‘True Democracy’ Within China’s Politburo?

Can one find democracy in China? According to a US source in Beijing, the country’s Politburo is more interested in consensus than decrees — on all issues except for Tibet. But, US diplomats allege, most of the country’s top functionaries maintain close ties with various industries.  Please read the article at Spiegel Online International here:

Is there any place in dictatorial China where votes are taken and discussions held — rather than orders given and decrees issued? Indeed there is. And it is where one would least expect it: In the heart of Chinese power.

If one is to believe US diplomatic sources in Beijing, “true democracy” prevails in the Politburo of all places, within that little-known group of top apparatchiks consisting of 24 men and one woman.

No one outside China’s ruling cadre knows who at the top of China’s power structure decides what and why. No one knows who thinks what, who is allied with whom and who really has influence. Public debates are rare. But by talking to leading functionaries, experts from the US Embassy in Beijing managed to get a glimpse inside of China’s inner circle.

The newly revealed US embassy dispatches provide surprising details. Hardly any decisions, no matter how sensitive they might be, are decreed by head of state Hu Jintao or head of government Wen Jiabao. Decisions instead tend to be taken collectively by top Communist party functionaries. When vital policy issues, such as relations with Taiwan or North Korea, are up for decision, all 25 Politburo members are involved. Lesser issues are resolved by the nine-member standing committee.

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