Is Chinese Governance Superior To Chaotic Western Governance? Mischaracterizing Western Democracy
The Chinese Communist Party is attempting to sell its governing philosophy as a superior alternative to those of dysfunction-plagued Western democracies. Although China has drifted away from an actual communist state and toward something resembling a plutocracy as it has pursued economic development since the 1970s, the philosophical guidance of Deng Xiaoping suggests China is simply progressing in its efforts to build a self-sustaining socialist state via the mechanisms of capitalism. Following the example of the US and its Twentieth Century efforts to secure democracy, Beijing wants to spread socialism and communism to the world in order to make the world safe for communism. The Cold War has, however, tainted communism and socialism in the minds of generations. The Communist Party is, therefore, rebranding its “multiparty cooperation” governing philosophy as China’s “new type of party system” in order to cultivate like-minded governments and allies around the world.
Like the United States, China is structured as a republic. With an explicit focus on the welfare and some of the interests of its Peoples, China is also a liberal nation. Monarchies and empires, as contrasting examples, explicitly focus on the welfare and interests of the ruling class. The Chinese government also contains democratic elements at various levels. There are even eight recognized minority parties. China is, of course, ill-democratic, at best. Not only does the Communist Party of China thoroughly dominate every facet of government, it tailors the lifestyles of its Peoples to fit its needs and suppresses virtually all dissent with the most intrusive and heavy-handed means possible. Beijing may be building a socialist utopia for the economic benefit of its Peoples, but the price is unquestioned loyalty and obedience. To those living in Western democracies, especially the US where vocal criticism of the government is a culturally staple, China is a utopian prison.
The Chinese Community Party does not, of course, want the Peoples of the world to focus on that fact. Where the Soviets used brute force, unsustainable gestures in the foreign of foreign aid, and visions of prosperity, the Chinese hope to lure willing participates into their new world order by helping them achieve prosperity, e.g. its Belt and Road Initiative. At the same time, the Communist Party wants to replace the appeal of free and open society with that of stability and prosperity. In many ways, their system of “muliparty cooperation” is simply an attempt to muddy the water and disguise the reality that China is not actually democratic in nature. They want to use the vestigial democratic elements within the Chinese government to equate China’s system of governance as a different kind of democracy. They want the world to believe Western democracy is defined by the two-party system of the US or the multiple-party system of European countries. They want the world to believe the partisan divide and competition between political parties is the failure of Western democracy.
If the ability of the Chinese government to provide security, stability, and peace is the sole measure of successful governance, China’s Communist Party offers an efficient form of quality government. The success of the Chinese Communist Party is, however, comparable in nature to that of many pre-Arab Spring governments. The Arab Spring Revolutions were, ultimately, the product of oppressive governments that both failed to respond to the interests of their Peoples and refused to give them the means to express their frustrations and other views. Through brutal oppression, Middle Eastern governments have managed to assert control over their populations, but violence, instability, and outrage reign. The sentiments of the Arab Spring Revolutions have not been crushed nor pacified. The Middle East will be in a constant state of instability until proper governance arises. The Chinese Peoples are better off from an economic perspective today, but China’s economy faces curious challenges that could easily change that while the Chinese Peoples do not have the freedom to express their frustrations and others views.
China’s system of multiply party cooperation is a democratic farce. Even if it was more than that, the Chinese Peoples still lack true representation. The current problem with Western democracy is that political parties embrace extremist candidates who cater to the fringes of their voter bases, thereby forcing the middle to choose between extremes. They also cater to the interests of highly influential individuals and special interest groups. In other words, Western governments have become less representative and, therefore, less responsive. At the same time, Western governments have become increasingly intrusive as their policing powers have grown. This has created tensions between political factions, which political figures have used to worm their way into power. Yes, it is true that the competitive nature of Western political systems feed off the divisions of the populous, but it is not the cause of division. Neglecting and suppressing issues that divide people is how China avoids these issues. This kind of avoidance is, however, exactly what resulted in the Arab Spring Revolutions, countless other examples of civil unrest, and the violent actions of extremists.
The Chinese Communist Party has mischaracterized Western democracy to frame it as nothing more than chaos. Where the Communist Party views the current dysfunction of many Western governments as proof of democracy’s chaotic nature, it is actually a product of the ill-democratic nature of Western governments, i.e. the failure of Western governments to properly represent their Peoples and respond to their interests. Like most Westerners, the Chinese do not appear to understand the true nature of Western democracy. Western democracies, or at least those patterned after US democracy, are limited democracies. As a democratic republic, the US government provides its citizens the opportunity to choose representatives. These representatives, in turn, are supposed to represent the interests of their constituents in public policies formed by consensus. Representatives are not supposed to take hardliner stances in line with voters. They are supposed to work with each other to ensure public policies reflect the interests of all relevant parties, i.e. true multiparty cooperation.
Government exists, because the populations of nations submit to their authority. The more coercion and force governments use to assert their authority, the more friction there is going to exist between those who are governed and those who govern. By addressing the many interests of the governed population, those who govern can minimize this friction. When government fails to adequately address the key interests of a population, they face revolution. As time goes on, the interests of a population change and the more likely it is that government policy is going to become critically misaligned with the interests of the People. With that in mind, the most important advantage democracy provides government is the opportunity to recalibrate public policies based on the interests and views of the People. There are times when elected representatives must disagree and act against the will of their constituents, but most of the times they are supposed to act in line with the interests and views of their constituents, thus democratic governments can best represent the interests of their population. The problem with modern Western democracies is the lack of representation and responsiveness. The problem with the Chinese system is that the current failures of Western democracies are fixtures of Chinese governance.
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