The Other Side of the Reform Divide

China Media Project has been tracking recent debates in the Chinese media and blogosphere over (see here, here, and here), and now translates a position from the left, an editorial from Guangming Daily:

First of all, in answering the question of “who governs,” socialist democracy and capitalist democracy are clearly delineated in their answers. Socialist democracy adheres to a people’s democratic dictatorship (人民民主专政), truly realizing the people as the masters [of their country] and carrying out among the people the most extensive democracy, and meanwhile to those enemies within carrying out the most effective dictatorship in accord with the law. Capitalist democracy, on the other hand, is only democracy among the very few, and it is limited within the bourgeois class, at its most basic seeking to protect private ownership of the means of production and thereby safeguard the interests of the bourgeois class. These differences in “state system” are of critical importance, showing us the class nature of democratic politics. Therefore, if someone does not recognize clearly the question of “who governs” before they argue specific political questions, they are like blind people groping the elephant, prone to all sorts of errors.

On the question of “how governing occurs,” socialist democracy and capitalist democracy are also poles apart. Socialist democracy adheres to the basic political system of the National People’s Congress, thoroughly ensuring the position of the people as the masters [of their country] and giving full scope to the sense of ownership and responsibility. While capitalist democracy also advertises itself as “rule by the people” and [holds that] “all people are equal,” under the system of private ownership the few still exercise control, regardless of what form the system takes. These basic differences in political systems are important background as we observe actual realities, and if we disregard these we will reach prejudiced or preposterous conclusions.

They also translate online reactions to the editorial, which include:

“Guangming Daily is a monument to whoredom!”

“You have no shame, and you still call yourself ‘bright.’” (“Guangming” means “bright” in Chinese).

Guangming Daily talks about drawing a clear distinction between socialist democracy and capitalist democracy. The problem is that the former is totally invisible and untouchable, so how can anything be distinguished at all?”


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