Home > Uncategorized > The Fantasy League of the Rubberstamping Billionaire Chinese Parliament Club

The Fantasy League of the Rubberstamping Billionaire Chinese Parliament Club

Some days, I can only throw my hands and laugh at the some of the ridiculous stories and statements concocted by some Western media, and wonder why there aren’t more people in the West with their eyes bleeding after reading such “news”.

For example:  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-26/china-s-billionaire-lawmakers-make-u-s-peers-look-like-paupers.html

which contained this little paradoxical statement:

While the legislature, with about 3,000 members, is often derided as a rubberstamp parliament, its members are some of China’s most powerful politicians and executives, wielding power in their home provinces and weighing in on proposals such as whether to impose a nationwide property tax.

because apparently, there are 83 Chinese Parliament members who are “billionaires”, out of about 3000 Parliament members.

How does a “rubberstamp” parliament contain the “most powerful” politicians is a complete mystery of a logic to me.

So I can only attribute it to some kind of modern Western media fantasy football-ish statistical game.

First, it hardly clear how Bloomberg and others came to the conclusion of these 83 “billionaires” are actually billionaires.  Previous accounting practices by Western companies have not been exactly very in the up and up.  In some cases such as Wen Jiabao, estimates from the Western media groups even included the entire fortune of his brother-in-law and his cousins.

By such accounting practices, I would be a Millionaire, and yet I certainly don’t feel or live like one.

By the same estimate practices, most US politicians would also be BILLIONAIRES.

Second, if one has the “most powerful” and very wealthy individuals in a political decision making body, I doubt they would gather to “rubberstamp” anything.

I have certainly heard of Rich and Powerful people being rumored to control entire World Politics via Golf Course luncheons, but “rubberstamping” meetings?!  That’s just plainly ridiculous.  Rich and Powerful billionaires do not gather to waste their time in “rubberstamping”.  They could easily hire other people to do that for them.

The very assertion that 83 Billionaires are participating in the Chinese Parliament should tell you some thing about the importance of that Chinese Parliament, because those 83 people see it as important enough to take their time in it, to participate in the Chinese political process.

Perhaps there is a prestige factor, but 83 Billionaires??

Political office is always prestigious, but I doubt you can entice 83 billionaires to go for it just for Prestige, especially if they are just “rubberstamping”.

*

Beneath the story from Bloomberg, I am detecting almost a sense of envy from Bloomberg.  As if the Western media are collectively wondering, “Why can’t we in the West have more Rich People in political office?  You know, like China has.”

So, instead of straight admitting to that envy, they reach for the usual derision of any thing that feels like done better by China.  Yes, China has more rich and powerful people participating in the Chinese political process, BUT they are just “rubberstampers,” so now the West should feel better.  Oh yeah, the Chinese Parliament shows how unequal China is now.

Nevermind that most of these 83 Billionaires, especially the top 2, were just “Chinese private executives such as Zong and Lu have built their fortunes on the back of economic growth that has averaged 10.1 percent in the last 30 years.”

Yes, Envy and Ah-Q.

 

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  1. March 15th, 2013 at 21:48 | #1

    I think self-contradictory propaganda like this is commonplace (& effective) in the western media. The overwhelming majority of Americans are not China-watchers, they don’t follow developments closely to understand such contradictions. Even amongst those who are slightly more informed, I’d imagine most of them are perfectly willing to follow along this line of double-think if they are on the side of China-bashers. Whoever is left that do not fit into those categories are not numerous enough, outspoken enough, or popular enough to enlighten the general populace of such contradictory nuances in the standard narrative.

    In fact, this type of self-contradictory demonization is often found in other unrelated forms of media as well – the most obvious of which are kids’ cartoons. The designated villains in these shows often develop intricate & well-planned conspiracies against the protagonists, only to be foiled due to some unreasonably stupid mistake. These obvious plot inconsistencies have even been openly parodied in Hollywood. The most memorable of such parodies for me was Austin Powers, in which Dr. Evil ingeniously captures the protagonist, only to place him in an “easily escapable situation”.

    Of course, we know that this brand of inconsistent propaganda isn’t limited to Hollywood fiction, but also to political rhetoric against designated enemies, both internal and external.

  2. March 15th, 2013 at 23:56 | #2

    I just came across an article by Martin Jacques on the BBC, published before the US election. You might have read it already: He asks the legitimate question whether a candidate voted for by millions is a more legitimate choice than one anointed by a select few. I was surprised that the BBC still have room for balancing views such as this. Perhaps there’s hope.

    While nobody would be remotely interested in promoting the “Chinese model”, the world desperately needs the major countries to find a way of appointing rational and effective LEADERS (not opportunistic followers who promise everyone the moon) to deal with the threatening global issues of unprecedented proportion. Time’s running out according to science this time, not some holy book.

    However, unless the writer is reasonably well-established, “dissenting” views which examine the other side of the China coin, contradicting the Corporate Press template, won’t get much exposure. Kissinger’s “On China” is another refreshing exception in this regard. At his age, he has neither the time nor incentive to appease popularised prejudice. But being Kissinger, he can afford to be a “radical” conservative, yet get all the marketing room he needs. I’m glad that I bought the book on the recommendation of this site. I’ve posted a bilingual reflection (rather than a review) on http://guo-du.blogspot.hk/2013/03/kissingers-on-china-not-quite-review.html.

  3. Zack
    March 17th, 2013 at 16:32 | #3

    apparently, the gold standard of a ‘parliament’/’Congress’ according to the Western Press is the political dysfunction in the figurehead of democracy itself, the United States. Yes, clearly, all that political gridlock, that sequestration, that porkbarreling and political theatre is so much more preferable to the pragmatism and scientific approach of the Chinese legislature.

    btw, bloomberg? guess they’re still sore over the closure of bloomberg’s business in China due to the company’s attempt at political assassination of President Xi Jinping.

  4. March 19th, 2013 at 00:16 | #4

    I am travelling so I will be short. I want to bring to attention the fact that China’s parliament also includes common folks like farmers, factory workers, rank and file policemen and soldiers, teachers etc. The biggest groups are actually professionals in various industries plus academics, scientists etc. And it probably has the largest number of active and retired actors too (Stephen Chow was recently elected). Minorities are also overwhelmingly represented.

    Basically unlike current western model the Chinese model is a system that try to include a balanced representation of China’s society accross the board.

    And is it wrong to include guys like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Michael Dell etc in US congress?

  5. Zack
    March 19th, 2013 at 14:51 | #5

    @Ray
    indeed Ray, you just brought up an incredibly enlightening point.

    The NPC reflects the demographic representation of the Chinese nation-compared to the liberal democratic model which overly emphasizes wealthy interests at the expense of the middle and lower class, and you have a situation where liberal democracy= plutarchy.

    people like warren buffet would be marginalised in the halls of power due to his insistence that the rich be taxed at a reasonable rate.

  6. March 20th, 2013 at 02:09 | #6

    @Zack
    AND, all three “independent” arms of a heavily self-praised government structure: Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary are dominated by a single profession, the same profession – the legal profession.

  7. curious
    March 20th, 2013 at 22:25 | #7

    @Guo Du
    I find the statement “While nobody would be remotely interested in promoting the “Chinese model””
    a bit bold. The rest of the world, including Western countries, as I have observed in the last years have marveled at the economic success China, as a developing country, has achieved under their “system”. Unprecedented in that short a time span.
    Compare that to India, a developing country also, with a “system” favored by the West.

    As for a further look at Henry Kissinger’s record of public service one could also read “The Trial of Henry Kissinger”, by non other than the late (neo) conservative Christopher Hitchens.

    Money men in politics really shouldn’t surprise too many of us. They are present in all countries. In the US, close to 50% of members of Congress (whose salaries we tax payers pay) are millionaires. They belong to the exclusive 1% club in the US.

    E

  8. March 20th, 2013 at 23:12 | #8

    @curious
    Perhaps I should clarify that by saying “nobody would be remotely interested in promoting the “Chinese Model”” I meant to compare it with the Democracy Evangelists who passionately promote the “Western Model” to the point of near blindness. My puzzle about them has been: “If the Chinese won’t listen to your kind advice and adopt democracy, why not let them rot in peace? If I have a great idea, I’d keep it to myself, and only share it with good friends who’d welcome it, and come back with constructive criticisms.”

    I don;t think there are any notable Evangelists promoting the Chinese model. But you’re right, there are some who find the “Chinese model” worthy of further examination, reflection, even emulation; however, they are still a tiny minority, and are proposing to perhaps “import”parts of it. I’d be more correct to say that “nobody would be remotely interested in EXPORTING the “Chinese model””.

    Thanks for the introduction. I’d look for “The Trial of Henry Kissinger”. I know nearly nothing about Hitchens’ political orientation. I’m surprised (and a little disappointed) to learn that he was a neo-con. I read his “God is not Great” and enjoyed it very much.

  9. Sigmar
    March 20th, 2013 at 23:54 | #9

    @Guo Du
    I’d be more correct to say that “nobody would be remotely interested in EXPORTING the “Chinese model”

    Do you mean IMPORTING or EXPORTING?

  10. March 21st, 2013 at 00:10 | #10

    @Sigmar
    I do mean EXPORTING. I wish to point out that while there are many hardcore Democrats who wish to “export” the “Western” model to the rest of the world, there is hardly anyone who’s interested in EXPORTING the Chinese model to other countries. I noticed quite a few typos in my previous comment. I’ve been rushing more than usual. Sorry about that!

  11. Zack
    March 21st, 2013 at 04:39 | #11

    @Guo Du
    because like evangelists, the satisfation these missionaries get is a form of self affirmation when another converts to their faith. IT’s actually an egotistical fix, more than anything else.

  12. January 19th, 2014 at 21:34 | #12

    Most U.S. lawmakers are now worth more than 1 million.

    http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2014/01/millionaires-club-for-first-time-most-lawmakers-are-worth-1-million-plus.html

    Are these wealth illicit?

    Or do they merely mean politics in the world’s most powerful democracy is but a game for the wealthy?

    Or does that mean politicians are merely successful … which correlate with them being wealthy?

    I am sure people have different takes. But when it comes to Chinese lawmakers, the narrative in the West is one dimensional, narrow minded, and all too predictable.

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