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China why haven’t pro-democracy movements been able to take root?


Ser Scot A Ellison
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22 hours ago, James Arryn said:

Of note, the US was often the black-light beacon of anti-democracy/authoritarianism throughout the Cold War, routinely overthrowing democratic governments for despotic murderous regimes in cases where the former leaned too left for US comfort, where US material interests were threatened by democratic will, or both. So if you apply US CW policy/priorities towards states like Iran and Gutamala, you could easily end up ~ making the same arguments that Chinese apologists make today, or arguably worse. 
 

 

Let's not make every international tread thread about the USA. Frankly, it's not that interesting.

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A combination of repression, and I think the very simple fact that while most chinese would probably agree that things aren't *ideal* they are "getting better", or at least not worse. Which is generally enough to keep a regime going: So long as things are on an upward trend people can suffer through a lot, it's when things are looking like they'll get worse people start to grumble. (see also: Putin's Russia) 

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On 9/19/2022 at 7:16 PM, KalVsWade said:

Largely, yes. At least successful, long-lasting ones. Having countries adopt democracy for a generation isn't a special thing; having it last and be a tradition that they actually want to keep is. Democracies are very fragile and easy to break, largely because all it takes is one major party to decide that democracy isn't actually as valuable as power. Leveraging the power to make yourself more powerful at the cost of democracies is a very standard way that those democratic institutions fail. 

And none of those countries have been democracies for very long with the exception of Japan. In all of those cases as well a primary reason they went to democracies was to align with the US model and be closer allies to the US. Japan effectively had a democracy forced on them, as an example. Taiwan basically needed to go democratic in order to win US support and military power. South Korea was in a very similar boat. 

As to Thailand and Indonesia - Thailand was ranked #72 in overall democratic behaviors, Indonesia #52 (and just one rank below Poland!) Both are considered 'flawed' democracies (as is the USA) by the report. To be fair that's where most democracies land - partially because of backsliding, partially because of resources, partially because of not-real democracies. But holding them up as ideals is probably not a great tactic. Thailand is almost what they consider a 'hybrid' regime, which is really not a democracy at all. 

I guess that'd be my question: of the non-Western countries out there (or heck, of the western ones!) which would continue to be a democracy if all of a sudden the US decided to be autocratic or not care about promoting democracy? The answer, depressingly (especially as we've seen in Poland and Hungary) is 'not that many'. 

I would like to point out that democracy *in general* isn't very old: Depending on how you define it, only about a century, maybe two if you stretch it, in most cases. And those are only a handful of examples, and often involves quite a bit of fudging to make the longest-ones fit into the definition of democracy. 

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On 9/20/2022 at 12:11 PM, KalVsWade said:

And yet virtually every single Western democracy has backslid in the last 20 years, and drastically so in the last 5. 

In which way did Western and Northern Europe (or even Southern) Europe "drastically backslide"? Or Canada, Australia, New Zealand?

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37 minutes ago, Gorn said:

In which way did Western and Northern Europe (or even Southern) Europe "drastically backslide"? Or Canada, Australia, New Zealand?

From the paper, I believe something like 80% of all democracies got worse - especially around partisanship, effectiveness of government, and trust in government. That's pretty drastic. Canada was called out specifically around effectiveness and trust. 

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4 minutes ago, KalVsWade said:

From the paper, I believe something like 80% of all democracies got worse - especially around partisanship, effectiveness of government, and trust in government. That's pretty drastic. Canada was called out specifically around effectiveness and trust. 

Maybe it's just me, but I don't see how that is related to the backsliding of democracy. Ineffective and and mistrusted governments tend to be replaced by trusted and effective ones.

The problem with democracy arises if there is no way to replace them, or if a significant portion of population has no political option that would represent their views.

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4 minutes ago, Gorn said:

Ineffective and and mistrusted governments tend to be replaced by trusted and effective ones.


France's government isn't trusted much as far as I can see but Macron's closest competition was a fascist. Italy just responded to an untrusted government by electing a fascist. Similarly, although presumably not covered by 'the West' as defined by this paper, Brazil and the Phillipines responded to hated governments by electing Bolsonaro and Duterte. Poland responded to distrust for the center-left party by electing a PiS party that had already proven themselves to be shit and have spent the time since actively assaulting the democracy and not yet been removed. Hungary's democracy has just vanished. In the UK, the Tories gave us Brexit six years ago, have been getting ever more incompetent since yet are still in power, and still have another two years before there's a chance to turf them (and even if they do, there's not lots of trust in Starmer's Labour). 
And, in the US, the GoP are still the second party and have loads of power despite attempting an actual, honest-to-goodness coup two years ago.  

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31 minutes ago, Gorn said:

Maybe it's just me, but I don't see how that is related to the backsliding of democracy. Ineffective and and mistrusted governments tend to be replaced by trusted and effective ones.

Citation needed. Typically ineffective, mistrusted governments get replaced by governments that claim that they're going to be effective but are largely autocratic. This has so far happened in Hungary, Poland, the US and now Italy. 

31 minutes ago, Gorn said:

The problem with democracy arises if there is no way to replace them, or if a significant portion of population has no political option that would represent their views.

See above for said backsliding, but in general a very common failure mode of democracies is why the perception of the government system is that it is flawed, and people want to replace it with something that is faster, more efficient, and does something - often at the cost of actual government.

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1 hour ago, polishgenius said:


France's government isn't trusted much as far as I can see but Macron's closest competition was a fascist. Italy just responded to an untrusted government by electing a fascist. Similarly, although presumably not covered by 'the West' as defined by this paper, Brazil and the Phillipines responded to hated governments by electing Bolsonaro and Duterte. Poland responded to distrust for the center-left party by electing a PiS party that had already proven themselves to be shit and have spent the time since actively assaulting the democracy and not yet been removed. Hungary's democracy has just vanished. In the UK, the Tories gave us Brexit six years ago, have been getting ever more incompetent since yet are still in power, and still have another two years before there's a chance to turf them (and even if they do, there's not lots of trust in Starmer's Labour). 
And, in the US, the GoP are still the second party and have loads of power despite attempting an actual, honest-to-goodness coup two years ago.  

polishgenius -- don't forget Sweden.

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1 hour ago, Gorn said:

Trump's coup failed because the system worked exactly the way it was supposed to work in such situations, up to and including the actions of his own vice president.

That is a sign of strong democracy, not a weak one.

That the failure points were then targeted in the very next election, successfully overriden and removed without any real issue is a very good sign of a failing democracy. There were a number of points where if one person chose to make a different choice we would have a crisis. And in a lot of places those people have been replaced by those willing to push a crisis.

That almost no political backlash occurred to the failed coup is another bad sign.

That a minority of voters can continue to elect the winner is also not a great indicator of strength, and in fact having disproportionate representation is one of the hallmarks of a failing democracy. 

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4 hours ago, Gorn said:

Trump's coup failed because the system worked exactly the way it was supposed to work in such situations, up to and including the actions of his own vice president.

 

 

The strength of democracy in America isn't measured by the failure of the coup itself, because a coup is an inherently undemocratic process and all democracies should have systems against them, that's why they're coups. It's measured by how much power the GOP has after it, and currently you're seeing restrictive and hugely unpopular abortion bans being brought in on the back of a supreme court ruling made possible in part by the husband of someone who was apparently directly involved in the coup, and two further members who were installed by the President who tried it. 

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The coup being defeated is a sign that US democracy isn't quite dead. *There being a coup in the first place* is a sign of it's weakness.

Coups themselves are destabilizing, and even in cases of successful coups there were often failed earlier iterations. Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch is a good example. 

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7 hours ago, Wade1865 said:

polishgenius -- don't forget Sweden.

Sure, we (or rather my dear compatriots)  did vote for a particularly nasty brand of right-wingers. But calling it a backsliding of democracy is, well, maybe not so accurate. From the looks of it, the nationalist party won’t even be part of the government. Even if I was saddened by the results, the people voted and they’ll get what they voted for. That is democracy. Some of the nationalists have made some noise about reforming public service but that’s about as much backsliding of democracy as I can see. 

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5 minutes ago, Erik of Hazelfield said:

Sure, we (or rather my dear compatriots)  did vote for a particularly nasty brand of right-wingers. But calling it a backsliding of democracy is, well, maybe not so accurate. From the looks of it, the nationalist party won’t even be part of the government. Even if I was saddened by the results, the people voted and they’ll get what they voted for. That is democracy. Some of the nationalists have made some noise about reforming public service but that’s about as much backsliding of democracy as I can see. 

Erik of Hazelfield — agreed, less a backslide, more of pendulum swing; the political version of a business cycle?

As @Ran mentioned in another thread, I don’t think anything decisively successful will originate out of that election. Sweden will (sooner than later, subject to economic conditions) realign to its normal trend of progressiveness, I’m sure.

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  • 2 months later...
On 9/16/2022 at 11:02 PM, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Those of my generation remember the Tianenmen Square protests in Beijing. The images of one of the protesters stoping a line of tanks by standing in the middle of the road.  

Why hasn’t the pro-Democracy movement gotten more traction in China?  Is it because the existing system is too much like the traditional Confusion philosophy that holds in so much of China?  Why can’t the PRC be liberalized?

Liberated? By whom? For what?

Care to ask the Chinese people if they are happy with their government? 

Why would they rebel against the party that saved their country from foreign invasions and colonization? Why would they go against the party that lift them from poverty? Their only chance of getting rich and prosperous?

As an ancient Chinese proverb says, the boat is carried or overthrown by water, so is the government and its people. Have you ever considered that the Chinese people so far are happy with their government which is why they are still carrying the boat?

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21 minutes ago, Lily Liyang said:

Liberated? By whom? For what?

Care to ask the Chinese people if they are happy with their government? 

Why would they rebel against the party that saved their country from foreign invasions and colonization? Why would they go against the party that lift them from poverty? Their only chance of getting rich and prosperous?

As an ancient Chinese proverb says, the boat is carried or overthrown by water, so is the government and its people. Have you ever considered that the Chinese people so far are happy with their government which is why they are still carrying the boat?

I didn’t say “liberated”.  I said “liberalized”.  And yes… I specifically considered that possibility that the Chinese people are “happy” hence my question about the similarities between the existing Chinese system of Government and Confusion philosophy.

With regard to the good created by the Chinese Communist Party are you claiming the famine caused by the “Great Leap Forward” and the plethora of deaths and imprisonments during the “Cultural Revolution” were positives for the people of China?

 

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6 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

I didn’t say “liberated”.  I said “liberalized”.  And yes… I specifically considered that possibility that the Chinese people are “happy” hence my question about the similarities between the existing Chinese system of Government and Confusion philosophy.

With regard to the good created by the Chinese Communist Party are you claiming the famine caused by the “Great Leap Forward” and the plethora of deaths and imprisonments during the “Cultural Revolution” were positives for the people of China?

 

Yes… great leap cultural revolution. those were terrible mistakes. But those mistakes were corrected and lessons learnt. They are on the right track. 

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6 minutes ago, Lily Liyang said:

Yes… great leap cultural revolution. those were terrible mistakes. But those mistakes were corrected and lessons learnt. They are on the right track. 

The ongoing treatment of Uyghur’s in Xinjiang?  Also an “oops”?

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