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Hacked By AdGhosT

Hacked By AdGhosT & Tayeb TN & bo hmid

 

 

 

 

 

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Liang Qichao, Mao Zedong, and political tutelage: Are we ready? » The Peking Duck

Liang Qichao, Mao Zedong, and political tutelage: Are we ready?

I thought you all might get a kick out of a passage from a longer reading I (Jeremiah) assigned to my history class this week. It was written by Liang Qichao in 1903 after a trip to the United States.

Now, freedom, constitutionalism and republicanism mean government by the majority, but the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people are like those in San Francisco [the behavior of the Chinese workers in Chinatown horrified Liang]. If we were to adopt a democratic system of government now, it would be nothing less than committing national suicide. Freedom and constitutionalism and republicanism would be like hempen clothes in winter or furs in the summer; it is not that they are not beautiful, they are just not suitable for us. We should not be bedazzled by empty glitter now; we should not yearn for beautiful dreams. To put it in a word, the Chinese of today can only be governed autocratically; they cannot enjoy freedom. I pray and yearn, I pray only that our country can have a Guanzi, a Shang Yang, a Lyucurgus, a Cromwell alive today to carry out harsh rule, and with iron and fire to forge and temper our countrymen for twenty, thirty, even fifty years. After that we can give them the books of Rousseau and tell them about the deeds of Washington…”

A few thoughts:

1) It’s now been almost 60 years of authoritarian rule, clearly Liang’s timetable was a bit off in terms of seeing the benefits of a strong state. So, what’s the new schedule? CCP ideology also called for a period of ‘tutelage,’ part of which was a stage of democratic centralization.* At this point should we completely forget about it: the CCP can scrub the whole ‘political tutelage’ part of its ideology and simply admit that it wants to rule unchallenged forever? Or is Liang’s optimism shared by others and progressive liberalization of the political system is a desirable course for both state and party? Will there be a day when Rousseau takes the place of Lenin as a political model?

2) Along those lines, I hear sentiments similar to Liang’s, both in today’s China and on this very site, to the effect of ‘most Chinese couldn’t handle western-style freedoms/political systems’ it would be ‘unsuitable because it might lead to chaos.’ And I’ve heard this in many places: from people in villages all the way up to professors at universities and businesspeople in Beijing. Here’s the kicker: No matter whom I talk to it’s always other people ‘who aren’t ready.’ Nobody says, “I’m the problem.” The professor blames the businessman, the businessman blames the peasants, the peasant blames his neighbor, the mingong blames her old uneducated uncle, the uncle blames his less-educated wife. But I’ve never heard anybody say, “Yeah, I’m an idiot and I can’t handle freedom. Please keep the Party ruling in perpetuity lest I pull a nutty.” Everybody’s afraid of chaos, but nobody thinks they would be the cause of the chaos.

3) If, as so many commenters here suggest, the CCP is doing such a fine job these days, better than the US government even, why not relax controls on speech, media, unblock the internet, etc. in China? What’s the downside? And I mean this as a sincere question: If CCP support is so widespread among Chinese (and Tibetans and Uighurs) inside and outside China, as some here have maintained, then the Party shouldn’t have anything to worry about, right? Some might argue, “well, they don’t want the debate because it would be divisive.” How would it be divisive if the Party is so universally acclaimed?

These are questions that I think about a lot. I’m not throwing any bombs here, I’m simply interested in learning the rationalization behind some of the rhetoric that I’ve heard and read, and hope to understand better the thought process. Finally, I am not advocating any one position, all I’m doing is looking for some perspective.


———————-
*A good example is from another class reading, this one by Mao Zedong, The Dictatorship of the People’s Democracy, published July 1, 1949: “The democratic system is to be carried out within the ranks of the people, giving them the freedom of speech, assembly, and association. The right to vote is given only to the people and not to the reactionaries….Q: ‘Don’t you want to eliminate state authority?’ Yes, but we do not want it at present, we cannot want it at present. Why? Because imperialism still exists, the domestic reactionaries still exist, and classes in the country still exist.”

Liang Qichao from Chinese Civilization: A Sourcebook, Patricia Ebrey, ed. (New York: The Free Press, 1993)
Mao Zedong from Sources of Chinese Tradition, Volume II, Wm. Theodore de Bary and Richard Lufrano, eds. (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 2000)

______________

Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 123 Comments

@Jeremiah,

Why do you think this is/has been the case? What’s the mechanism here? Break it down for me.

I’ll take a shot at this.

I think typically in any democratic developing nation, there are two primary contradictory forces in society. The wealthy elite who’ve already benefited from economic development, and the impoverished poor who’re stuck in the same cycle of poverty they’ve been in for generations.

And often, you end up with one of two extremes:

– a populist society in which forces for wealth creation are torn down to provide for populist measures. (Venezuela comes to mind, as does Marxist provinces in India and Mexico.)

– an elite-dominated society, in which only superficial measures are implemented on “behalf of the poor” (during campaign season), while both parties continue to maintain the money-making opportunities for the elite. (Brazil and Mexico come to mind.)

And even more often, you end up with a country that alternates between the two with little improvement.

Now, the authoritarian government in China has managed to offend both sides simultaneously:

… on behalf of the elite:
– it denies rural Chinese the right to migrate freely to urban cities, preserving a higher standard of living for the wealthy.

– for much of the previous two decades, it invested heavily in urban/coastal areas. (Better infrastructure, targeted tax incentives for foreign investment.)

… on behalf of the poor,
– it taxes the rich, while eliminating all taxes from the poor (no agricultural taxes, or income tax on anyone earning

I’ll take a shot at this.

I think typically in any democratic developing nation, there are two primary contradictory forces in society. The wealthy elite who’ve already benefited from economic development, and the impoverished poor who’re stuck in the same cycle of poverty they’ve been in for generations.

And often, you end up with one of two extremes:

– a populist society in which forces for wealth creation are torn down to provide for populist measures. (Venezuela comes to mind, as does Marxist provinces in India and Mexico.)

– an elite-dominated society, in which only superficial measures are implemented on “behalf of the poor” (during campaign season), while both parties continue to maintain the money-making opportunities for the elite. (Brazil and Mexico come to mind.)

And even more often, you end up with a country that alternates between the two with little improvement.

Now, the authoritarian government in China has managed to offend both sides simultaneously:

… on behalf of the elite:
– it denies rural Chinese the right to migrate freely to urban cities, preserving a higher standard of living for the wealthy.

– for much of the previous two decades, it invested heavily in urban/coastal areas. (Better infrastructure, targeted tax incentives for foreign investment.)

… on behalf of the poor,
– it taxes the rich, while eliminating all taxes from the poor (no agricultural taxes, or income tax on anyone earning < 1600 RMB per month). - it redistributes wealth from the coastal provinces to the central provinces. Infrastructure investments in Sichuan, Guangxi, Hunan, etc... have no hope of paying off from economic point of view for decades. But the campaign to "go West" was critical from the point of view of freeing the Western economy. There are other sink-holes that *democratic* developing nations tend to fall into. Racial and religious tension, for example, is a common issue. How many have died in India due to race/religion/caste-based violence over the past 10 years? This sort of nationalism is another form of populism that political parties in developing nations often find easy to appeal to. The same hasn't happened in China. Of course, some would point out that China is 91%+ Han Chinese, and suggest that therefore it's immune to such violence. On the ground, however, China isn't nearly as homogeneous. Minorities are often concentrated in specific regions. The Hui Muslims of western China fought brutally against the Qing empire for decades. Yet today, there are no Muslim nationalist parties, in part because there are no *Han* nationalist parties.

February 20, 2008 @ 1:38 am | Comment

@CCT:

I think you have come up with a few interesting things here. I think everybody would agree that a gradual opening of Chinese society is the way to go, rather than free elections tomorrow (which almost no one is asking for anyway). But let me respond to a point you made.

permit the open collection and reporting of news by all registered journalists; arrest and prosecute local officials that obstruct the process.

I couldn’t agree more.

Journalists found to report inaccurately must face legal sanction.

There is not a chance that a relatively free press would develop under such a threat, especially if you imagine a criminal process for such a sanction. Libel is one thing, the idea of “inaccurate reporting” opens the door for all kinds of arbitrary controls.

Also: Do we know for a fact that there is little or no bloody ethnic violence in China? Or does the lack of reporting especially from Xinjiang give the impression that things are peaceful?

February 20, 2008 @ 4:28 am | Comment

@Amban,

Unfortunately, I can’t agree with you by any means that “everybody” agrees a gradual opening of Chinese society is the way to go. There’s a long list of people who feel otherwise.

And even those who agree on the term “gradual” may have very different definitions of what that term means.

As far as racial tensions… I was referring to the Hui Muslims of areas like Ningxia and Gansu, not Xinjiang. The largest uprisings of the 19th century were from the Hui in those areas. There are far more Hui in China than Turkic-Uighurs in Xinjiang.

As far as the existence of ethnic violence in the area, I’d never state that there is “no” ethnic violence. But I do believe what violence there is very limited in scope, compared to the possibilities. Despite what you insinuate, there isn’t a lack of reporting from Xinjiang by any means in both the domestic and international press.

As far as definitions of “inaccurate reporting”, obviously the term has to be defined legally. I’d expect Chinese definitions of the term to be broader than the American legal standard, however.

The United States only allows criminal sanctions for defamation targeted at an identifiable person or entity; I personally think there should be criminal sanctions for false reporting that hurts the public interest, regardless of whether any identifiable individual was identified.

If a journalist in the United States manufacturers a story about being assaulted by government officials, there are no legal sanctions possible. At worst, he may be fired by his employer. In China, I’m of the opinion the journalist should still face legal prosecution: if they knowingly publish false facts that potentially damages the interests of “the people”, they have to pay a price.

I further believe journalists should be prosecuted for being criminally *negligent* in their reporting. That is, not making an attempt to confirm the stories presented by individual sources. (The AP requires all of their stories to be double-sourced, I believe.)

February 20, 2008 @ 6:20 am | Comment

@CCT

Your ideas about restraining journalists for negligence look nice on paper, but would be wide open for government abuse. You seem to think that there is an objective standard of truth against which we can decide whether journalists have been “criminally negligent” or not, but that is very difficult to establish in practice. The very point of having a constitution is to protect the people against their government, not to charge the people with coming up with real or perceived falsehoods against the government.

February 20, 2008 @ 6:33 am | Comment

CCT,

You are a stitch. We have great fun with your stuff at work here in Beijing. (BTW: You should come back to live in China some time, you’d love it here.)

1. You argued: “Yet today, there are no Muslim nationalist parties, in part because there are no *Han* nationalist parties.” Do you really think that’s the reason why Muslims are not allowed to organize independent political parties? I Is it possible that on this point you’re being either naive or disingenuous?

2. But we do agree that a truly independent juduiciary and allowing the media the freedom to reporters (though by giving the government the right to ‘register’ journalists, that would certainly be a two steps forward, two steps back sort of measure, but I like the spirit.) Why not institute these things? What’s the downside for the CCP? Surely such a beloved and effective party would have nothing to worry about. Or do they take the indefensible position of denying liberalization ‘just because they can’?

3. China’s not ready for democracy, but are you? Or do you still need some more time and education before you could be entrusted with the franchise? If the CCP were to allow greater political freedoms, could you handle it? Are you ready to tell one of your fellow citizens, to their face, that you are ready, but they’re not?

February 20, 2008 @ 6:35 am | Comment

“Of course, some would point out that China is 91%+ Han Chinese, and suggest that therefore it’s immune to such violence. On the ground, however, China isn’t nearly as homogeneous.” CCT

This is not a challenge but rather a question to CCT, Jeremiah and Amban. I came across this article last week and CCT’s comment above reminded me of it.

Former Governor of Colorado Governor Richard D. Lamm in his “8 steps to destroy America” says:
“The historical scholar Seymour Lipset put it this way: ‘The histories of bilingual and bi-cultural societies that do not assimilate are histories of turmoil, tension, and tragedy.’ Canada, Belgium, Malaysia, Lebanon all face crises of national existence in which minorities press for autonomy, if not independence. Pakistan and Cyprus have divided. Nigeria suppressed an ethnic rebellion. France faces difficulties with Basques, Bretons, and Corsicans. Arnold Toynbee observed that all great civilizations rise and fall and that ‘An autopsy of history would show that all great nations commit suicide.'”

“Here is how they do it,” Lamm said: (First step) ;”Turn America into a bilingual or multi-lingual and bi-cultural country. History shows that no nation can survive the tension, conflict, and antagonism of two or more competing languages and cultures. It is a blessing for an individual to be bilingual; however, it is a curse for a society to be bilingual.

Steps 2-8:
http://www.rense.com/general62/destroy.htm

What do you all think?

February 20, 2008 @ 8:10 am | Comment

@ferin:

Let’s see what happens to those cadres who wrote that letter. Remember, the PLA is the absolute power behind the CCP and they don’t like reform. Neither does much of the CCP. If the “netizen” party can survive past the Olympics, there might be hope.

@youguys:

Bilingual countries can’t be successful? Germany, France, Hong Kong, Canada.

February 20, 2008 @ 8:36 am | Comment

@Jeremiah,

Glad I could be entertaining.

I spend a significant amount of time in China every year, even though my work keeps me from doing so more regularly. I own a home in Shenzhen, although most of my family remains in Nanjing as I stated previously.

When I spoke of Muslim nationalist parties, I was thinking more of parties with a lower-case P, not an upper-case political Party. There’s no NAACP advocating for affirmative action; the Chinese government already grants it. There’s also no equivalent white supremacist group calling for the end of action that discriminates against the Han.

But we do agree that a truly independent juduiciary and allowing the media the freedom to reporters (though by giving the government the right to ‘register’ journalists, that would certainly be a two steps forward, two steps back sort of measure, but I like the spirit.) Why not institute these things?

First off, while I understand and appreciate the government’s role on many of these issues, it doesn’t mean we agree on every single point. On the order of speed of implementation, we have drastically different views of what’s “safe speed” for reform.

But that shouldn’t be surprising… my greatest responsibility is making sure I put a diaper on my baby daughter the right way forward, while the Communist Party has *one chance* to run a country of 1.3 billion mostly poor Chinese.

Now, to answer your question… It’s not a question of downside. It’s purely because these things can’t be implemented by the wave of a magical wand.

The government has been railing on the concept of rule by law for years; how do you implement this more effectively when half of the judges in China don’t have university degrees? Do you announce universally tomorrow that county-level judge Chen now has precedence over county-level party secretary Zhang? Does that effectively end corruption, or just increase it?

You can at least detain party secretary Zhang and keep him in a hotel room indefinitely until he talks about his involvement with corruption, because the Party charter allows for it. What can you do with judge Chen? Allow a higher level judge to sit through an exhaustive examination of his corruption? Under what legal statutes? What’s the procedure for the judge’s removal from office, and how do you keep *that* procedure from becoming corrupt?

The legal system is an ecosystem, and all pieces have to remain in place. China has bits and pieces of it, but it takes decades to clean up the corrupt filth that sits in place.

Now, onto journalism. I’m sure you’re aware of the case of Lan Chengzhang. Here’s the case of a reporter that basically bought a badge (with absolutely no intention of actually writing any articles), with the sole purpose of blackmailing coal miners. And don’t get me started on the huge volumes of manufactured stories out there.

How do you combine the existence of that in society that with a free and unfettered press?

Note that governments have added information offices at a furious rate; none of even the national ministries held press conferences 4-5 years ago… and now even local districts have multiple information offices ready to respond to the media immediately. The media has greater latitude than ever in covering the vast majority of social issues, ranging from the South China Tiger to local corruption. I see this as a huge step in the right direction.

On these two issues, I hold two different opinions. On the legal issue, I believe the Communist Party is headed in the right direction, and with time will implement the necessary reforms. On the journalism issue, I’m less optimistic on the short-term. I think the Communist Party doesn’t have enough trust yet in the institution of a free press, but I do agree with the statement that a free press is the only antidote to institutionalized corruption.

Fundamentally though, I don’t believe deep social and political reforms *can* happen overnight. Checks and balances can’t be legislated; they must grow in slow, gradual steps. The United States didn’t free the slaves for 90+ years after independence, and didn’t protect the right to vote for black citizens for another 100 years after that. Why? Was every president or government until the Kennedy administration secretly racist and intent on oppressing the minorities?

> 3. China’s not ready for democracy, but are you?

No, to be perfectly candid, I don’t think I’m ready for democracy. I don’t know enough about the Chinese who aren’t me. I don’t know enough about rural needs to know what the proper priorities are for spending. I don’t trust the papers to give me full details about the platforms, nor do I have the time to invest in properly studying and balancing all of these issues.

I don’t trust candidates to tell me the truth behind their campaign platforms. I simply can’t distinguish between a well-paid actor pretending to a politician, and a true statesman.

I want a government that’s transparent, accountable, responsible, and good. I want a judicial system that’s independent and has teeth. I don’t see a way towards achieving any of those things, beyond continuing the slow march forward we’re currently on.

February 20, 2008 @ 8:47 am | Comment

Decision making in China

One way to understand the Chinese government is to figure out the decision making process there. Who propose policies? Where do they learn their lessons? And how are policies enforced?

In China intellectuals are lobbyists. They study economic and political policies of other countries and make proposals to the government. The universities and think tanks in Beijing and Shanghai dominate the decision making process.

Once government policies are formulated, the authoritarian government with deep popular support is able to put them in practice.

The Chinese academics regularly visit Hong Kong and Taiwan and learn lessens from these places.
The consensus among these people is that Hong Kong has an effective government while Taiwan has a dysfunctional one. Hong Kong government officials practice free market economy faithfully, while the Taiwanese politicians, particularly the ones from DPP, are only interested in identity politics for their self interest .

They do see good things in Taiwan, such as its IT industry. But the government is not one of them.
They see the weaker infrastructure in Taiwan compared
to Hong Kong, witnessed by the large number of noisy, dangerous and polluting scooters.

With their personal experience in Hong Kong and Taiwan, the intellectuals see no reason to introduce full democracy in China.

February 20, 2008 @ 8:55 am | Comment

@youguys,

I think having different cultures in contact is definitely a constant source of friction. But I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion that multi-cultural nations are destined to fail.

Note that I see a similarity here to the Marxist theory that different economic classes were destined to be political enemies. To a certain degree, this is true, but it should be obvious by this point in human history that conflicts between different economic classes can be moderated and softened. Various socialist policies in Europe prove this point.

I think multi-cultural states have to be treated with the same degree of care. You have to stay away from forced assimilation, but you do need to mandate *some* form of shared identity.

In the United States, as long as people still take pride in calling themselves hyphenated Americans, the balance is probably doing fine. But missteps in American domestic and foreign policy *can* change this quickly.

February 20, 2008 @ 8:57 am | Comment

@Amban,

The very point of having a constitution is to protect the people against their government, not to charge the people with coming up with real or perceived falsehoods against the government.

Which, in and of itself, is a very European concept (see Rousseau, Locke). And by this concept, a failed Haitian government is superior to a functioning (but oppressive) Chinese government.

I don’t think by any means that the average Chinese will understand your point of view here. Not because the Chinese are brain-washed, but because we fundamentally have different views on the role of government, and its social contract with society.

February 20, 2008 @ 9:01 am | Comment

CCT

A number of flawed arguments here.

Which, in and of itself, is a very European concept (see Rousseau, Locke). And by this concept, a failed Haitian government is superior to a functioning (but oppressive) Chinese government.

Two logical fallacies here: First, you discredit my argument by calling it a “European concept,” as if that was something wrong by itself. That is called “begging the question.”

Second, your comparison between the failed, but constitutional, Haitian government and the functional but oppressive Chinese government is what we would call a “false dilemma”, another logical fallacy.

I don’t think by any means that the average Chinese will understand your point of view here. Not because the Chinese are brain-washed, but because we fundamentally have different views on the role of government, and its social contract with society.

And here we have a tautology, which is based on an unprovable assumption. “We Chinese are different, because we are different”.

February 20, 2008 @ 9:45 am | Comment

@amban

A friend of logic like me.

@CCT
I find his/her(?) propositions interesting. But I found more interesting the difference in thinking and opinion. With respect western mindset. Help better to understand each other side.

@everybody
That was one of the reason of my barrage of posts.
Try to engage to exchange ideas, instead of throwing them to each other.
And by the post I have read so far I am satisfied.
It have been interesting. Thanks to everybody

February 20, 2008 @ 3:47 pm | Comment

@Jeremiah

“CCT,

You are a stitch. We have great fun with your stuff at work here in Beijing. (BTW: You should come back to live in China some time, you’d love it here.) ”

Let me guess: like certain other commenters, CCT is actually residing in the evil US of A, enjoying all the rights and freedoms, he argues Chinese people (excluding himself) are not ready for.

February 20, 2008 @ 8:02 pm | Comment

@nanheyangrouchuan

“Bilingual countries can’t be successful? Germany, France, Hong Kong, Canada.”

And, above all, Switzerland.

February 20, 2008 @ 8:05 pm | Comment

What do you all think?

It depends on how it’s done. Working classes do not like multiculturalism and yes it is a constant source of friction.

February 20, 2008 @ 9:49 pm | Comment

Amban, you continue to approach this like a debate team exercise. You would benefit from ceasing your exercise of categorizing what I say, and instead try to digest it as one person speaking to another.

You earlier made a comment which speaks clearly to your mindset, that constitutions are meant to constrain government from violating the rights of man, and that you take this as a self-evident truth. The fact is, this perspective isn’t necessarily universal.

Don’t you realize that this perspective, crystallized by the actions of the Founding Fathers, is inspired primarily by the philosophies of 16th-18th century philosophers (including Hobbes, Locke) exclusively from Europe? (And if we trace back even further, all of the intellectual traditions you take for granted about the nature of man are descended from the Old + New Testament, as well as the work of Plato and Socrates?)

My intent isn’t to suggest these philosophies are false simply because they’re European. (Nationalism, Marxism, Leninism all originate from Europe as well.) My intent is to broaden your horizons and point out that there’s a 2500+ year intellectual heritage in east Asia which stands totally independent of these European thoughts.

It is NOT at all a self-evident truth in this intellectual tradition that “all man are created equal”, that man is “endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights”, that the best government is a limited government, and that there exists a social contract between government and society.

@mor, I do indeed reside at least part of every year in the United States, as my work demands it of me. I see cross-border residence as one of the inevitable side-effects of a globalized economy.

Are you also confused by the fact that Jeremiah (and certain other commentators), while defending democracy, still chooses to live in authoritarian China?

[Note – I deleted the first paragraph of this comment, as it makes a personal reference that I respectfully ask CCT not to make again. This is not negotiable or open to discussion – simply desist from this type of reference altogether. You know what I mean and I appreciate your understanding. Thanks a lot. Richard]

February 21, 2008 @ 12:21 am | Comment

You would benefit from ceasing your exercise of categorizing what I say, and instead try to digest it as one person speaking to another.

The same to you. As the debates have been going back and forth, you have refused to comment or respond to parts of my posts that seem to make you uncomfortable. I’m thinking of how we should deal with the huge political luggage of the CCP and what that means for the the future of China. You have dismissed most of these questions as mere history (while using 2500 years of Chinese history as a cudgel in another context), but these are serious issues that will have to be dealt with somehow. The failure of the PRC government to deal with these issues undermine the credibility of the regime both domestically and internationally, which will have consequences for the political stability of China in the long term. You ignore this at your own peril.

You keep arguing as if there was only one constitution in the world that mattered, the US constitution, and that any statement about the viability that constitutional tradition either validates or invalidates ideas like human rights and constitutional government. You are the one who is bringing up the US constitution, not me. Reformers like Liang Qichao, Hu Shi or Chen Duxiu knew better than that.

Constitutional thought is and has always been a global discourse, and the intellectual traditions of both Western and non-Western countries have had a tremendous influence on each other. China is part of that history and Chinese people have made important contributions to that history. If we limit ourselves to the US for the sake of argument, when US born Chinese like Kim Wong Ark were discriminated against in the US in the nineteenth century, they invoked the US constitution to argue for equal treatment. Every Chinese constitution since 1912 has talked about rights and liberties. Two of the drafters of the declaration of human rights in 1940 were Chinese, and they did not raise any substantive objections to the idea of human rights.

China has 2 500 years of political thought that does matter, but the Chinese intellectual tradition is not unchanging and it is a gross simplification to say that it has developed in isolation to the rest of the world. And if you had any knowledge about Confucianism, you would know that it is a doctrine that promotes a limited government, not the opposite. Not that Confucianism is identical with liberal constitutional thought, but if you want to identify progressive ideas in the Chinese intellectual traditions you can find them. The question is why educated young Chinese like you are less interested in that than your predecessors in the 1920s and 1930s.

February 21, 2008 @ 2:09 am | Comment

@CCT

“Are you also confused by the fact that Jeremiah (and certain other commentators), while defending democracy, still chooses to live in authoritarian China?”

I’m not confused at all, neither by people like Jeremiah who decide to live in a country they like IN SPITE OF the authoritarian regime which belongs to those things they hope will change eventually, nor am I confused by people like you who live a privileged life and enjoy rights and freedoms they think other people are not ready for. It’s just human.

February 21, 2008 @ 3:49 am | Comment

@mor,

Well, glad you already have the answers. ÖÇÕß¼ûÖÇ£¬ÈÊÕß¼ûÈÊ.

February 21, 2008 @ 3:57 am | Comment

@CCT

“Well, glad you already have the answers. ���߼��ǣ����߼���.”

What’s that supposed to mean?

February 21, 2008 @ 7:37 pm | Comment

China has 2 500 years of political thought that does matter, but the Chinese intellectual tradition is not unchanging and it is a gross simplification to say that it has developed in isolation to the rest of the world. And if you had any knowledge about Confucianism, you would know that it is a doctrine that promotes a limited government, not the opposite. Not that Confucianism is identical with liberal constitutional thought, but if you want to identify progressive ideas in the Chinese intellectual traditions you can find them. The question is why educated young Chinese like you are less interested in that than your predecessors in the 1920s and 1930s.

Great comment.

February 22, 2008 @ 7:07 am | Comment

Nausicaa,

I second you: Amban, very good point.

I might suggest going a little further back, though. Perhaps the most notable example of mining the Confucian tradition in support of constitutional reforms was Kang Youwei in the 1890s who was, to bring this thread close to full circle, the teacher and mentor of our friend Liang Qichao, who kicked off this discussion. Both are well worth reading about in depth if you’re interested in these sorts of arguments.

And on that note, it’s probably time to close this thread and move on to other topics.

Thanks everybody for your contributions to this discussion.

February 22, 2008 @ 8:44 am | Comment

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