The topic of democracy in China is a highly controversial topic. Although China has not democratised, it has done well in the global situation amongst its democratic competitors. Since the path to democracy is different for each country, we cannot expect that China would follow the same path or same model of democracy as the western nations. This essay will look at what democracy is and how it can be placed in a Chinese context as well as looking at the proponents and opponents of democracy in China. It will also look at whether China is democratising by focusing on village elections, globalisation and the emergence of a civil society. These specific topics were chosen because they will help provide good evidence and arguments to the topic of democratisation in China. The main argument in this essay will be that although China is implementing some changes that can be seen as the beginning of a road to democracy, there contribution should not be over estimated. China still has a long way to go before it can be considered that it is democratising. The small changes are good but China still has a long road ahead of itself to achieve democracy.
What is democracy?
Democracy is “...the word that resonates in people’s minds and springs from their lips as they struggle for freedom and a better way of life...” (Schmitter and Karl, 1991:75). However, the word democracy has many different means depending on the country and context it is used in. “Every country has is own culture and comes by its political system through its own history” (Greenberg, 2007:101, cited in Li, 2008:4). Li, (2008) states that because of China’s political structure the usual road to democracy may be difficult for it to achieve. The western idea ...
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Thornton, P., (ed.) (2010), ‘Censorship and Surveillance in Chinese Cyberspace: Beyond the Great Firewall’ In Gries, P. H., and Rosen, S., (eds) Chinese Politics (London and New York: Routledge).
Weiwei, Z., (2011) The China Wave - Rise of a Civilizational State. (World Century Publishing Corporation).
Xiaobo, L., (2011), ‘Two Essays on China’s Quest for Democracy’ Journal of Democracy, 22(1): 154-166.
Zhao, S., (2003), ‘Political Liberalization without Democratization: Pan Wei’s proposal for political reform’ Journal of Contemporary China, 12(35): 333–355.
Zhao, Y., (1998), Media, Market, and Democracy in China - Between the party line and the bottom line (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press).
Zheng, Y., (1999), ‘Political Incrementalism: Political lessons from China’s 20 years of reform’ Third World Quarterly, 20(6): 1157-1177.
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