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Wow, what a long post. I haven't actually read everyone's comments, so apologies if I repeat stuff that has already been said.|
I think when people hear the word "democracy" in the context of China's political development they immediately associate it as a comparison of China and the U.S.
Personally, I think there a many countries that are a lot more "democratic" than the U.S. seeing that only about half (or less) of their population actually votes, among other reasons which others have mentioned.
Hence, when I use the word "democracy" in the context of talking about China's political development it is by no means a comparison to the U.S.
What "democracy" means to me is not about which established system one should follow. It is basic things... like the rule of law, and seperation of power.
The U.S is not a good model of seperation of power, for example, their judicial system is politicised by the fact that their federal judges are appointed. China needs to move towards creating seperation of power in order to stifle corruption.
The government needs to be held responsible to the people. You mentioned that China is tough on cracking down corruption... but who is cracking down on this corruption? It's a top down thing... sure, we can check the corruption down there because they answer to the top, but who checks those at the top? I think the biggest problem in China's political system is the lack of indepedent institutions to deal with matters like these.
As you can see, my main concerns at the moment are not to do with universal suffrage or anything like that.
Another thing which concerns me though is the fact that at the NPC, bills get passed with pretty much zero opposition. I can say that with an First Past the Post Government systems, it's pretty much the same thing - if the majority party presents a bill it's almost 100% guaranteed that it will be passed. So the argument is, what is the difference between a 100% pass and a 55%-45% pass when the end result is that the bill gets passed.
But this doesn't have to be. In New Zealand, we got rid of the FPP system and replaced it with an MMP system. It's like the Representative system you mentioned. Here, you do not have to vote for one of the two "main parties" because the number of seats they get in Parliament will be in proportion to the % of votes they get. Additionally, after MMP came in, it seems rare that any one party gets more than 50% of the votes, so you will have a situation where the big parties have to form coalitions with the smaller parties in order to create the government. Hence, the small parties are an important check on the big party's power - if they present a bill, the small party (although they help form the government), can say NO to a bill.
Opposition, I think, is an important feature of democracy. No matter how patriotic you are to your own country, people are bound to have differing views on what is best for their country - and I do NOT believe any ONE person (or party) has the best answer.
No way do I think China should be using the U.S by itself as an example to work from. Although I consider a country like New Zealand far more democratic, it is a very small country. Perhaps Australia can also be looked at, I think that is a better example, in general, than the U.S.
The bottom line is that "democracy", no matter what line you take, will probably not get very far if any reforms that are happening is done because they want MORE power. The aim should be political stability.
Often, I read of the Americans flaming China for its lack of freedom of speech etc. and the comeback from Chinese and others would often be something like "what is the point in freedom of speech when you have rappers Eminem polluting your youth's minds and a chunk of your population live in ghettos while you have your Donald Trumps living it out?"... well, all I have to say is the fact that people are not allowed to openly oppose the government does not actually mean opposition does not exist. People think opposition is such a bad thing, that it will cause chaos and probably topple the government etc. BUT all I am saying is that there are examples in which political opposition can be incorporated into the system peacefully. In fact, I am only concerned that the lack of political opposition may be an instability factor.
In saying that, I really can't guarantee that opening up the CCP to political opposition etc. will be a good thing (I am indecisive, aren't I?). China's never experienced full on "political participation" by the masses in its history. The fact that England developed a constitutional monarchy is kind of an historical accident (just so happens they had weak kings who couldn't control their people completely, lol).
"Democracy" for China is really more to do with internal political stability I think, nothing to do with the "democratic peace theory" (which, I don't really hold much credit to - China's one of the most peaceful countries in world history apparently). Anyway, I think I'm getting slightly off track so I shall end it here.
Btw, again to avoid any accusations of plagerisms, I'd like to credit much of the information or views above to textbooks, journals, and lecturers etc. etc... I was obviously not born with all these views pre-formulated in my mind :)