I saw two interesting articles in the August 2011 issue of Popular Tribune 群言 a magazine from the satellite parties under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. This is the first time I read this magazine, so I can’t be sure, but the articles may reflect more willingness to speak out. The article on democracy calls for a mechanism 机制 that will effectively protect democratic rights. I suppose calling for an effective mechanism instead of an effective system 体制 (the way it is described, it sounds more like a system) is safer.
1. Article summary: August 2011 Popular Tribune 群言. China has signs and banners everywhere talking about creating blessings for the people. This is wrong. Government should aim to serve; the people can decide for themselves what “blessings” mean. Officials often say that they aim to “serve the people” and no matter if the issue the people are concerned about is very small. But they often don’t mean it. Hu Jintao in his July 1 speech used the word “the people” 136 times and said that Communist Party members were sometimes “morally lazy, inadequately competent, distant from the masses, and passively corrupt”. If this continues, how can they win the trust of the people and accomplish anything? The fate of the Party and the PRC state will depend upon whether they win the hearts of the people.
2. The August 2011 Popular Tribune 群言article entitled “Acting as Master on Behalf of the People and Allowing the People to be the Master” . Summary: For many officials of the governing party, democracy means “Acting as master on behalf of the people” . To many Chinese, democracy means “honest officials” rule on behalf of the people. However, true democracy means allowing the people to be the masters — that is popular sovereignty, the people deciding, and the people leading the officials. The traditional concept of democracy as the people serving the officials is feudal and gets things backwards! The officials should be the servants of the people. The way to allow the people to be the masters is to establish an effective mechanism that protects the rights of the people to information, to elect officials, to exercise oversight over official activities, to express themselves and to ensure that the rights of the people shall not be trampled upon. The old ways of thinking that predominate today must change. Today officials pay most of their attention to the officials above them. This must change to a system in which they pay attention to the people “below” and the will of the people will determine whether an official is retained or fired.