[quote=“hannes”]I have trouble figuring out what all these local politicians want, except for winning the next election.
In the West you have parties with more or less defined values (conservatives, democrats, laborers, left/right wingers, extreme left/right wingers, religious types, nature lovers, and so on). The only issue that divides political parties here seems to be pro or against independence, but then, nobody says in public what he really wants.[/quote]
Personally, I think what you’ve observed is one of the core characteristics of Chinese/Confucian culture. Speaking in very broad, social terms… Chinese believe that wisdom comes only with education (mixed in with innate intelligence), and that the fact we were all born with a brain and a mouth does not make all of our opinions equal.
The idea that an average Jiang voter should decide “I really love trees and therefore I should push for a specific national agenda that favors environmentalism over development” seems, well, obscene at some level. It just doesn’t calculate. It just seems obvious specific decisions on specific policies should be left to those who’re educated and properly informed on the issues. Note that in Taiwan and Hong Kong, winning parties are often described as having “better local organization”… as in, communities are prone to follow local leaders they trust rather than making an individual decision.
This isn’t to say politics and national issues aren’t interesting to the Chinese. Everyone likes to gossip everywhere, whether its entertainment or sports or national policies. But when it comes to the final relationship between government and society… other than the obvious shared values (prosperity, peace, opportunity), I don’t think the vast majority of Chinese believe we’re doing the country any good by having a mass dialogue at that level.
Democracy, yes, because it improves the “quality” and effectiveness of government and eliminates corruption. But democracy because I “want” some specific policy from government…? Novel concept, and I’m not sure one that will stick.