Sep 29

Responding to Zhang Weiwei – Democracy and China

Written by: Raj | Filed under:Analysis, General, Opinion, politics | Tags:,
90 Comments » newest 2010-11-21 01:26:09

I would like to thank btbr403 for translating Zhang’s article that was recently posted on to Fools Mountain. In it he said that he had never found an example of a developing country that had “realized its modernization through democratization”. He then proceeded to refute examples cited that could apply and called for a non-western form of democracy for China.

However, Zhang’s conclusions and the method he used to reach them are fundamentally flawed. It starts with a serious lack of understanding of what democracy means these days. As I discussed in a previous post, democracy is not just having elections. It is about an entire system that crosses the country, in regards to not just elections but also the media, judiciary, rule of law and civil rights. If one does not recognise how they are all linked and that if any particular aspect is attacked the rest can be equally compromised, the entire discussion becomes pointless. It also doesn’t help that he gives no definition of “modernization”. Continue reading »

Sep 20

admin’s note. The following is a blog post from 多维博客(h/t to Snow). Besides re-posting an article originally published on the Study Times (a weekly publication of the CCP’s Central Party School) in 2008, it drew a vigorous debate among Chinese with nearly 300 comments (I hope that someone could translate them too), many of them are interesting. Although we posted the Chinese version last year and A-gu commented on that, it was until recently that btbr403 volunteered to translate it. DeWang and Allen helped with the translation.

Following is the translation of the original post:

The Study Times of The Central Party School published an article by Zhang Weiwei (he was Deng XiaoPing’s interpreter, and he wrote an opinion piece The allure of the Chinese model ), a senior research fellow at the Modern Asia Research Centre, University of Geneva, Switzerland. He showed his excellent eloquence in the invitation only Marshall Forum on Transatlantic Affairs, saying that he had visited more than 100 countries, but couldn’t find one that achieved modernization via democratization. The European and American scholars present couldn’t find any examples to refute him.
Continue reading »

Aug 17

From August 6-9, southern Taiwan was hit with the worst typhoon in 50 years. Per the Associated Press story:

“Morakot dumped more than 80 inches (two meters) of rain on the island last weekend and stranded thousands in villages in the mountainous south. A total of 15,400 villagers have been ferried to safety, and rescuers are working to save another 1,900 people. The storm destroyed the homes of 7,000 people and caused agricultural and property damage in excess of 50 billion New Taiwan dollars ($1.5 billion), Ma told the security conference.”

Continue reading »

Jul 15

This is the full session between Niall Ferguson and James Fallows at the recently held Aspen Ideas Festival. Allen had posted excepts and we promised you the complete discussion as soon as it became available. Niall Ferguson had coined the term “Chimerica” to describe the symbiotic relationship between the economies of China and the United States. He currently sees this relationship as being in jeopardy, while James Fallows feels the relationship is far stronger the most realize. This video is slightly over 75 minutes.

Continue reading »

Jul 06

( A short thesis exploring the problems and viability of implementing a democratic system from a developing country’s point of view. The thesis concludes with an introduction of an interesting hybrid system that seems to be taking shape in the ongoing political evolutionary process in China.
This article is the final part of the 2-part series on democracy, and was first published on Jun 3, 2009 on the following website : chinablogs.wordpress.com )



Continue reading »

Jul 01

Topics on Democracy (Part 1) — Democracy War Game

Written by: Chan | Filed under:culture, General, politics | Tags:, , , , ,
115 Comments » newest 2009-07-31 22:18:48

( This article was first published on May 23, 2009 on the following website : chinablogs.wordpress.com )


*** ( Important : Please note that this article is NOT a rebuttal of Raj’s recent Democracy article. Nor has it anything at all to do with his article in any way. It is a pure coincidence that his article was published just before mine. It has always been my intention to transfer my articles from my site onto FM. And my Democracy 2-part series happens to be the next and last articles to be transferred. The readers should NOT view this article as a response to any previous articles on this FM site ) ***


Continue reading »

Jun 30

Honduras, Iran, and China

Written by: raventhorn4000 | Filed under:-guest-posts, General, politics | Tags:, , , ,
54 Comments » newest 2009-07-16 00:13:10

Honduran President was forced into Exile by a group of military soldiers who stormed his house and forced him onto a plane at gun point.

The reason? He tried to push for a referendum to extend his terms of office.

His replacement was quickly sworn in, but massive protests have broken out.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had this to say:

“Our immediate priority is to restore full democratic and constitutional order in that country. As we move forward, all parties have a responsibility to address the underlying problems that have led to yesterday’s events, in a way that enhances democracy and the rule of law in Honduras.”

*I’m all in favor of “all parties” owning up responsibilities. But it seems, the Honduran ex-President didn’t do anything other than push for a vote by the People.

His replacement now calls it NOT as a Coup, but an Exile by “legal process”, that Zelaya was arrested by a process of law.

But that excuse is rather flimsy. If Zelaya committed a crime, he should be arrested and tried, and not “renditional Exiled” in his pyjamas to another country where he can’t even have a day in court.

So, I wonder why US is tip-toeing around this little coup, when it is so obvious.

But here some interesting factoids that might hint the US motives:

(1) Military leader for the coup was General Romeo Vasquez, a graduate of the infamous “School of Americas”, a US military training school for Latin American military dictators and human rights abusers.

(2) Newly installed Honduran President, Roberto Micheletti, was born in Italy, and technically, according to Honduran Constitution, cannot serve as President.

*What’s going to happen if Honduran protest turns bloody? Who will bear responsibility? Will Honduras have an Iranian Revolution? Or will the US trained Honduran General roll the tanks (BTW, they are already sitting at the Presidential Palace)?

Jun 28

What is democracy and how does it relate to China?

Written by: Raj | Filed under:Analysis, politics | Tags:, ,
150 Comments » newest 2009-07-11 21:02:50

It seems that “democracy” has been a hot-topic in political discussions about China in the last year. We’ve seen the Beijing Olympics, the creation of Charter 08, the publication of Zhao Ziyang’s memoirs and the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen protest crackdown. However, it seems that whilst people on both sides of the debate will stick to their positions with determination, relatively few actually discuss what democracy means and what the consequences are for China.

Elections are the most common aspect of democracy that people will point to, but clearly having elections alone are not reflective of democracy. Saddam Hussein allowed elections. It was just that he was the only candidate and the results were fixed (winning 100% of the vote with 100% turnout in 2002). Clearly, then, the elections must be free and fair, as well as open to a wide range of parties and candidates. But how can an election be free and fair if all the media attention, often because it is State-controlled, goes on one candidate? Or some candidates are harassed and/or subject to legal action simply to get them disbarred from running, as has happened in Singapore? Clearly the overall system must allow free and fair elections to happen.
Continue reading »

May 20

A recollection of the 1989 student movement in Tianjin

Written by: kui | Filed under:General, politics | Tags:, , ,
225 Comments » newest 2013-06-27 00:46:21

admin’s note: This year is the 20th anniversary of the 1989 student movement. No matter what your view on this subject is, what happened 20 years ago is no doubt an important piece of Chinese history. As Zhu Rongji, former Chinese premier minister, then mayor of Shanghai, famously said, on June 8, 1989, “No one can cover up historical facts forever, and the truth will eventually reveal itself” (历史事实是没有人能够隐瞒的,事实真相终将大白).

Many people are interested in the events happened on the Tiananmen Square. While undoubtedly it was the epicenter of the 89 student movement, we should not lose sight that large scale demonstrations happened in many other cities too. To almost any college student at that time, 1989 was a life changing year. Previously Eugene recalled his experience as a student in Shanghai. Here is an observation and reflection from a student in Tianjin (天津), the closest major city to Beijing. This post was emailed to me by kui (thank you very much!). I took liberty to  modify the original text slightly. I hope more people of the ’89 generation will come forward and share his/her experiences and thoughts.

I was 21 years old and studying in a college in Tianjin in 1989. When I first heard that the student protest in Beijing had escalated to hunger strike, I was shocked that such extreme measure was taken. Hunger strike is not without health consequences. What if the government refuses to give in? But it did not even take me five seconds to decide that I should support it. Almost every student in our college supported it. We decided to boycott classes. Very few students who had different opinions still went to library to study and I saw them confronted by other students.
Continue reading »

Mar 24

In our Dalai Lama Warns of Looming Violence thread, Wukailong linked to this essay covering three political scenarios that China might face in the year 2020. The author, Cheng Li is Senior Fellow at the John L. Thornton China Center of the Brookings Institution and William R. Kenan Professor of Government at Hamilton College. His summary is as follows:

Continue reading »

Mar 20

I have not done any research in writing this post, but I hope that does not detract us from having a vigorous and good discussion here.

In our recent Chinese Nationalism thread, Shane9219 started a discussion on a just released movie relating to the Nankin Massacre.

This got people discussing what the lessons of Nazi and Japanese Aggressions in WWII were. Continue reading »

Jan 12

The recent tragedies in Gaza have reminded me again the mind-numbing role the sensationalistic use of emotionally charged words can play in international politics.

Recently, Israel railed against the Vatican when Cardinal Renato Martino, the president of the Council for Justice and Peace of the Vatican, characterized Gaza as a “concentration camp.”  According to the NY Times: Continue reading »

Nov 12

Something no less significant than the country’s rapid economic growth of past three decades is that a group of brilliantly independent-thinking intellectual elites came into being with growing public impact, thanks to a relatively more relaxed era. While among them the liberal rightists have found more official avenues publicizing their opinions and effectively influencing the decision-making process at the high-up (as with the cases of economists li yining, Wu Jinglian and zhang weiying, the prime campaigners of western free market economy and neo-liberalism), the liberal leftists, with a sharper edge in critical and alternative thinking on important but still taboo issues such as the legacies of Mao, socialist practice and Cultural Revolution in light of China’s modernization and democratization, have been on the fringe. Cui Zhiyuan, Professor at School of Public Policy and Management in Tsinghua University, is one of them. Continue reading »

Nov 05

minipost-Obama Wins the U.S. Presidency!

Written by: Allen | Filed under:-mini-posts, aside | Tags:,
70 Comments » newest 2008-11-26 13:30:52

Ok – this is not exactly about China.  But heck, it’s been a big night!  What are your thoughts about the election?  Want to offer your predictions for the next four years (or eight if you are that high?) – esp. in terms of the global economy, energy policies, international politics, etc.?

P.S. I want to say that I do feel for McCain.  He is a great man and would have made a great president.  But symbolism can matter.  And unfortunately for McCain, an Obama presidency simply symbolizes “change” a lot more congently than a McCain presidency this time around…

Nov 04

Recently we have had several good, vigorous debates on the proper role of human rights in the International Order – including in China in particular.  In a recent thread, I even got to argue in the comments that the Chinese government is right to focus on issues of general human welfare (as embodied by its calls for a “peaceful and harmonious” society) rather than ideologies such as “human rights” (as embodied by Western calls for democracy and freedom of speech). Continue reading »

Oct 23

Why are Taiwanese so violent???

Written by: Allen | Filed under:Analysis, culture, News, politics | Tags:, , ,
181 Comments » newest 2010-03-18 06:26:41

Recently, DPP protesters attacked a Chinese envoy visiting a Confucius temple in Southern Taiwan, causing not only great embarrassment for President Ma, but also the entire Taiwanese people.

Fist fights, shouting matches, physical threats … and now this.  Are these signs of a vigorous democracy or an immature – perhaps violent society? Continue reading »

Sep 28

Prologue: On my last trip back to China I brought back some reprints of Republican-era books. The following musings are based on my hasty reading notes.

Abstract: The Chinese society functions well when the stuff of its elite works. The American society functions well when the stuff of its elite works and is embraced by its masses (which is far from automatic). The challenge for the Chinese society is that historically the stuff of its elite (e.g., Confucianism, Legalism and revolutionary socialism) has often failed to work. The challenge for the American society is that the stuff of its elite (e.g., science, education and secular humanism) is often rejected by its masses. Continue reading »

Sep 14

In a previous discussion on Malaysia’s ethnic politics, I was surprised (and dismayed) to sense the depth of dejection some ethnic Chinese in Malaysia may feel toward the political situation in Malaysia. There however may be hope. Continue reading »

Sep 13

I have been following this year’s US election. As an onlooker, there is some kind of entertaining element in my interest. But, at the same time, I am asking myself how it would be like if this election process was run in China, a country of 1.3 billion population. Since i don’t know the US election process very well, I am asking simple questions here: how feasible is democracy or how to put it in practice in a large country without it being downgraded to image competition? Continue reading »

Sep 09

The recent political turmoils have received relatively scant coverage in the Western Press.  Nevertheless, many of us here at Foolsmountain think the events in Thailand are important and interesting because they touch upon so many interesting issues – including the rule of law, democracy, class warfare, public education, and the role of military – all of which are also pertinent to China. Continue reading »

Sep 04

(Letter) Ideas about Democracy

Written by: guest | Filed under:-guest-posts, q&a | Tags:
6 Comments » newest 2008-09-12 07:24:34

Hi all,

I am writing from Germany with a question!
I would like to know more about how chinese people see democracy and what they think about it.
I am particularly interested in the difference that might excist between official statements about democracy ( opinion, possible implementation)and private views in the blogger community. I am happy with personal answers, weblinks, whatever gives me a glimpse on how democracy is percieved.

To give you a little information about myself:
I am a student of psychology who ist very much interested in poiltical psychology.
Personally I think democracy is a great thought as it endorses egalitarianism between all people and I firmly believe, that all people are equal. But the way western civilization has adapted democracy to the needs of a neoliberal economy is as egalitarian as monarchies in my view. I see a great chance to learn from nations like china or socialist countries in south america, to learn from each others experience, ideas, and mistakes through discussion about the past and future of democracy, economy and our societies.
thank you for your interest,