthquake.

    Now that’s the part that really kills me. . . An Earthquake suddenly becomes a reason to renege on promises (and effectively give the OK to violent racial assaults), and all in the name of ‘patriotism’.

    I would be far less bothered by what occurred if the parties who had promised to identify my attackers had kept their promise, rather than going back on their word in the name of some bizarre kind of ‘patriotism’.

  14. Shane9219
    July 2nd, 2009 at 04:40 | #14

    @Think Ming! #13

    Unfortunately, it seems that only you are screwed by your own hatred and rage.

    A man can engage an intelligent debate only when he has a peaceful mind.

  15. scl
    July 2nd, 2009 at 05:04 | #15

    Britain displayed world class hypocrisy regarding Hong Kong democracy. As democracy for China, I support democracy with both my arms and legs, if no major revision of the current constitution will be allowed. The constitution is something you die for, not necessarily democracy. Democracy will eventually come, if the constitution is sound.

  16. barny chan
    July 2nd, 2009 at 05:23 | #16

    I’m curious to know what people make of the appointment of Sir (it’s staggering that he didn’t even relinquish the knighthood) Donald Tsang as HK Chief Exec despite his history of being a traitor to China – it was entirely possible to live your life in HK without bowing and scraping, as he did, to the Brit regime. Similarly, what do people make of the seamless overnight transition from colonial stooges to Chinese super-patriots made by the city’s self-serving tycoons? It’s a disgrace that Beijing allows these parasites to continue running HK for their sole benefit at the expense of ordinary people.

  17. real name
    July 2nd, 2009 at 07:55 | #17

    4.
    A: “Look, stop confusing the matter. We all know that Chinese people need to be controlled and aren’t ready for change. It’s a FACT.”
    B: “Says who?”

    http://www.chinasmack.com/more/chinese-reactions-translation-jackie-chan-controlled-comment/

  18. Think Ming!
    July 2nd, 2009 at 08:22 | #18

    @ Shane 14

    I was assaulted for no reason by racist foreign xenophobes while in my own home country. . .

    You are now not only blaming me for getting pissed off, but actually trying to frame my anger as justification for the Chinese belief that “the old West is anti-China”.

    Sorry, but that is screwed up. . .

    Your attitude suggests serous xenophobia and paranoia.

  19. Peteryang
    July 2nd, 2009 at 14:53 | #19

    Democracy is overrated, we need rights, government stays out of people’s private life and focus on, well, what a government should do, so I can proudly pay my tax.

    I am not interested in toppling the CCP like some ultra-liberals are motivated into, nor do I want to buy a computer with some Green Dam crap that’s obviously there to monitor me.

    All I need, and I believe what the all Chinese reasonably need, is an efficient and clean government that can manage and foster rule of law, equality and justice, and through them, a healthy capitalism.

  20. Peteryang
    July 2nd, 2009 at 15:13 | #20

    Also, at this stage we can expand media freedom and explore a rudimentary level of public participation of national politics, direct election can wait until the society is tolerant and mature enough, it took the west 300 years to be where they are now, from industrial revolution to union to rule of law to anti-trust to civil rights movement, there is an ORDER of things, civilization does not leap, and bypassing one means you will have to revise it sooner or later.

  21. Steve
    July 2nd, 2009 at 15:47 | #21

    @ Peteryang #19: I edited the expletive out of your post. Try to keep it clean, ok? If you have any questions about site rules, you can refer to admin’s posting of the rules here. Your comments are welcome, just not the obscenities.

  22. Raj
    July 2nd, 2009 at 21:40 | #22

    Peter

    direct election can wait until the society is tolerant and mature enough

    How do you measure when it is tolerant and mature enough and who gets to measure it?

    it took the west 300 years to be where they are now

    So you’re saying China is 300 years behind? Wow, and given I always hear how China has 5,000 years of history what has it been doing for so long?!

  23. Wukailong
    July 2nd, 2009 at 22:03 | #23

    I’m curious about the 300 years thing too. “The West” is quite a large and fluid concept, but I’ve stopped trying to convince people to define it or realize it’s quite diverse. These days, when in doubt, I always take “the West” to mean the US and perhaps the UK.

  24. Wahaha
    July 2nd, 2009 at 22:25 | #24

    BC,

    Your example doesnt work.

    Look around world : democracy looks good in developed countries or industralized countries. but looks lousy in developing countries and sometime causes chaos and even civil wars.

    Eastern Europe are industralized countries with much higher personal income, plus people are far better educated than chinese on average. It has been argued based on the examples of South Korea and Taiwan people will go after democracy when their average income is about $9,000. Also people must be well-educated (see those African countries ?)

    Also the civil war in Yugoslavia alone makes Chinese think twice about democracy. Your example cant be used in any way to justify your argument.

    ****************************************************************************

    “The point is, the rich do now control China as the CCP have greedily embraced cronyism”

    BC,

    I give you two pair of numbers,

    China invested 568 billion dollars in stimulus plan, India 50 billion dollars,

    (by 2006) China had 96 billion dollars of black money in Swiss bank, India had 1,456 billion dollars of black money (Russia had 470, UK had 390.)

    Not to mention much much much more money invested in infrastructrue in China than in India.

  25. Wahaha
    July 2nd, 2009 at 22:30 | #25

    A: “Look, stop confusing the matter. We all know that Chinese people need to be controlled and aren’t ready for change. It’s a FACT.”
    B: “Says who?”

    Real name,

    A: “Look, stop confusing the matter, We all know that Westerners need to be controlled, otherwise, their children, grandchildren and great grandchilldren will be buried under mountains of debt.”
    B, “Says who ?”
    A: ” the unborn, they already have trouble breathing now”.

  26. Shane9219
    July 2nd, 2009 at 22:32 | #26

    @Think Ming! #18

    I understand how you feel and also feel sorry about your personal experience.

    However, you should feel lucky not getting the kind treatment as the guy wrestling the torch away from paralympian Jin Jing in France 🙂

  27. Peteryang
    July 3rd, 2009 at 01:19 | #27

    @Steve

    My bad for rough talk.

    @Raj

    One way to measure it would be that the congress appoints a team of social scientists who answer directly to the top decision makers, they can set up a series of benchmarks, develop guidelines, gather data across the nation and doing all sorts of stuff you know, there are many ways to achieve this and I can write a book on this subject. However, my understanding is that at the current social configuration, universal suffrage or a general western style democracy would trigger infighting of monumental scale that could easily break up the government from within and in turn cause huge rift amongst the military, and then what will see is volatile regions like Tibet and Xinjiang go “screw this I am leaving”.

    And about the 300 years progress, I like to think the real China started just 30 years ago. China can import technologies and learn from other nations’ past so it definitely won’t take equal amount of time, but still, there are lots of work ahead.

    And “West” should refer to North American and Western European countries.

  28. barny chan
    July 3rd, 2009 at 02:06 | #28

    Wahaha Says: “Your example doesnt work.”

    I assumed you were being disingenuous when you asked the question, but chose to answer anyway for the benefit of others with less closed minds. Again, this isn’t for you, it’s for others.

    “Look around world : democracy looks good in developed countries or industralized countries. but looks lousy in developing countries and sometime causes chaos and even civil wars.”

    Whereas authoritarianism does wonders for the people of North Korea and Myanmar.

    “Eastern Europe are industralized countries with much higher personal income, plus people are far better educated than chinese on average. It has been argued based on the examples of South Korea and Taiwan people will go after democracy when their average income is about $9,000. Also people must be well-educated (see those African countries ?)”

    The levels of industrialisation and education across the entire Soviet Union in the late 80s were directly comparable to China today.

    “Also the civil war in Yugoslavia alone makes Chinese think twice about democracy.”

    The yearly casualties from conflict across the former Soviet Union are lower than the current annual fatality rate on Chinese roads. Go back just a little bit further and the internal Chinese and Soviet death rate as a direct result of authoritarianism dwarfs the figures for the Yugoslav wars to the point of irrelevance .

    “Your example cant be used in any way to justify your argument.”

    Yes it can. After a period of moderate turbulence most people are living measurably better lives.

  29. Peteryang
    July 3rd, 2009 at 02:29 | #29

    I think it all boils down to “when are the PEOPLE ready?”, suffice to say, we may test voting of local representatives in modern cities and see how it goes, Shanghai for example, is a suitable spot, it has a decent demography of well-educated middle-class and entrepreneurs, and there has to be NEUTRAL information sources, people can’t decide rationally without understanding the true state of society and their candidates.

    But since that will challenge CCP’s authority, I don’t think the government will ever allow voting, even when the people are ready.

  30. Wahaha
    July 3rd, 2009 at 03:43 | #30

    BC,

    I presented my reasoning why your case doesnt make sense, as those countries are far more industrialized, people are more educated, population is far less. I dont know how you can apply that to China. It will be the readers of this thread to decide.

    Have you ever thought everthing getting worse and worse cuz of the so called “people” and activitists ? here is a perfect example :

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1907504,00.html?xid=rss-topstories-cnnpartner

    ….conservative activists led by Howard Jarvis put a seductively simple sounding proposition on the ballot. … “In the first years after Proposition 13 passed, the state was able to get by because it had a surplus,”

    For example, pre-Proposition 13, California public schools were among the finest in the nation. After Proposition 13, education spending per pupil dropped to 48th in the nation.

  31. kui
    July 3rd, 2009 at 03:55 | #31

    when are the people ready? Driving on Beijing’s street tells me some Beijingers are not ready. They do not giveways when they are supposed to do so. I have many cousins who are new drivers. They all hate police because they had been fined and had demerit points taken off their licences by the police. Off it goes the police-people relationship and the Chinese government is aware of this. They try to save the “uncle police” image by stopping imposing fines and taking demerit points (against minor offences). Both the government and people need to learn.

    You are sure CCP will never allow votting? Back in 1970s people thought the CCP will never allow capitalism in China but look at them now. CCP is a political party that has changed so much and I believe they will continue to change. Hey, peter, I think there is such possibility that one day KMT will come back to China.

  32. Wahaha
    July 3rd, 2009 at 03:56 | #32

    Here is another link :

    http://www.lacitybeat.com/cms/story/detail/the_crushing_blow_of_howard_jarvis/6623/

    ….
    The way the measure insinuated itself into the routines of everyday life surprised many of its supporters, who arrived at the La Mirada library to find it with neither recent encyclopedias nor bestsellers. “What we found over and over again, people would come in and say, ‘We needed to control our property tax, but we never meant it to affect the libraries,’” recalls Todd. “That was the hardest thing for the communities, because when they voted for Prop. 13, their property taxes were out of control, and they needed to do something to protect their homes. But they never intended that local services be devastated, and that’s what Prop. 13 did.”
    …..

    ******************************

    BC,

    This is result when well educated people tried to decide how country should be run. Imagine the result when 1 billion far less educated chinese try to determine how China should be run.

    See how people devastated their own life ?

    Also, 20 years ago, when Japan was in deep recession, Americans and Europeans tried to teach Japanese, told them to dump those trouble banks ? Have you ever thought why now Americans and Europeans are making the same mistakes ? Are those elected politicians so stupid that they forgot what happened in Japan ?

  33. real name
  34. barny chan
    July 3rd, 2009 at 05:28 | #34

    Wahaha, I’m just going to allow others to decide whether the developments of the former Soviet Union in the last 20 years are of more relevance than the fact that La Mirada library in LA County “didn’t buy books for a number of years”. You’re way beyond parody. You and kui can live in your scared, authoritarian worshipping bubble for as long as you wish, but I’ve every confidence that the people of China have the intelligence, courage, and dignity to move things forward. They really don’t need your help.

  35. real name
    July 3rd, 2009 at 05:47 | #35
  36. S.K. Cheung
    July 3rd, 2009 at 05:49 | #36

    To Kui:
    the issue of China not being ready or Chinese people not being ready has been raised many a time, dating to when Buxi was around, when his theory (and I’m paraphrasing cuz it’s been a while) was that China’s per capita GDP needed to reach a certain threshold before Chinese society could support “democracy”. The specific metric for measuring “readiness” is less important. But the underlying concept was that China today is not ready. However, the implication is that, at some point in the future, CHinese society will be ready. I have no problem with that.

    But one question that I and others have raised before is that, if and when Chinese society is “ready”, how receptive will the CCP be to that readiness. After all, in order for Chinese society to translate that readiness into reality would require the CCP to relinquish the role she currently enjoys. You seem confident that the CCP will change with the times; I’m not as hopeful; but we shall see.

    Another question that’s been raised is that, if and when Chinese society is ready, how will that readiness be translated into action and reality. What’s the roadmap for change? Just as the readiness seems to be something to be acquired gradually, so too that the resultant change won’t happen overnight. But everytime a roadmap is proposed, the general response seems to be that it’s pointless because it’s not feasible today. Which is fantastic, except few people are talking about today. For whatever reason, there seems to be a stereotyped reluctance to even speak of what this future might look like. So the dialogue always comes back to “we’re not ready today, so your roadmap’s no good”. Never ceases to amaze me.

  37. barny chan
    July 3rd, 2009 at 06:00 | #37

    SKC, if the CCP’s requirements for democracy are a high enough GDP coupled with a good basic level of education then there would have been no reason for them to delay matters any further in Hong Kong. Their objection to democracy is ideological rather than pragmatic.

  38. S.K. Cheung
    July 3rd, 2009 at 06:45 | #38

    Hi Barny:
    sorry if I wasn’t clear. I’m not suggesting that GDP is the CCP’s metric. I was trying to paraphrase what Buxi proposed as one possible metric. I don’t want to bastardize Buxi’s points, and i certainly can’t speak for him, but another one of his points was that all PRC citizens should enjoy the same rights, no more and no less. So to take HK, already with their SZ status and Basic Law, and to add on full-on democracy, would really be giving one group of PRC citizens much more than the rest. But I do agree with your last statement.

  39. barny chan
    July 3rd, 2009 at 06:54 | #39

    SKC, I realise that this wasn’t your individual position. I’m just making clear that even in the part of China where democracy has been promised, and all of the supposed pre-conditions exist, the CCP gives no indication of moving in that direction.

  40. S.K. Cheung
    July 3rd, 2009 at 07:03 | #40

    To Barny,
    as you know, you’re preaching to the choir.

  41. barny chan
    July 3rd, 2009 at 10:44 | #41

    I’ve heard all kinds of spurious arguments against democracy in the past, but I take a great deal of hope from a thread in which the best that people can offer is a fear that freedom will leave China with a freeze on the purchase of library books for a few years coupled with the fact that Beijingers aren’t the world’s best drivers…

  42. Raj
    July 3rd, 2009 at 16:21 | #42

    Peter (27)

    One way to measure it would be that the congress appoints a team of social scientists who answer directly to the top decision makers

    First, they haven’t done that. So you can see that they’re not interested in setting up an objective set of criteria to allow political reform. Second, given that the existing political elite are the cause of the lack of political reform, there is no way they’re going to appoint people who would say China is ready for change before the elite were. I promise you they would always find some reason to say China isn’t “ready” or they might not give any reason at all.

    It’s like Hong Kong. The CCP, having no experience of democracy, keeps telling a mostly democratic, highly-educated and well-ruled region, that it isn’t “ready” for full, direct elections. It has dangled the prospect of freer elections by 2020, but again without explanation, a roadmap, or unbreakable guarantee.

    However, my understanding is that at the current social configuration, universal suffrage or a general western style democracy would trigger infighting of monumental scale that could easily break up the government from within and in turn cause huge rift amongst the military, and then what will see is volatile regions like Tibet and Xinjiang go “screw this I am leaving”.

    So you’re saying Chinese are too uncivilised to be able to co-operate politically with each other and that the Tibetans and Xinjiangese are unhappy at Chinese rule and given the opportunity would break away? Accordingly they have to be held together by an autocratic, one-party system that brooks little dissent? You don’t think much of the people who live in China, do you?

    Personally I think that any such “unsuitability” in China for democracy is caused by the one-party system and media/information censorship. If rules were relaxed and a, say 10-year, roadmap for comprehensive political change was produced, there is no reason Chinese people couldn’t end up voting for political parties, having open, full political discussions in the media, etc in a civilised and restrained manner. It would take time to work the “bugs” out, but it would happen as they got used to the freedoms. That’s because I think Chinese people at heart are good, honest and trustworthy.

    For those who believe that there are too many Chinese people look out for number 1, in my view that would be because they live in an authoritarian society where justice is often linked to how much money you have and who you know. Nice people finish last, so look after yourself and try to bully others if you have a dispute with them. As for things like education, when members of the working classes (who weren’t well educated) were given the vote in the UK it did not affect the quality of our governments.

    And about the 300 years progress, I like to think the real China started just 30 years ago.

    So China is only 30 years old? Or it’s backward by over two and a half centuries?

    Come on, you know that China has had plenty of time to evolve politically. More importantly, you don’t have to be as slow as we were in making political changes. Did China have to spend 100 years to build a modern railway, or did it use existing technology and foreign assistance to come up with high speed lines? You don’t need to take the same gradual process as we did. Moreover our countries were less advanced and more poorly educated than China was when we first introduced the principles of multi-party, free elections, rule of law and the ability for the media to criticise the government directly, call for new leadership, etc.

  43. Wahaha
    July 3rd, 2009 at 16:43 | #43

    BC,

    I am living in US.

    Political change should come gradually, so dont try to go from A to G, try from A to B, B to C. Green Dam has been big embarrassment to Chinese government, but that gives them a great lesson. While you think the western democracy is good model for China, most chinese dont think so, otherwise the momentum of 6/4 wouldnt have died so quickly after the collapse of Soviet unions.

    Let me give two situations for you to pick :

    1) You have the freedom to speak against government and protest, but even you work 7 days a week, you still struggle for supporting your children’s study.

    2) You dont have the freedom to speak against government, and you dont have the freedom to protest. but you only have to work 5 days and support your children’s study.

    Which one would you pick ? Chinese are fighting for #2 now. so please kindly stop using harsh words on people who are working hardly to have a decent life. Only big mouths who take good life for granted would pick #1,

    BTW, My kids watched movie “Mall Cop”, in the movie, a mall cop was asked why he wanted to work in the mall, he said he didnt graduate from high school and had no skills, so he chose to be a mall cop, and HE COULD STILL AFFORD A DECENT LIFE. That is obviously not the case for 90% of the chinese. and obviously your priority is not on the list of what most chinese care. I am sure if a westerner has trouble having a decent life even working 6 days a week, he sure would pick #2.

    ********************************************************

    But one question that I and others have raised before is that, if and when Chinese society is “ready”, how receptive will the CCP be to that readiness.

    SKC,

    Though liberal in China want western democracy in China at any cost, lot dont think western democracy is good model for China, that doesnt mean they dont want democracy. For them, they dont know what democratic form will be good for China, like movie star Jackie Chen dont think western democracy is good for China but I dont think he wants government has too much power either. Without clear direction, what are Chinese fighting for ? so they rather the change comes step by step, not like some liberal want to see shock therepy. Remember how democratic movement lost its momentum right after the collapse of Soviet Union? As I said, the biggest threat to democracy is not China, it is US and India. If US can pull out of the current economic mess, CCP would be under trememdous pressure to do better economically than US, if US and India can do better, CCP maybe able to do better in next 20 years, but in next 50 years ? unlikely. People want to freedom, but they also want to enjoy a decent life by working only 5 days a week which for 99% of people is more important.

    The control of CCP is not as strong as you think, if it was, it wouldnt have to postpone the plan of green dam. All the CCP officials must learn public relation before taking their posts.

  44. Wahaha
    July 3rd, 2009 at 16:48 | #44

    Come on, you know that China has had plenty of time to evolve politically.

    Raj,

    Mao dominated China for 27 years, the political change was impossible until most hardliners died, also hardliners put hardliners in high position.

    Also learn your own history, how long did women gain their right ? how long did India or other colony gain their independence ? how long did west government accept unions ? So save the crap, overnight political change always cause chaos, chinese dont want another culture revolution, OK ?

    **************************************************************

    Also, Raj, before your pushing direct election in China, tell us why the elected in westare so stupid (or purposely, if so then why ?), as we all know that the biggest mistake Japan made in 90s was trying to save those banks with bad debt, but West politicians seem trying to repeat the same.

    Unless you can explain, you are basically asking chinese to elect some idiots into office, which would make you an idiot who try to sell his idiotic idea.

  45. Peteryang
    July 4th, 2009 at 01:01 | #45

    So you’re saying Chinese are too uncivilised to be able to co-operate politically with each other
    ——————

    Sadly true, the people need to understand PROCEDURES and respect DEMOCRATIC PROCESS and abide by LAWS have a TOLERANT ATTITUDE toward dissenting opinions, the capitalized words are factors that ensure a stable and healthy democracy. The western societies have these virtues so a congress can be disbanded and reinstated without people going coup d’etat. China right now has neither.

  46. S.K. Cheung
    July 4th, 2009 at 01:27 | #46

    To Wahaha:
    “1) You have the freedom to speak against government and protest, but even you work 7 days a week, you still struggle for supporting your children’s study.”
    —why do you assume that a CHina operated upon democratic principles would necessarily look like this?

    “2) You dont have the freedom to speak against government, and you dont have the freedom to protest. but you only have to work 5 days and support your children’s study.”
    —why do you assume the China of today can readily provide this?

    Besides, I don’t think people would argue with the economic success of the last 30 years under the CCP’s watch. For your aforementioned assumptions to work at all, you would have to also assume that a China governed by democratic principles (either under the CCP or under somebody else) would immediately forget how to run their economy. I’m not sure why you would assume that. I don’t think we’re talking about capitalism vs “communism”; I think we’re talking about “democracy” vs “authoritarian rule”.

    I don’t think Kevin James (as funny a guy as he is) is the best source of insight into the realities of the working class in America today, and especially not when he’s in character.

    “For them, they dont know what democratic form will be good for China”
    —which is exactly why the tossing around of ideas should be encouraged, and not trampled upon.

    “Without clear direction, what are Chinese fighting for ?”
    —I agree…which is why you need a plan/roadmap.

    “so they rather the change comes step by step, not like some liberal want to see shock therepy.”
    —I’m certainly not advocating the latter.

    “People want to freedom, but they also want to enjoy a decent life by working only 5 days a week which for 99% of people is more important.”
    —so would I. But as I said, how well is the CCP providing this for the vast majority right now? And why do you think they (or whoever else) would provide less of this in a more democratic environment? To me, democratic principles and a good quality of life are not mutually exclusive things.

  47. barny chan
    July 4th, 2009 at 02:31 | #47

    Wahaha Says: “BC, I am living in US.”

    I always find myself wondering how people like you, kui, r4000, and all the others who aren’t ready for democracy, stop yourselves running amok given all that evil freedom you have to contend with. It must be a struggle everyday not to descend into an orgy of chaos.

    “While you think the western democracy is good model for China, most chinese dont think so, otherwise the momentum of 6/4 wouldnt have died so quickly after the collapse of Soviet unions.”

    I think you’ll find that the mass slaughter of unarmed people on the orders of the CCP was instrumental in stopping that momentum. The fortunate people of the soviet union discovered that, by and large, their oppressors were not so psychotically blood thirsty in the pursuit of power for power’s sake.

  48. raventhorn4000
    July 4th, 2009 at 03:05 | #48

    BC,

    “I didn’t ask if people could be easily incited (although I don’t believe it’s easy as you suggest), I asked Shane if he believed democracy campaigners were (as he implied) Brit-controlled puppets.”

    Being “used” is almost as bad.

    “Don’t be ridiculous. A scorched earth policy does not involve leaving a highly functional administration and infrastructure intact.”

    No doubt if Chris Patten could have convinced everyone in HK government to self-destruct, he would have done it. But instead, he tried to let the mob decide how to self-destruct on their own, in the name of “democracy”.

    *But they weren’t keeping HK, they were withdrawing from one of their last bits of empire.”

    Hence, they had nothing to lose by mucking with the system of HK like it’s made of playdough.

    Fundamentally, China never agreed to any of the changes made. All such violations of treaties are nullity at law.

  49. barny chan
    July 4th, 2009 at 03:28 | #49

    raventhorn4000 Says: “Being “used” is almost as bad.”

    I’ve no understanding of why you hold Chinese people who don’t share your views in such contempt.

    “No doubt if Chris Patten could have convinced everyone in HK government to self-destruct, he would have done it. But instead, he tried to let the mob decide how to self-destruct on their own, in the name of “democracy”.”

    Why would Patten, a benign and liberal man by instinct, want anybody to self-destruct? He didn’t have your cold war mentality. It might surprise you, but on recent trips to HK he’s been warmly welcomed by the poorer sections of society – he was one of the few people with power in HK, either Brit or Chinese, who made a point of visiting and seeking the opinions of those living in public housing estates. As for your reference to “the mob”, have you ever been to HK? It’s one of the most genteel places on the planet. Even when hundreds of thousands of people have marched for democracy they’ve taken time at the end to pick up their litter. There is no “mob” in HK.

    “Hence, they had nothing to lose by mucking with the system of HK like it’s made of playdough.”

    They didn’t muck about with the system, they came to an agreement with China. Even if they’d wished to, the people and the system are not as malleable as you suggest.

    “Fundamentally, China never agreed to any of the changes made. All such violations of treaties are nullity at law.”

    Unless you’re suggesting that the Chinese component of the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group were idiots that were simply manipulated by their cleverer Brit counterparts, this is a ridiculous statement. If you can’t do better this then I’m not going to bother responding to you in future.

  50. raventhorn4000
    July 4th, 2009 at 03:46 | #50

    BC,

    “I’ve no understanding of why you hold Chinese people who don’t share your views in such contempt.”

    I have no idea why you blame other Chinese as “stooge” of the British, while you are so eager to accept what the British tell you.

    “Why would Patten, a benign and liberal man by instinct, want anybody to self-destruct? He didn’t have your cold war mentality. It might surprise you, but on recent trips to HK he’s been warmly welcomed by the poorer sections of society – he was one of the few people with power in HK, either Brit or Chinese, who made a point of visiting and seeking the opinions of those living in public housing estates. As for your reference to “the mob”, have you ever been to HK? It’s one of the most genteel places on the planet. Even when hundreds of thousands of people have marched for democracy they’ve taken time at the end to pick up their litter. There is no “mob” in HK.”

    I only point to the FACT that he did something in violation of treaties. Being well liked by the poor is not an excuse for that.

    “They didn’t muck about with the system, they came to an agreement with China. Even if they’d wished to, the people and the system are not as malleable as you suggest.”

    The agreement didn’t include the changes Patten made to LegCo. I don’t know, how malleable are the People? We will see.

    “Unless you’re suggesting that the Chinese component of the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group were idiots that were simply manipulated by their cleverer Brit counterparts, this is a ridiculous statement. If you can’t do better this then I’m not going to bother responding to you in future.”

    I suggest China did NOT agree to any of the changes made by Patten. That is FACT!

  51. barny chan
    July 4th, 2009 at 03:53 | #51

    raventhorn4000 Says: “I have no idea why you blame other Chinese as “stooge” of the British”

    The facts are simple: people like Tsang were formally rewarded for their services to Brit colonialism. Do better or be ignored in future.

  52. raventhorn4000
    July 4th, 2009 at 04:15 | #52

    BC,

    “I have no idea why you blame other Chinese as “stooge” of the British, while you are so eager to accept what the British tell you.”

    Quote better or be ignored in the future.

    “were formally rewarded for their services to Brit colonialism”.

    So were every HK person, by the same logic.

  53. barny chan
    July 4th, 2009 at 04:36 | #53

    r4000, if you really can’t see the difference between the actions of people like Tsang, who literally got on their knees before the British royal family to receive honours for services to colonialism, and those of ordinary people who simply got on with their lives (and in some cases actually challenged the Brit regime), then I’m not in a position to help you. You’ve had your chance, I’m now ignoring you; with any luck SKC will do the same, leaving you talking into the void while others engage in dialogue.

  54. raventhorn4000
    July 4th, 2009 at 04:42 | #54

    Senator Kennedy got a knighthood from the British.

    George Washington was a adjutant general in the British colonial militia.

    What’s your point? Title makes the substance?

    You are xenophobic!

  55. Wahaha
    July 4th, 2009 at 04:51 | #55

    “I always find myself wondering how people like you, kui, r4000, and all the others who aren’t ready for democracy, stop yourselves running amok given all that evil freedom you have to contend with. It must be a struggle everyday not to descend into an orgy of chaos.”

    BC,

    When a country’s economy is controled by few rich, the poor are hopeless. THAT IS FACT.

    In a democratic country, the rich control economy, Under the democracy government cant offend the interest of rich, hence the rich are well protected, also election system gives the rich perfect and legal way to control government.

    SKC,

    I will talk to you later.

  56. barny chan
    July 4th, 2009 at 04:57 | #56

    Wahahaha, your response above in no way addresses the point i made to you. I’m sensing panic in the anti-democrats…

  57. Wahaha
    July 4th, 2009 at 05:01 | #57

    “—why do you assume that a CHina operated upon democratic principles would necessarily look like this?”

    cuz government under democracy has no power over the rich.

    **************************************************************************************

    “—why do you assume the China of today can readily provide this?”

    Not yet, but there is hope, Under democracy controled by rich, it would be hopeless. BTW, that was shanghai 22 years ago.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1987/01/05/world/shanghai-journal-erasing-the-slums-the-64-square-foot-question.html

    You can check the situation in Mumbai.

  58. Wahaha
    July 4th, 2009 at 05:04 | #58

    BC,

    I dont need to be panic, answer me : with all the billionaires and millionaires who had benefited most during good time, why do West need borrowing money from China ?

    With such high productivity, how come 40+ states in US are deep in debt ? where did the money go ?

    You wnat to turn a blind eyes to that ? fine. I really dont care.

    later.

  59. barny chan
    July 4th, 2009 at 05:25 | #59

    Wahahahahahahhaha, my interest is less in the behaviour and greed of western billionaires than the quality of life for the ordinary masses: a quality of life which remains demonstrably better (disposable income, housing, education, social welfare) than for their equivalents toiling under any authoritarian regime.

  60. S.K. Cheung
    July 4th, 2009 at 06:07 | #60

    To Wahaha:
    “cuz government under democracy has no power over the rich.”
    —what has that got to do with a working class person being able to send his children to school while working 5 days a week instead of 7?

    “Not yet, but there is hope, Under democracy controled by rich, it would be hopeless.”
    — well, there’s always hope. But in the current system, what’s the basis for that hope? And why would it be “hopeless” in a democratic system? Again, why would a China governed in a manner somewhat resembling democracy suddenly forget how to run her economy? What is the basis for that assumption?

    I’m still confused about why you are conflating the system of governance with the system of commerce.

  61. Wahaha
    July 4th, 2009 at 14:41 | #61

    BC,

    We are in a courtroom, each presents his reasoning.

    I presented my case why democracy is not a good prescription for China, you present yours. WHETHER YOU WANT TO BELIEVE MY REASONING OR NOT MEANS NOTHING TO ME. When I ask the question “why west has to borrow money from China ?” that is a reasonable question, and you refuse to answer, then you lose the case. Again what you think of my reasoning is of no importance.

    Like when I talk to Raj, I dont care if he answers or not. He pushed for election, I asked hime why the elected gave so much money to the rich, so I cast reasonable doubt on his argument. Anyone with some intelligence will think of that as long as he is biased. whether Raj will answer my question or not means little to me.

  62. Wahaha
    July 4th, 2009 at 14:48 | #62

    “—what has that got to do with a working class person being able to send his children to school while working 5 days a week instead of 7?”

    SKC,

    With great productivity, why do so many states and cities in West have trouble meeting their end ?

    There are only two explanations :

    1) The rich took too much, left little for ordinary people.

    2) People ask unreasonably, ( why the elected were so stupid to agree on unreasonable request ?)

    I think both of them are the reasons. Governement needs money to help the poor and need authority to do what is necessary. Democracy cant provide either of them.

    “— well, there’s always hope.”

    Did you watch “Lakshmi and me” ? watch it, then talk back to me.

  63. real name
  64. S.K. Cheung
    July 5th, 2009 at 19:05 | #64

    “With great productivity, why do so many states and cities in West have trouble meeting their end ?”
    —because expenses are exceeding revenue. What do states and cities have to do with the working class guy sending his kids to school, and working 5 days or 7 a week?

    “Governement needs money to help the poor and need authority to do what is necessary. Democracy cant provide either of them.”
    —again, that’s a baseless statement.

  65. raventhorn4000
    July 5th, 2009 at 19:24 | #65

    Speculations should be a familiar diet for some by now.

  66. Wahaha
    July 6th, 2009 at 03:49 | #66

    BC,

    Here is a link for you,

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,634122,00.html#ref=nlint

    Majority of Eastern Germans Feel Life Better under Communism

    **************************************************************************************************

    “—because expenses are exceeding revenue.”

    SKC,

    Therefore the elected were idiots who didnt know how much money they had when they made plans.

  67. S.K. Cheung
    July 6th, 2009 at 04:20 | #67

    To R4000:
    dude, you continue to amaze. What Wahaha said in #62 isn’t even speculation. He was stating something, which I thought was unfounded. Could you at least try to get it straight?

    To Wahaha:
    “Therefore the elected were idiots who didnt know how much money they had when they made plans.”
    —do you honestly believe that? These “idiots” must have something going for them, since usually they can tell you at the beginning of the fiscal year how much they’ll be in the black, or red, by the end of it (it’s called a budget). If you think elected officials are so clueless that they don’t know they’re out of money until the moment they’re actually out of it, then I can see your apprehension about such a system moving into China. Hopefully, if and when China takes up such a system, the purveyors of said system will be well-versed in the rigors of arithmetic. But I’m still amazed at the impressions you’ve acquired in your time in NYC.

  68. real name
    July 6th, 2009 at 04:30 | #68

    ad 66
    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchina/2009-03/27/content_7623547.htm
    Lawmakers, mainly from the more-developed regions such as the city of Shanghai and the provinces of Guangdong and Liaoning, strongly urged the National People’s Congress to allow local borrowing. … The debt will help finance…

  69. barny chan
    July 6th, 2009 at 05:26 | #69

    Wahaha Says: “BC, We are in a courtroom, each presents his reasoning.”

    Are you morphing into r4000. This isn’t a courtroom, it’s a discussion blog. The current trend for lapsing into (faux) legalistic pedantry in an attempt to shut down debate is utterly negative; all too often in a court of law the aim is to “win” rather than reveal the truth.

    “When I ask the question “why west has to borrow money from China ?” that is a reasonable question, and you refuse to answer, then you lose the case. Again what you think of my reasoning is of no importance.”

    What I think of your “reasoning” is of a great deal of importance as to whether or not I choose to respond to you. If I refuse to answer a question there could be many reasons: I might think that the question is utterly irrelevant; I might think it’s too simplistic; I might, if you’re rambling, simply not understand it; I might think the question is a disingenous r4000-esque attempt to derail the topic; I might think it combines all of these traits and more. But, having said all that, I’ll respond.

    Firstly, the “West” encompasses a great deal more than the USA, and not all western nations have sought finance/investment from China. Secondly, and this is the important point, China’s current economic “miracle” is a mere symptom of recent insane levels of western consumerism. The immediate past and immediate future for China and the West are inextricably linked; neither can economically disengage from the other without causing great harm to themselves (although the potential is for much greater harm to China as western corporations could quickly shift their already reduced levels of production to India and many other places). En masse, Westerners are going to have to accept a period of reduced consumption, and the corollary for China, despite CCP boasts and promises, is a period of reduced growth. We’re all in this together right now with intricately linked economies, and the notion that China now “owns” the west is an absurdity.

    “Here is a link for you…Majority of Eastern Germans Feel Life Better under Communism”

    And your point is? Why should we be surprised that working class East Germans contending with a brutal recession should romanticise a past that they have no adult experience of? It’s the direct equivalent of pampered young Chinese patriots putting a positive spin on the Mao years.

  70. Wahaha
    July 6th, 2009 at 05:52 | #70

    SKC,

    No, I dont believe that, the elected are very smart, they dared not offend the rich and have to give big part of pie to the rich, and people are so greedy without control, all of these together leave politicians no choice but make stupid decision.

    *******************************************

    BC,

    I gave you the link cuz of the example you used to prove your point.

    When you try to sell some products to a customer, you have to tell the customer the flaw your product may have… if you are an honest seller.

    I doubt there are flaws in the democratic system, so I ask you the questions. You have no explanation. Need I say more ?

    As it is you who try to sell the idea, you have the obligation to explain, like why in democratic countries the poor who lived in slum 10, 20 years ago are still living in slums. If you dont explain, then those ARE flaws by default, simple as that. Whether the system in China is good or bad is another issue.

  71. Wahaha
    July 6th, 2009 at 05:59 | #71

    Real name,

    Borrowing money is not bad thing, the bad thing is that the borrower has no intention to return the money.

    I dont think governments in West are so bad, it is MINORITY of the people who have no intention to pay back the money, so it becomes unfair for other people to pay the debt. But under democracy, you cant force individuals to do something they dont like and govenrment has no power over the rich, as the result, it is like the people in West have no intention to pay back the money.

  72. barny chan
    July 6th, 2009 at 06:24 | #72

    Wahaha: “BC, I gave you the link cuz of the example you used to prove your point.”

    So am I getting this right? You believe that because some young former-East Germans are dissatisfied it proves that the majority of those living in the former Soviet Union had better lives pre-89? I shouldn’t have to point this out, but the experience of former-East Germans is unique in that they integrated into the system of the richest state in Western Europe. Personally, I think it’s remarkable, given the initial disparity of living standards between East and West Germany, that the two parts of the country have merged so successfully.

    “I doubt there are flaws in the democratic system, so I ask you the questions. You have no explanation. Need I say more ?”

    You need to not just say more but attempt to do so more clearly if I’m to understand what you mean.

    “As it is you who try to sell the idea, you have the obligation to explain, like why in democratic countries the poor who lived in slum 10, 20 years ago are still living in slums. If you dont explain, then those ARE flaws by default, simple as that.”

    Nothing is as “simple as that”. Ask me specific questions regarding poverty in specific countries, and, if I can, I’ll explain the reasons. I can’t meaningfully respond when you’re being so vague.

    “Whether the system in China is good or bad is another issue.”

    ?

  73. Wahaha
    July 6th, 2009 at 06:48 | #73

    BC,

    Oh, I see 59% of them were born after 1980 ?

    You want specific question ? OK, read #30 and #32, then explain why people in california devastated their own lives. AND MORE IMPORTANT, why couldnt they reverse it after seeing the huge problem caused by that ?

    You question mark “?”

    I explained to SKC, lot of chinese are not big fans of western democracy not cuz they dont like the freedom, it is cuz they see the problems under democracy, and they balance the merit and flaws, they rather have the change come gradually, that you cant see the flaws is your problem.

    So bashing the system in China wont convince Chinese.

  74. barny chan
    July 6th, 2009 at 06:52 | #74

    At the point that the typical Californian is destitute I’ll answer your question. Not before, because as it stands your question has no substance.

  75. Wahaha
    July 6th, 2009 at 07:04 | #75

    LOL

    hence it is unlikely Californian will be destitue in your lifetime, you find a lame excuse not answering the question.

    Why couldnt the state reverse the decision AFTER huge problems emerged cuz of the proposition 13 ?

    You have no answer, or you dont want to face the problem democracy has. So we now all know what you mean by “substance”.

    Later

  76. real name
    July 6th, 2009 at 07:10 | #76

    71
    bad thing – i understand and can agree
    i wanted to show it is no just black and white
    like person from west i’m sure it is not so easy do not pay back the money, not paying i will be forced to do something i do not like – but not by goverment but bank borrowed me money, maybe finaly using law system guaranteed by state
    if you planned do not return them money from begin it’s already road to prison
    goverment once will not pay will get worse conditions for next load
    but if you performing well should be for you cheaper take new load with lower interest rate for longer period to pay older one – in simple graph you can will see bigger load than
    on opposite under chinese system goverment can force banks give non performing loans and state banks know goverment will eat bills than – are you sure chinese state enterprises had intention to return money back than?
    in my coutry goverment clean it once and than make banks private – from that time no problems with them – if you do not call problems present situation when banks more care about new loans safety in opposite to china where is loans boom now

  77. S.K. Cheung
    July 6th, 2009 at 07:29 | #77

    To Wahaha:
    You said this is #62: (Governement needs money to help the poor and need authority to do what is necessary. Democracy cant provide either of them.)
    Then this in #70:(they dared not offend the rich and have to give big part of pie to the rich, and people are so greedy without control, all of these together leave politicians no choice but make stupid decision.)

    —I must say you’ve been nothing if not consistent. It seems to come down to the money, or at least how government utilizes it. Nothing wrong with wanting fiscally responsible government. You also add some Robin Hood flair, with an eye towards helping those less fortunate, and encouraging them to pull themselves up. Again, nothing wrong with that either. However, how do the rich disproportionately benefit from democracy, and why do you suggest that they do so at the expense of the poor? When it comes to governments being in the red, I said (and I think you agreed) that’s it’s the imbalance between revenue and expenses. But the rich typically aren’t a drain on government in terms of expenditures. They have medical insurance. They don’t need housing assistance. They aren’t on the dole. They can pay to educate their kids. Which disproportionate portion of which pie are the rich availing themselves to? If anything, it comes down to government revenue (ie taxes). So are you suggesting that taxes are insufficient, and that everybody should be taxed higher, but especially “the rich”?

    The other aspects where government can act to the benefit of the rich, I suppose, would be in the awarding of capital contracts, and in the regulatory capacity. There should be reckoning for the subprime fiasco, to be sure. And government contracts deserve independent oversight and scrutiny. I’m with you there too. But how is that fodder for the inadequacies of “democracy”, let alone the desirability of China’s political system? I don’t think there’s any lack of rich/poor divide in China. And without comparing to the US, I don’t think CHinese politics is wanting for more corruption, or at least the influence of nepotism and guanxi.

    But beyond all of that, I still don’t see how you make an argument on the inadequacies of a “democratic” system based on its fiscal/economic performance. Like I’ve said before, I don’t think a “democratic” China would forget how to run its economy; do you? And no one (well, at least not me) is suggesting that China change her capitalist system; but her system of governance is a different story.

    On a side note, your focus on rich/poor sometimes makes me think whether you would actually want “communism” in its old school sense, where what’s your’s is mine and what’s mine is yours.

  78. Wahaha
    July 6th, 2009 at 07:29 | #78

    “i wanted to show it is no just black and white”

    Real name,

    That is what I have argued about : there are flaws in the system in China, there are also flaws in democratic system.

    ****************************************************************************************************

    “on opposite under chinese system goverment can force banks give non performing loans and state banks know goverment will eat bills than – are you sure chinese state enterprises had intention to return money back than?”

    No, I am not sure.

    The key difference is that Chinese government owns the banks, hence during good time, the government gets ALL the benefits, not individuals. The huge amount of money then can be used to give back to society. Also cuz of the system, no unreasonable request will be accepted, no political pressure, etc, which make it easier for government to make long term plan to pull the country out of economic crisis.

  79. Wahaha
    July 6th, 2009 at 07:42 | #79

    ” However, how do the rich disproportionately benefit from democracy, and why do you suggest that they do so at the expense of the poor?”

    SKC,

    Most of our argument comes down to the statement above.

    You cant see that when government has a deep pocket, you have to wait when the government doesnt have enough money to see how they distribute the money.

    Government officials in China also benefits disproportionately, my argument is that the rich under democracy got way too much. As west government always had money (or borrowed money), it is very hard to see that from west developed countries, so I checked those developing countries with democratic system, especially those countries with lot of poor people. In those countries, my argument holds true.

    China is a country with lot of poor people, hence I argue democracy is not good prescription for Chin, at least for the recent future. Now in developed countries, you know Canada has debt about 20% of GDP, right ? doesnt it sound wierd almost all the developed countries are in debt ?

    IF THE GOVERNMENT IS PEOPLE’S GOVERNMENT, HOW COME THE RICH BENEFIT MOST DURING GOOD TIME, AND ARE THE FIRST TO BE SAVED DURING BAD TIMES ?

  80. real name
    July 6th, 2009 at 07:46 | #80

    78
    right, the is and will be no perfect system
    but i’m also not sure if without public control will goverment use money for reasonable requests only
    do i remember well last year chinese officials travels cost was something about two weeks wage of average chinese? why suddenly they do not want continue with this? i feel it is because of public opinion, not because of travelers or system started refuse it
    from your last formulations for someone it should look like democratic goverment has no long term strategies and just moves money out from society or chinese system is ‘scientificaly planned’ one, we know both is not so extreme

  81. Wahaha
    July 6th, 2009 at 08:36 | #81

    “but i’m also not sure if without public control will goverment use money for reasonable requests only”

    Real name,

    I never question if China doesnt have enough public control over government, of course, there is not enough,

    The problem is who control “people” the rich, the middle class and the poor. Government consists of people, if government can abuse the power, then people can abuse their power too.

    The key point I have tried to make are :

    1) Western democracy gives the rich too much power. (this is obvious in developing countries.)

    2) Freedom should be given ONLY to the responsible people who know how to use the right, otherwise it will cause huge damage to society in the long run. ( the huge debt in US, UK and France are the result of this)

    the problem is that I dont see how to do that under western democracy, hence I am willing to see China changing gradually instead of shock therepy.

  82. real name
    July 6th, 2009 at 09:20 | #82

    82
    where is advantage of chinese system here?
    1) CPP already allowed rich people to enter and (in 2006) 0.4 per cent of households in China own around 70 per cent of the wealth of the nation
    2) does it mean responsible = CPP member? or CPP member = responsible? how to disable any Mao lead party again? look at china 87-91 – with problems it was no so impossible 89 winners will step back
    nothing against gradual improvements
    if chinese system will bring new advantage one day someone else will reuse part of it, in this moment i see cases when china moves to global standard (if there is any) even thanks to real experience it is not so idealized than years ago

  83. raventhorn4000
    July 7th, 2009 at 01:50 | #83

    SKC,

    “dude, you continue to amaze. What Wahaha said in #62 isn’t even speculation. He was stating something, which I thought was unfounded. Could you at least try to get it straight?”

    Yes, I should clarify, HE was stating something, YOU were speculating that it was “unfounded”. You were dieting on speculations again.

  84. S.K. Cheung
    July 7th, 2009 at 02:31 | #84

    To Wahaha:
    you’ve identified one of my main questions. Here is the other: “I don’t think a “democratic” China would forget how to run its economy; do you?”

    “my argument is that the rich under democracy got way too much.”
    —too much of what? Again, the “rich” don’t get money from the government. They might make money off the government, in the form of business deals and the awarding of contracts. But I wouldn’t begrudge someone a contract if they can offer a service at a competitive price. It only becomes a problem if the government, through “corrupt” practices, is not getting a good deal for the taxpayers’ money. Or maybe the “rich” don’t like to give up their money to government in the form of taxes; but then who does? It then becomes a question of what constitutes a fair share, and whether our graduated tax system provides that or not. That may be debatable, but I’m not sure that’s a fault of democracy.

    “doesnt it sound wierd almost all the developed countries are in debt ? ”
    —it does; but do you think we wouldn’t be in debt if we had an authoritarian government? I could just as easily say you should compare the per capita income of Americans and Chinese, and conclude that democracy is a much better system for pulling people up than an authoritarian one. The problem is that you are implying causation when at best there is only an association.

    I presume your last point is about “the bailout”. But to take your POV, one also has to consider the effect on the little guy if those big businesses weren’t saved. Yes, you may say the “rich” got a handout; but without that, how many more “poor” would there be in the unemployment lines?

    To R4000:
    “YOU were speculating that it was “unfounded”.”
    —that was my opinion! If having an opinion is speculation, then almost everything you’ll ever read on this blog would qualify, including your drivel.

    BTW, you are using “dieting” in the completely wrong way. Dieting is what you do to lose weight. Perhaps you were thinking of “dining”…pretty similar spelling to some people, I suppose…

  85. Wahaha
    July 7th, 2009 at 02:38 | #85

    SKC,

    Please give an explanation besides the two I gave in #62.

    If it is not cuz of the rich taking too much, then it must be cuz of people taking too much, then why did politicians agree to give people the money they didnt have, are they idiots ?

  86. raventhorn4000
    July 7th, 2009 at 02:39 | #86

    SKC,

    ““YOU were speculating that it was “unfounded”.”
    —that was my opinion! If having an opinion is speculation, then almost everything you’ll ever read on this blog would qualify, including your drivel.”

    You obviously provided no factual support for your “opinion”. Speculation.

    “BTW, you are using “dieting” in the completely wrong way. Dieting is what you do to lose weight. Perhaps you were thinking of “dining”…pretty similar spelling to some people, I suppose…”

    Oh, trying your luck with English skills again?

    “Diet

    Definition: Course of living or nourishment”

  87. raventhorn4000
    July 7th, 2009 at 02:40 | #87

    Diet

    Definition: To cause to take food; to feed.

  88. S.K. Cheung
    July 7th, 2009 at 03:08 | #88

    To Wahaha:
    you’re going around in circles. I previously answered your #62: expenses exceed revenue.

    You said this in #70: “No, I dont believe that, the elected are very smart,…”
    Now you ask this again in #85: “then why did politicians agree to give people the money they didnt have, are they idiots ?”
    —what gives? Are the elected at once smart and idiots simultaneously?

    “If it is not cuz of the rich taking too much,”
    —I’ve asked you several times. What exactly are the “rich” taking?

    To R4000:
    “no factual support for your “opinion”. Speculation.”
    —like I said, then almost everything is speculation. Whatever floats your boat, pal.

    Dude, “diet” is not the same as “dieting”. For a guy who can’t tell the difference between oppose and opposite, I’d suggest you get that straight before moving on to other terms. Good luck with that.

  89. raventhorn4000
    July 7th, 2009 at 03:13 | #89

    SKC,

    ““no factual support for your “opinion”. Speculation.”
    —like I said, then almost everything is speculation. Whatever floats your boat, pal.”

    Most reasonable people would support their “opinion” with facts, NOT you! Float your boat!

    “Dude, “diet” is not the same as “dieting”. For a guy who can’t tell the difference between oppose and opposite, I’d suggest you get that straight before moving on to other terms. Good luck with that.”

    “Diet

    Definition: To cause to take food; to feed.”

    “Opposition:

    n.
    The act of opposing or resisting.

    Placement opposite to or in contrast with another.”

    Learn English!!

  90. Wahaha
    July 7th, 2009 at 03:35 | #90

    SKC,

    “expenses exceed revenue.” is not an answer, as that means elected had no idea how much money they had when they planed. If it was just one or two cities or states that were deep in debt, the reason miight be wrong calculation. But when there are so many states and cities in debt, then it must be the problems in system. that is common sense.

    I dont believe elected were idiots, I believe that the rich took took much, people asked unreasonably and politicians had no choice for political reason, but you disagree any of them. therefore you have no answer, for god sake.

    It is like 20 of 25 students failed a 1st grade math test, you try to say that the teacher is innocent.

  91. S.K. Cheung
    July 7th, 2009 at 03:52 | #91

    To R4000:
    LOL. Really, dude? You’re still trying to argue that “opposition parties” need to take up completely opposite positions, like capitalist vs communist in your famous example? Well, I wish you happy trails as you go on your merry way.

    To Wahaha:
    “that means elected had no idea how much money they had when they planed.”
    —again, I mentioned earlier that governments don’t end up in debt by accident, or “all of a sudden”. They have budgets. They know if they’ll be in the black or in the red at the end of the FY. The red ink spills when expenses exceed revenue. The solution is either increase revenue, or slash expenses, or both. And sometimes, in some environments, like the one we find ourselves in right now, they can’t do either to enough of a degree to balance the books.

    You keep saying the rich took too much…and I keep asking: too much of what?

    If 80% of students failed a test, there are three possibilities: a) the test was unfair; b) the students were useless; c) the teacher was inadequate. Why do you assume that it’s the teacher’s fault?

  92. raventhorn4000
    July 7th, 2009 at 03:57 | #92

    SKC,

    “LOL. Really, dude? You’re still trying to argue that “opposition parties” need to take up completely opposite positions, like capitalist vs communist in your famous example? Well, I wish you happy trails as you go on your merry way.”

    Oh, SKC can’t learn from a simple dictionary definition. Shocking. Sure, you can “learn” from other people like Allen!! RIIIGGGHHHTTT!!!!

    Run away, SKC, that dictionary is coming your way!

  93. barny chan
    July 7th, 2009 at 03:57 | #93

    Wahaha Says: “LOL hence it is unlikely Californian will be destitue in your lifetime, you find a lame excuse not answering the question.”

    Lame excuse? Your question was “explain why people in california devastated their own lives”? I can’t answer the question because the question is nonsensical. The people of california have manifestly not “devastated their own lives”.

    “1) Western democracy gives the rich too much power. (this is obvious in developing countries.)”

    It might have escaped your attention but the leaders of the Burmese junta wield considerably more power than, say, Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines. The leaders of authoritarian regimes are “the rich” and they wield absolute power.

    “2) Freedom should be given ONLY to the responsible people who know how to use the right, otherwise it will cause huge damage to society in the long run. ( the huge debt in US, UK and France are the result of this)”

    Is this a clumsy attempt at irony? Selective freedom, by definition, isn’t freedom. As for the “huge damage to society” in the US, UK, and France, can you think of a single authoritarian regime that offers a comparably comfortable lifestyle to that of the inhabitants of these countries?

  94. Wahaha
    July 7th, 2009 at 04:06 | #94

    SKC,

    Let me repeat :

    Your explanation wouldve made sense if the debt had been reasonable; or if there were only very few states and cities that had problem. When it happened in so many cities and states, it must be the problems of system. What is so hard to understand ?

    ***********************************************************

    ” The people of california have manifestly not “devastated their own lives”.

    BC,

    OK,

    then explain why Californians made such so much trouble for themselves, and more importantly, why couldnt they correct the mistakes they mae ?

  95. S.K. Cheung
    July 7th, 2009 at 04:18 | #95

    To Wahaha:
    “When it happened in so many cities and states, it must be the problems of system.”
    —a) the economic system, maybe…again if you equate an association with causation, which it doesn’t.
    b) what does that have to do with the political system?

    And again, what are the “rich” taking so much of that you object so repeatedly about?

    To R4000:
    if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again…and a few more times when it comes to R4000.
    “placement opposite” does not mean they have to assume philosophically opposite positions. Try that on for size.

  96. barny chan
    July 7th, 2009 at 04:22 | #96

    Wahaha, stop wriggling and answer the question I posed to you: As for the “huge damage to society” in the US, UK, and France, can you think of a single authoritarian regime that offers a comparably comfortable lifestyle to that of the inhabitants of these countries?

  97. Wahaha
    July 7th, 2009 at 04:27 | #97

    BC,

    I said before :

    Europe built their wealth on the misery of people in other countries.

    America built their superpower on the misery of Europe and black slaves,

    It was their market economy that gave them the wealth, not political system. The west society never had real freedom until later 1960s.

    If the political system was the reason for their good life, people in democratic countries of south Asia and Latin America shouldve enjoyed good life too, and that is not the case.

    Actually with market economy, almost all the countries built up wealth, democratic or not. The problem is that under democracy, the wealth seems having done little to help the people who need help most, which becomes a paradox of democracy.

    Now I answered your question, it is your turn to answer my question.

  98. Wahaha
    July 7th, 2009 at 04:33 | #98

    “what does that have to do with the political system?”

    hmmm,

    either the rich get too much, or the people force the elected to give them the unreasonable benefits, … in the name of freedom.

  99. S.K. Cheung
    July 7th, 2009 at 04:45 | #99

    “either the rich get too much, or the people force the elected to give them the unreasonable benefits, … in the name of freedom.”
    —in the name of freedom? Give me a break. You are making an illogical leap to try to fit some semblance of a political system into your economic argument. Are you suggesting that deficit spending is in the name of freedom? And are you further suggesting that, if we disavowed “freedom” and embraced authoritarianism, we would be in the black? BTW, you still haven’t answered what the rich are getting so much of.

  100. Wahaha
    July 7th, 2009 at 04:53 | #100

    SKC,

    Of course, it is in the name of freedom that people demand whatever they want. In New York, the union of nurses are preparing for a three day protest for more money and benefit, is it in the name of freedom ?

    Now they are doing this in such hard time, can you imagine what they asked during economic good times …. in the name of freedom ?

    *********************************************************

    here is one comment by John Stuart Mill in his famous Essay on Liberty:

    “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil, in case he do otherwise. To justify that, the conduct from which it is desired to deter him must be calculated to produce evil to someone else.”

    The crap by John Stuart Mill is basically equivalent to say that individuals have no obligation to the society … in the name of Liberty. Therefore people can demand whatever they want, if a politician doesnt agree with them, they can end the political future of this politician, until they get someone who can give them what they demand, reasonable or not.

  101. barny chan
    July 7th, 2009 at 05:15 | #101

    Wahaha Says: “Europe built their wealth on the misery of people in other countries. America built their superpower on the misery of Europe and black slaves…”

    I’ve no disagreement with this, other than the fact that it omits that wealth was also built on the back of the misery and exploitation of the powerless within these countries, and that’s where the argument for individual freedoms and democracy begins. I’m not a champion of bare-knuckle capitalism whether western-style or Chinese state-style. The movement towards democracy in the west was crucial in bridging the gap between the rich and the poor, and there’s no reason to believe that it doesn’t have the potential to bring more equitable societies to the developing world in a similar way – it just takes time.

    “The problem is that under democracy, the wealth seems having done little to help the people who need help most, which becomes a paradox of democracy.”

    This isn’t true. If you look at the current Gini indices you’ll see that Western European democracies lead the way when it comes to income equality, whereas China is heading in the opposite direction with an ever greater proportion of the wealth ending up in the pockets of the elite.

    “Now I answered your question, it is your turn to answer my question.”

    Actually, you didn’t answer my question, and, I repeat, the question you posed in #94 is of no relevance because it misrepresnts reality: “explain why Californians made such so much trouble for themselves, and more importantly, why couldnt they correct the mistakes they mae ?”.

  102. Wahaha
    July 7th, 2009 at 05:26 | #102

    BC,

    Gini index ? do you really believe that America has more wealth disparity than India ?

    Also, if you ask any economist, he will tell you that there will be disparity in any countries that develops as quickly as China.

    In developed countries, houses and homes are big part of personal wealth. But not in China

    Yes, there is huge wealth disparity in China, but not as serious as the index looks. The land in China belongs to country, but people can use it without any problem, if government needs that land, govenment has to compensate the peasants, more or less. Also so many middle classes buy their home on mortgages, they didnt own the homes yet.

    *****************************************************************************************************
    “The movement towards democracy in the west was crucial in bridging the gap between the rich and the poor,”

    I dont think so, as it is clearly not the case in India and Russia. As for China, we still have to wait for another 15 to 30 years to see if the system can bridge the gap.

    *****************************************************************

    Listen, I m not saying CCP are angels, the reality is that CCP is legitmized by economic development, so CCP is forced to do their best to improve people’s life. Therefore, on economic development, I trust CCP 30 times more than an elected government.

  103. Wahaha
    July 7th, 2009 at 05:31 | #103

    it misrepresnts reality: “explain why Californians made such so much trouble for themselves, and more importantly, why couldnt they correct the mistakes they mae ?”.

    BC,

    Elaborate how I misrepresented reality.

    later.

  104. barny chan
    July 7th, 2009 at 05:49 | #104

    Wahaha Says: “Gini index ? do you really believe that America has more wealth disparity than India ?”

    In an absolute sense, yes, although I accept that certain factors (Wall St, the entertainment industry, Silicon Valley…) skew the figures against the USA. Gini indices are highly revealing of the benefits of Western and (particularly) Northern European political systems to those who would otherwise be disadvantaged.

    “Also, if you ask any economist, he will tell you that there will be disparity in any countries that develops as quickly as China.”

    And a move towards democracy is the best way of tempering this.

    “In developed countries, houses and homes are big part of personal wealth. But in China”

    Look, you’re showing an ignorance of the diversity of “developed countries”. Yes, property bubbles have been an issue (and a negative one) in the USA and the UK, but in other countries, like France and Germany, property ownership is far from universal. China actually has the most extreme property based economy on the planet in the form of Hong Kong.

    “Yes, there is huge wealth disparity in China, but not as serious as the index looks. The land in China belongs to country, but people can use it without any problem…”

    Try telling that to the peasant farmers who’ve been brutally forced from their land in Guangdong.

    “I dont think so, as it is clearly not the case in India and Russia.”

    Regarding India, globalisation has actually reduced income polarisation as foreign companies have located there. Is Russia a democracy? If anything it’s a gangsterocracy…

    “As for China, we still have to wait for another 15 to 30 years to see if the system can bridge the gap.”

    The system will need to change in order to prevent the gap growing.

    “Elaborate how I misrepresented reality.”

    Because in the real world nobody believes that Californians are in “trouble”.

  105. S.K. Cheung
    July 7th, 2009 at 07:04 | #105

    To Wahaha:
    “is it in the name of freedom ?”
    —nope. It might be because they have the freedom to ask for stuff. So nurses are asking for a raise. Are they the “rich” now in your lexicon?

    “Therefore people can demand whatever they want, if a politician doesnt agree with them, they can end the political future of this politician, until they get someone who can give them what they demand, reasonable or not.”
    —that’s a perverse over-simplification. People can’t just end the career of a politician, unless enough people are in agreement with a position that sits counter to that of said politician to vote him out of office. If that many people are in fact in agreement, then perhaps theirs is a reasonable position, whether you concur or not. When it comes to labour demands, it’s usually the culmination of a negotiation process, or arbitration. Seldom will one side get everything they want.

    “Therefore, on economic development, I trust CCP 30 times more than an elected government.”
    —that’s fine, but let’s not confuse the virtues of the CCP economic system with the CCP governance system.

  106. Wahaha
    July 8th, 2009 at 04:01 | #106

    “…unless enough people are in agreement with a positi ..”

    SKC,

    If you and your coworker do the same job, and the coworker demand a raise, are you gonna sit there and wait ?

    When asking for more money, people are always in agreement.

    **********************************************************************************************************

    BC,

    Do you know how many new job force entering job markets in China each year?

    Tell us how Chinese government can create enough high income jobs for people, will you ?

    *************************************************************************************************
    “Because in the real world nobody believes that Californians are in “trouble”.”

    Huh ?

    Do you know Californian government has stopped paying for government workers ? We all know the trouble in China cuz of later payment. OH, I see, cuz it is democracy, therefore people dont mind later payment.

    Are you saying that with a straight face ?

  107. barny chan
    July 8th, 2009 at 04:36 | #107

    Wahaha, you refuse to respond to the points I make and resort to mindless sidetracking. You might be disingenuous. You might just not be very bright. You might be a combination of the two. Whatever, I’m not wasting any more time on you. And I’m saying this with a very straight face.

  108. S.K. Cheung
    July 8th, 2009 at 05:21 | #108

    “When asking for more money, people are always in agreement.”
    —what does this have to do with anything we’ve been talking about? When people ask for a raise, is that a failure of democracy too?

  109. barny chan
    July 8th, 2009 at 06:07 | #109

    SKC, he’s just r4k minus the ????s and !!!!s but with extra “huhs”.

    I’m out of here, the main Urumqi thread in which people like r4k and Charlie Liu are gleefully using a massacre as an excuse to advance their naked racism and crazed conspiracy theories has left me in need of a long shower. Nothing good can come out of a forum as dumb and one-sided as this. Fool’s Mountain is nothing but a race hate forum, and the events in Urumqi have eroded the wafer thin sugar coating.

  110. raventhorn4000
    July 8th, 2009 at 11:16 | #110

    If any one is gleeful, it’s the psychoanalysts theorizing the motives for rioters.

    I for one, have no interest in examining violent behavior and try to cure them with therapy. (And frankly, BC, you need some for yourself).

  111. raventhorn4000
    July 9th, 2009 at 03:33 | #111

    “naked racism and crazed conspiracy theories”

    That’s rich, coming from someone who paints broad stereotypes of entire Chinese generations in mainland China.

    “Nothing good can come out of a forum as dumb and one-sided as this. Fool’s Mountain is nothing but a race hate forum, and the events in Urumqi have eroded the wafer thin sugar coating.”

    Talk about “crazed conspiracy theories”! I think it’s better you go spread your general accusations about Chinese people else where. Obviously you are not here to converse with civility.

  112. Wahaha
    July 10th, 2009 at 00:56 | #112

    I’m not wasting any more time on you. And I’m saying this with a very straight face.

    BC,

    same here, ….. with a smile face.

    **********************************************************

    what does this have to do with anything we’ve been talking about? When people ask for a raise, is that a failure of democracy too?

    SKC,

    If people’s demand is unreasonable, and politicians have no choice but to support it (otherwise people would not vote him next time.) Yes, it is cuz of democracy.

  113. S.K. Cheung
    July 12th, 2009 at 06:20 | #113

    “If people’s demand is unreasonable, and politicians have no choice but to support it”
    —so that’s a big “if”. And who decides whether a demand is “reasonable”? Why do you think politicians have “no choice” but to support a “demand”? I think a politician who stands up to a public servant making “unreasonable” demands would in fact enjoy a bump in popularity. When was the last time a public servant’s/union’s salary demands were met fully in NYC? Around where I live, the final outcome of negotiation is usually somewhere in between the two starting positions…which is what makes it a negotiation. Yes, perhaps your version of democracy is hard to support…but your version of democracy is a pretty warped one.

  114. Shane9219
    July 31st, 2009 at 22:18 | #114

    True democracy is not just about taking part

    http://www.johnkay.com/politics/625

    By John Kay, Financial Times

    Our leaders blog, twitter and consult focus groups. But these developments do not make society better governed.

    Like most people, I want to eat rich desserts, but do not want to get fat. I want to enjoy a secure retirement, but I do not want to save towards it. I want lower taxes, and I also want better public services. Of course I do. It would be odd if I did not. Irrationality does not lie in wanting inconsistent things. Irrationality is being unwilling to make choices between inconsistent things.

    There was a time when crowds would wait for hours for a once in a lifetime opportunity to see and hear William Gladstone. But technology has steadily increased possibilities for the public to participate in the political process. It has not, however, created a corresponding increase in the time the public wants to devote to the political process. If anything, the opposite: by offering so many other ways to spend leisure time and by spreading prosperity, the modern age has reduced the intensity of public commitment to politics.

    Many people take the view that more avenues for participation make democracy more real. They are excited by the opportunities offered by the internet: Barack Obama was elected after a campaign that made extensive use of computers and mobile phones. Our leaders blog and twitter, receive online petitions and e-mails, consult focus groups and monitor opinion polls. If the measure of democracy is the frequency of communication between politicians and their voters, then society is steadily becoming more democratic.

    But these developments do not make society better governed. If these methods of participation are extensive, they are also superficial. If democracy is about delivering what the electorate wants, it is not clear that policies that respond to every angry headline in the Daily Mail achieve that result. Popular esteem for politicians and public approval of political decisions have declined, not increased. When Winston Churchill was advised to keep his ear to the ground, he commented that the public would not have much respect for leaders observed in that position. Politicians planning appearances on YouTube might reflect on his advice.

    California is not only the centre of many of these new technologies. With regular plebiscites and recalls, it is a pioneer of models of extended popular participation in the democratic process. It is also a model of dysfunctional democratic governance. The state’s budget crisis goes back to the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978. Asked whether they wanted lower property taxes, or not, voters quite reasonably decided they did. Voters also want to use more electricity but do not want more power stations. They want to reduce carbon emissions but also want to drive their cars. If you ask people simple questions that can be answered yes or no, you will get honest answers. But there is not the slightest reason why these answers should add up to a coherent policy programme, and typically they do not. Mature democracies have found ways round this dilemma. There is a big difference between expressing wants and opinions, and taking responsibility for decisions. Experiments in what is now called deliberative democracy show that when you give participants extensive information, and ask them to review alternative policy options, most people are conscientious and sensible in their approach. Political parties used to encourage this form of participation, by involving their members in policy discussions. But fewer and fewer people have time or inclination for this demanding activity, and the membership of political parties has withered to a small and depressing collection of ideologues and careerists.

    Another concept of democracy invites voters to appoint people they trust to make decisions on their behalf. Two centuries ago, Edmund Burke explained to the electors of Bristol that he would be their representative, not their delegate. He would not seek to mirror or parrot their opinions, but would apply his own best judgment to the issues before him. Even if the technology had been available, we may assume he would not have twittered or consulted focus groups. It is unlikely that the results of introducing these technologies would have caused him to take a different view.

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