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Political Culture – China

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Political Culture – China
Dedication to Communism
• Government no longer expects
people to actively support
communism, so long as the
don’t actively oppose it.
• Since 1978, leaders have
chosen to be judged by their
ability to generate economic
growth and increased standards
of living for the people.
• In modern China, legitimacy is
directly tied to economic
performance
• In 2006, in colleges all over the
country, the state reduced the
number of required political
ideology courses from 7 to 4
Economic Development
• The government has
supported and advanced a
policy of “some get rich first.”
• This, of course, has led to
tremendous income
inequality.
• Rural income is 30% lower
than urban.
• Government also supports a
policy of “first development,
then environment.”
• Economic development has
become the key in promotion
through the system
Geography
• It’s the 2nd largest
country in area
• It’s the largest country
by population
• But, only about 25% of
the land is arable
• Farmland is shrinking
as industry and private
property grows
The “Rule of Law”
• There are laws and all are
equally governed by them
• Historically, the “rule of law”
has no place in communism as
“law is a weapon of the state”
• While Chinese government
often violates the latter part,
reform began in 1978
• First, there was a need to undo
the wrongs of the Cultural
Revolution and restore stability
and order
• Second, Deng Xiaoping wanted
to show a commitment to
“system building vs. arbitrary
rule”
• Finally, hoped to encourage
economic growth and
investment
Legal Reform
• 1982 constitution subjects
the party to authority of law
• 1996 reform gives the right to
counsel at early stages of
criminal investigation
• 1997 reform created laws
dealing with economic crime
• It also eliminated the crime of
“counterrevolution”
• Instituted property rights and
contract law
• Done to encourage foreign
investment, to provide codes
for growing capitalism, and to
appease outside pressure
(particularly surrounding the
Olympics)
Problems with law
• Capital punishment used
in “lesser crimes” (e.g.,
rape, theft, smuggling,
and child trafficking).
• Trials are inquisitorial in
nature – by the time you
get there, you’re already
guilty
• There are several
thousand political
prisoners despite the
removal of the
counterrevolutionary law
• No judicial review
• The party controls the
legal system
Mass Media
• The explosion of
telecommunications
around the world have
benefited China
• Decreased the importance
of state-controlled media
• There are 10x as many
periodicals (9,500) and
newspapers (2,000) today
as there were in 1978
• Censorship is still alive
– the government can shut
down papers that “go too far”
– regular monitoring of the
Internet
– objection to foreign
publication
Political Participation
• Mao expected people to
participate in political
activity. Lack of
participation was
opposition to the regime.
• Today, apathy is
accepted.
• The government has also
moved away from mass
mobilization campaigns.
• Finally, mass
demonstrations are
discouraged over private
complaints through local
channels.
Parties and Mass Organizations
• There are 8 “satellite”
parties under communist
control
– They participate in the NPC,
but have no real policymaking
power
• Mass organizations
– headed by party officials
– they don’t represent groups
which are looking to have
interests advanced in politics
– rather, they meet with those
groups and explain relevant
party decisions
Corruption
• Chinese people
consistently view
corruption as a serious
problem with the
government
• In fact, the Tiananmen
protests were as much
about corruption as
democracy
• Procuratorates are
supposed to prosecute
corruption as criminal
offenses, but party
discipline precedes
criminal investigations
Other Issues – Part 1
• Environmentalism
– 8-12% of GDP lost annually to
pollution
– When village committees
created in 1987, environmental
protection became very
difficult
– State EPA is horribly under
funded
• Population Control
– Officially, China has a onechild policy
– Rules change from province
to province
– Rules are less strict in rural
areas
– Enforcement is difficult
– Despite objections, the policy
has worked
Other Issues – Part 2
• Hong Kong
– In 1984, China established
“one country, two systems,”
to support capitalism in
Hong Kong
– In 1996, after taking over,
China replaced elected
officials with its own
– Greater freedom there than
elsewhere
• Taiwan
– Nationalists fled there after
losing the civil war
– In 1971, it lost its official
standing as the government
of China
– Tension remains high with
the mainland
Final Thoughts
• Can economic growth
continue without
breaking the communist
party and establishing
democracy?
• Can China continue to
survive as a communist
regime when most of the
others collapsed years
ago?
• Will nationalism help
continue to protect
communism in China?
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