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News Hu Jintao replaces Jiang Zhemin

  1. Sep 19, 2004 #1
    Hu Jintao replaces Jiang Zhemin as supreme military chief of China. This gives Hu full power in theory. How will this effect Chinese policy? Will reform speed up? Will corruption be firmly dealt with? Will pragmatism replace the hard line stances of the past (Taiwan etc...)?
    My idea is that it will only make a difference in the long run. Many Chinese are glad to see the unpopular and a-charismatic Jiang leave, not in the least because of his role in Tian An Men, but will Hu have the guts (if already he has the wish) to go the first steps onto the road of democracy?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 19, 2004 #2


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    So who holds real power in China, the President or the Chairman of the Military Commission ?
  4. Sep 19, 2004 #3
    China won't be a democracy without civil unrest doing it from the inside. No one in the government is going to give up the power they have right now to democratize without a combination of inside and outside pressure.
  5. Sep 19, 2004 #4
    There IS pressure, Phat, and a great deal of social unrest, not much heard of in the west. There are daily mass demonstrations, though most of them for economical reasons: state owned companies get (partly)privatised and then what happens is that a few privileged (party-) people get the private shares, become millionaires overnight (in name of the people of course). Then, because of the tremendous oversatffing of these companies, they give the workers an option: stay (often at lower wages), and loose all ancienity or whtever rights they had before (meaning, no more free appartment, no pension etc...) or take a ridiculously small amount of money and go. Privatisation has to happen if the Chinese want to survive in this world, but the way it is done is appaling. Some people think that Hu wants to fight the corruption of the cadres and streamline this process. Or does he just want to put his cronies first on the list???
  6. Sep 19, 2004 #5
    Democratization from the top is not unheard of so I wouldn't rule it out completely.
  7. Sep 19, 2004 #6


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    Uhh..Democracy almost ALWAYS comes from the "top"....
  8. Sep 19, 2004 #7
    Once they are established, yes, it's the system that keeps democracy alive , if everything goes well. But most Democracies have been fought for by the masses.
  9. Sep 19, 2004 #8


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    Well the American Revolution was started by a coalition of the elite (John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, et alia) with the poor but eloquent (Sam Adams, Thomas Paine). The "people" had foo-all to do with it.
  10. Sep 20, 2004 #9
    We were discussing democracies... :biggrin:
    And perhaps there are OTHER countries than the US?
  11. Sep 20, 2004 #10


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    Just giving a historical example relative to the discussion. You are free to come up with your own examples, but we should use them, to avoid the usual gassy abstraction problem that afflicts threads on general topics.
  12. Sep 20, 2004 #11
    Why democratise China anyway?

    I don't really see it solving many problems. It'll probably mean China will fragment into a bunch of political parties holding minorities in parliament meaning coalitions of parties not having the same ideologies ruling. All the progress China had been making will be effectively be brought to a standstill as poltical method kicks in. In-fighting is also bound to occur meaning that even less will be done. China - I think - works. There are A LOT of problems (corruption, gross human rights abuses etc.) but MAYBE, just maybe, the present absolute rule is what's needed to solve these problems. It may not be a popular view but what if it does work?

    Maybe lots of countries are afraid to see this "totalitarian" (if you can call it that) society solve all there problems in a non-democratic way. It would just show that democracy is not needed and then the politicians are really gonna have a dilemma!
  13. Sep 20, 2004 #12
    :confused: :confused: :confused:

    How long the communists are in charge now? If they were able or even willing to solve these problems they would have had enough time to do it.

    totalitary society = gross human right abuses
    inefficient administration with now democratic control, a lot of power in the hands of few = corruption
    (in short)

    In the end, it's the growing economy that forces the party to introduce a political change, nothing else.
  14. Sep 20, 2004 #13
    You kinda answered that yourself eh? I should know about your point - after all, I'm from SA.

    FYI: SA scrapped Apartheid because of the economy. The sanctions were killing us and there was no other option than to accept change ie. the resistance movements of the ANC etc.

    The economy of China is straining and in order to adapt, China has to change. It doesn't mean that they have to change to democracy because of this.
  15. Sep 20, 2004 #14
    This is sick thinking.

    I understand that this may all seem flawed reasoning, as you a proponent of communism, but.....

    You completely forget the people being locked up FOR LIFE for running pornography websites, Tian An Men square, and execution of political dissendants.
    You say "Why democratize?" while China has a dozen men who get to decide the fate of Asia, and soon the world (as China's hegemone comes to reality).As China has to make a decision to involve itself in a potential battle in N Korea, or in peaceful democratic Taiwan, and Japan labels the country (about to) a military threat for the first time since WWII, you ask why the power for these major decisions should fall in the hands of a few men, ruling a billion people domestically alone.
    This IS the best time for there to be a democracy in China. There needs to be accountability as we hand the nation more economic and military power. A few men is not enough accountability when we butt heads in the future. And I assure you, the US and China will but heads. I just hope there is some ability to negotiate at that time.
  16. Sep 20, 2004 #15
    Sorry, selfadjoint, but your example leads us away from the issue here. Shahil, China is not communist, the communist experiment failed. The Chinese system is "working" in a sense that they are successful sofar in reforming the plan economy into a private one. The tough cookies they have to crack are the remaining state-mastodonts. Apply a "Tian An Men "-style approach to this problem and you will have a new revolution. There is no soft way out, private economy is overtaking the state-owned and so they have to change or dissapear. Changing means firing 70 % of the workforce. China BADLY needs democracy, in the first place to give these people the illusion they have a voice in all this. If the party would assume responsibility and do the dirty job, they would loose the last bit of support of the people. So my guess is that HU will of course maintain the one-party system, but that at a lower level, "democratic" administrations will have to clean up the mess. The "fight against corruption" will be intensified, which means that the purging now and then of useless or oponent figures, will increase and taken to a higher level. In the mean time we have the first case: the minister of land-resources was sacked. He is the guy responsible for a million or so "industrial development zones" on every street corner in China. Interesting times, I think I'll stay a bit longer in China...
  17. Sep 21, 2004 #16
    Interesting quote don't you think - that EXACTLY is what democracy is. I think most countries (democratic) work on the principle of what you've said. 12 odd people making decisions for millions. And that I'll defend. I still say democracy is NOT the answer! It is NOT going to bring about miraculous changes.

    If someone can gimme some input on WHY democracy will definitely work, maybe I'll change my views but after everything I've read here and elsewhere so far - I still think China should stay totalitarian!
  18. Sep 21, 2004 #17
    Don't worry, it will. As I said, I expect "democratic institutions" to be installed at lower levels. The top will keep a firm grip on the whole thing. It does make a difference if the offical that takes away your job was "elected". My post was a little ironic :cry: Anyway, I agree with you that China will best stay totalitarian for a while. Any real democratic government would have a nearly impossible task. It's best that the communists clean up the mess they made by themselves. Socialism with Chinese characteristics! Hah! BTW, Shahil, you can always volunteer to go and suppress some Tibetans or other minorities if you're so keen on helping totalitarianism. They need people like you.
  19. Sep 21, 2004 #18
    Give me another system that will give such great accountability to the nation.
    We, the USA, have a secuirty pact with Taiwan, Japan, and S Korea. All of the three stand to have their nations severely affected by China and China's influence. To avoid war, one must have the ability to bargain in other terms. I do not wish for their to be a proxy war between the USA/China, and despite much of the dialogue coming from Beijeng being just rhetoric, threats to Nuke Los Angeles over disagreements on Taipai are enough to start a problem.
    When that problem happens, those in power will still be self serving, but the easiest way to do that is to save their political careers by appeasing their populous - accountability. The rulers screw up, get the nation into an unpopular war, and they can be voted out. As it stands, a few dozen men, with NO accountability outside of each other can do what they like with the growing bohemoth. So far, they've failed miserably.
    The Chinese are patient and calculating. It's amazingly impressive. They have a plan and they are putting it into action. Wars are caused by rhetoric, resources, geographic diputes. China and the US do/will have disagreements on all of the above. There needs to be bargaining ability.
  20. Sep 21, 2004 #19
    lol Mercator! I'm not such an evil dude.

    My reasoning is that even though China is a terrible record in a certain amonut of fields (corruption, human rights) look at the leaps and bounds they've made elsewhere. All you do is look at the Olympics - I really doubt any country has come to such dominance in such a short time. Also, on the capitalist side, why would the US be so interested in China if there was no money to be made? JA, there's problems and maybe Mercators "Socialism with Chinese characteristics" is probably where this will all end up and, for my communist ideals, I'd rather it end up that way instead of pure capitalist!

    And for the record, ja I do agree that China ain't a bunch of commies anymore but hell, they're the best we've got!! hehe!
  21. Sep 21, 2004 #20
    What do you mean such dominance in such a short period of time?
    China has been working on just this current policy for 50 years, and they have another 50 to catch the USA if all goes well. This didn't happen overnight. The Chinese leadership is patient. The US was weak compared to Britain up until WWII.
    I dont know how much socialism a country of a billion people can handle honestly. It'll be interesting to see, but in the meantime I still want them to move to a floating currency so the rest of the world can quit being screwed by them (again, Brilliant on the part of the Chinese)
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