Li Yinhe: “Thoughts on Democracy”

ChinaGeeks translates an essay by sociologist Li Yinhe which reflects her ideas about democracy in light of recent discussion of the topic including Yu Keping’s essay Democracy Is a Good Thing. Li writes that the 100 years since the concept of Mr. Democracy was introduced to China in 1919 has been wasted:

There hasn’t even been a little progress, we still have to fight to clean up the name “democracy”, argue and waffle over whether democracy or autocracy is better. Mixed in with my indignant feelings is a complex feeling about my parents’ generation: when they joined the Party, half of them were joining to fight Japan and half of them were joining for democracy, can it be true that their lives’ effort was wasted? Can it be true that their blood sacrifice was wasted? This country they built with their own hard effort, is it ultimately a democratic country or an autocratic country?

[My] cooling off of feelings comes from the speech of a scholar in Singapore, who said we should not look at democracy as an ideology, but rather look at it as a practice. If we look at it as an ideology, then our problem is: is it good or bad? Is the democracy being declared by [government] offices real or fake? If we look at democracy as a practice, then our problem becomes: is this kind of detailed method better or is that one better, does this way or that way accord better with the needs and demands of society?

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