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Old 10-10-2014, 10:26 AM
Location: Taipei
6,777 posts, read 5,134,541 times
Reputation: 4566


Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
You should know every country is different. You can't apply the same standard to all of them. Can you even start to compare China with those dark green countries, such as Canada, Sweden, Norway? China is a country in its developing stage, with thousands of years of complicated history, a largely uneducated population and the population vastly larger. Do you expect at this stage, everyone should have the ability to vote for leaders? For God's sake, millions of Chinese have never stepped outside their village in their life, have no idea about rights, economy or politics.

China's success lies in the fact that policies have continuity and can be strictly enforced without all the endless multiple party bickering, all caring about nothing but their "votes". Yes, it sounds authoritarian, but if everything needs to be discussed and debated to death, China wouldn't be able to accomplish so much in such a short time, and pulling millions out of poverty.

Canada is highly democratic, yes, but it is highly inefficient. LEt me give you some example. The city of Toronto is seriously lack rapid transit, everyone knows it. The economic cost is multibillion. but we haven't done a thing in the past 20 years. Not a single line has been added, because all these politicians simply keep bickering with each other, canceling each other's plans. Millions have been spent on studies, reviews, consultations and there is zero results. This is the price you pay for democracy. On the other hand, China is building subways, high speed trains at incredible speed. In Shanghai, it takes 3-4 years to build a fully tunnelled subway. In Toronto, the schedule is 10-12 years for a line that is half above ground. For Christs sake, they are building a 100 meter tunnel linking mainland and the Billy Bishop Airport, and it has taken more than 3 years and not finished yet. Do you think China has so much time to build every piece of its infrastructure? If given full democracy, India is exactly what China would end up looking like. You get your "rights", but half the population pee on the streets and the trains take 10 hours to travel 300km.

Brazil is another example. Its growth is something like 1%. Give it to China, that means 300M people will be out of jobs.

Trust me, I didn't come to Canada for its democracy. Its high quality of life comes from a small population with massive resources. If Canada had 1 billion people, it would be as poor as China, democratic or not. Often, I (and many others) just want some authoritarian person to say: shut up, the discussion is over and let's start digging and build some subways. BS time is over.

Even the liberal party Trudeau showed "admiration" toward the effectiveness China's authoritarian system is able to bring. Sometimes democracy gives you rights, sometimes it brings BS. Hitler was democratically elected as well in case you forget.

All the fuss and aura over democracy is misguided. I am not saying China doesn't need political reform, but I am happy that it is finding its own way instead of blindly following the America style in hope of becoming the next America. Truth is, nobody can become another America.
I didn't say that China should just blindly following the democratic system of America or Finland, I'm just saying that you can't be that sure how China'd be like were it a democracy. You think it'd be exactly like India nowadays, but some probably think otherwise, and it could never been proved as China has never been a democracy in its long-ass history. Nobody here is suggesting that some extremely radical moves should be taken, but some gradual reforms are worth a try. However, CCP just doesn't seem to be interested in that, not even in Hong Kong, where people are much more educated, and have ideas of rights, politics, or economy.

And about that subway thing, that's more of a problem of Canada itself, not democracy. There are other countries out there that have excellent public transportation while remain to be democratic, like say, Japan or Germany.
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Old 10-10-2014, 11:34 AM
3,123 posts, read 2,706,795 times
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Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
^ one doesn't need to own a home to have a family. Switzerland has an even lower home ownership rate than HK.

List of countries by home ownership rate - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Switzerland also has rent control. Rent control in Hong Kong would be a total disaster, because it would lead to a massive shortage of rental apartments. Young people would not be able to move out at all.

And it doesn't prove your point. No matter how low the home ownership is in Switzerland, it does not make rising property prices any better for the Hong Kong people.

Regarding the rest, I can surely tell you that China can grow this fast precisely because it doesn't have the multi-party democratic system and the government can focus on getting things done and long term planning instead of only caring about votes and the next election.
You mention Canada is slow at adding subways, but it has never been an important issue in Canada. Take a look at Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. They have certainly been able to add subway lines despite having democracy. Maybe China model is better at infrastructure, but is democracy better at dealing with pollution?

If they are so good at getting things done, then why is the government doing everything so slow. They got a lot done in the 80s and maybe the 90s, but after that only small reforms has happened. For instance it took them ages to reverse the one child rule, they are still doing nothing about the Hukou system and they are still not able to solve the pollution problems.

But my main point is, your example with India is flawed because we don't know how well India would do under a dictatorship. In fact, China is kind of an exception among dictatorships. Most other authoritarian regimes are not doing well at all.

And don't forget history. Taiwan and S Korea didn't have democracy before they become this wealthy. Singapore is still largely a one party system. There are also dozens of democratic countries that are pissing poor. Democracy didn't make Bangladesh wealthy, did it? The assumption that only democracy can foster stability and prosperity is entirely wrong.
Now you are putting words in my mouth. I am not fixated on democracy, and I don't think it is the only way to foster stability and prosperity, but when the leaders stop caring about their own people then democracy is the solution.

Also, I am not advocating democracy for China (although I would like to see local democracy). What I am advocating is to have democracy in Hong Kong. Sure, Taiwan, South Korea did not have democracy back then, but they have it now. Hong Kong is long overdue to have democracy, and they need democracy to keep developing.

You mention Singapore, but Singapore democracy is vastly superior to Hong Kong democracy. In Singapore they can vote for the opposition, but they don't. Sure, Singapore has its way to supress the opposition, but if Singapore population get mad enough, the opposition will win. In Hong Kong however it is not possible to change the government. In Hong Kong the opposition has won every election since the handover, but they have had no power at all.

You are right that Hong Kong can be okay without democracy. But only if the government listen to the people of Hong Kong. If they treat Hong Kong like a colony, then don't be surprised when they rebel. And as long as the government do not care about the Hong Kong people, then democracy is the only solution.
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Old 10-15-2014, 01:33 PM
32,119 posts, read 33,030,273 times
Reputation: 14967
Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
Hong Kong and its 7m people never had the rights to vote for their leaders. Even before 1997, the HK governor had always been appointed by the British government, not elected by the HK people.

A fact western media never cared to mention. Now they talk as if China is taking away their voting rights (which they never had), and so many people seem to be under the impression that HK was a democratic regime under London's rule and now Beijing is changing that.

Speaking of brainwashing. I don't mind arguing for either side, but at least get the facts straight first.
Having said that British rulers allowed for a more democratic life style in HK than there is on Mainland China with its communist regime.
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Old 10-17-2014, 12:07 AM
21 posts, read 19,206 times
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But at least Hongkong has more freedom in China. China banned NYT, Facebook, Instagram... and a lot of information source.
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Old 10-17-2014, 02:17 PM
10,847 posts, read 11,281,099 times
Reputation: 7586
Originally Posted by Camlon View Post

But my main point is, your example with India is flawed because we don't know how well India would do under a dictatorship. In fact, China is kind of an exception among dictatorships. Most other authoritarian regimes are not doing well at all.
That's precisely my point. We don't know what could happen to any country in a parallel world under a different political system.

China is fumbling for years and managed to find a way for rapid increase in living standards and they don't want to throw it away in exchange for some ideological achievement. We don't know what democracy will do China - there might be a brief chaos and long term prosperity, and the country may also just go downhill forever. We don't know.

You said China is an exception as an authoritarian regime. You are probably right (although Singapore comes into mind as well), but since it is largely working, why change it? Look around, there are 160 democratic countries in the world, some are as rich as US and Germany, some are stuck in poverty and chaos. There is no assurance by adopting a completely new political system, people's lives will be improved consistently - that's the ultimate goal of running a country, not some fancy dream where everyone can vote. Even among democratic countries, voting turnout is decreasing, sometimes as low as 25%.

Western people like to point fingers on their high-horse: give the Chinese people democracy, give them freedom, raise their wages, let them have as many kids as they like (as it is human rights). Of course they can say whatever they want. They don't need to live in China, and if it leads to catastrophes, they don't need to suffer the consequence. So why not let other country do their business?

I can point to Americans and say: why does everyone have to drive a car and live in those big 2000sf houses wasting so much energy every day. Why shouldn't they all live in small apartments and the world will be a much more efficient place. Why can't they all take public transit like the Asians do? You know, judging someone is easy. It is not your life after all.
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Old 10-17-2014, 05:17 PM
2,566 posts, read 2,184,976 times
Reputation: 1816
I think there may be a misunderstanding of what a democracy stands for. As botticelli correctly stated, there are over a hundred democratic countries worldwide, but there is a wide gap between the richest and poorest democracies. Some are highly efficient and transparent, while others (e.g. India) exhibit rampant corruption and large-scale poverty. In short, democratic governance does NOT guarantee economic prosperity.

Democratic governance is not an economic system like communism or capitalism. In fact, democracies can exist and prosper under either largely socialist societies (e.g. France) or free-market capitalist ones (e.g. America, Hong Kong). Democracy is meant to be a set of value and governance philosophies that transcend national and cultural barriers. That is, solely using economic measures like GDP growth or average income to judge the feasibility of democracy is a bit narrow. In some ways, it's somewhat similar to religion and faith - would anyone ever put a $ amount on the economic value of Christianity or Buddhism and how much they contributed to GDP per capita of any one country? They are a set of shared faiths and values, and are never meant to guarantee wealth or economic output.
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