Okay, why do most people associate protests with wanting democracy? :loco:
also, it is not true that the Chinese at the bottom want democracy while the Chinese on the top don’t. Based on my in depth understanding, the reality actually the other way round.
If you’re Chinese at the bottom, and knowing what it means to be Chinese, and seeing how it works, you’d be pretty pissed to have that fantasy of one day becoming one of the top guys shattered by Democracy and Rule of Law. You may or may not be the lucky one, but there have been so many previous examples in 5000 years. So many nobody became emperors and had the greatest enjoyment of life a man could have, no matter how brief the moment was.
The sense of self-fulfilment is different. The aspiration is very different. The world view is different. This is why the usual “china experts” always get it wrong.[/quote]
Agreed on the first point. Not really sure how this turned into a black/white discussion about whether or not Chinese people want democracy, but that is putting a spin on it that doesn’t at all jive with the facts on the ground. Unrest can almost always be traced to a specific grievance against the government (overwhelmingly local) or some external party that enjoys the protection of the government.
With that in mind, the point you then go on to make seems rather incongruous, not to mention completely counter-intuitive and utterly at odds with my own personal experience. To see if I have this right, you are saying that your average LBX (老百姓）driving a taxi in Lanzhou or sweeping gutters somewhere doesn’t want the government to change because they believe that they have a chance of climbing the ranks in the Party? Can you elaborate a bit more on what your ‘in-depth understanding’ consists of? Like, you have done extensive surveys of people in China and they said that they want to maintain the current system because they think they have a chance to come out on top? Or something else? I am truly curious.
If we don’t think of democracy as a binary thing - after all, as has been pointed out, even western countries vary considerably on the scale of democracy - but instead begin to think of it more as a question of gradient and trends, a China that continues to grow economically basically has to become more democratic going forward. There is a reason why Japan/S Korea/Taiwan all became more democratic as they came up against the middle-income trap, and it isn’t that they crossed off all the material items on their shopping list and decided they wanted democracy next. When people have greater autonomy in the economic sphere, historically this has carried over into the desire for greater political autonomy. The oft talked about economic transition that China needs to make entails a greater role for the private sphere, by definition at the expense of the State, which is really a de-facto move up the scale of greater democratization.
The change will certainly be more subtle than all of the sudden one day people demand the right to vote. In terms of unrest threatening the current regime, on a short-term horizon, the useful analogy is dynastic change rather than democratic revolution.[/quote]
I have been in Mainland China a lot recently and have heard a lot of murmurs about democracy from taxi drivers and co-workers. Not clandestine evidence, but for me a feeling a change of sorts in attitudes is coming.