Democracy, The Most Dangerous Religion
Part 8 – China’s Democracy Experiments
By Larry Romanoff, November 09, 2022
I have written earlier that the multi-party electoral system (“democracy”) is the only form of government designed to be controlled by outsiders, naturally leaving it open to corruption and fraud. The Chinese, listening to the Americans, discovered all the proof of this in their own back yard. China has experimented with small-scale introductions of Western-style democratic elections for local officials in rural areas.
We are often told that “first impressions” are the most important, that on initially meeting a person or entering a new situation, we see it most clearly at that first introduction. With the passage of time, our perceptions become clouded and dimmed by extraneous factors and our focus scattered by irrelevancies. On the introduction of “democracy” to the Chinese, they saw it very clearly as it really was – a system for obtaining political power that was just begging to be manipulated. In fact, it was seen as the very purpose of such a system and to have been designed precisely for such a purpose. And it was.
In early 2014, in Changsha, China’s nursery of democracy and many other imaginative crimes, there was a massive vote-buying scandal where almost 60 individuals were charged for electoral fraud, dereliction of duty, disrupting elections, buying votes, bribery and related corruption, involving more than 500 lawmakers and various local party officials who were disqualified and relieved of their posts, their crimes involving many thousands of citizens and more than 100 million yuan in bribes. And this was only one case of many.
In North China’s Hebei province, one town had two failed elections within a month, corrupted by vote-buying with twice as many votes as eligible voters, stolen ballot boxes and much other electoral fraud. Many towns and villages introduced multi-party elections in the late 1980s, with many experiencing similar problems. In September of 2016, there was a massive election-Rigging Scandal in Liaoning, with more than 500 people paying bribes to get friends elected. China’s National People’s Congress expelled 45 lawmakers, nearly half the number elected from Liaoning, because of bribery and election fraud. In addition, more than 500 lawmakers were dismissed or resigned from the 619-member Liaoning People’s Congress, and several people were arrested.
I was surprised that anyone was surprised. That’s democracy. That’s how it works. It was designed to be wide open to corruption. In the West, we have more experience so we do it more quietly and in different ways, but the result is the same. Wherever money can buy legislative power, all open systems will become corrupted.
The Chinese saw “democracy” as it really was – a way to obtain control of a government by collecting votes. The easiest way to collect votes is to buy them, and there isn’t even any morality here. Before moralising about the Chinese, consider that if it’s okay for AIPAC and corporations to buy politicians, why isn’t it okay for politicians to buy voters? The next easiest way (if you’re willing to be a bit dishonest) is to print excess ballots and stuff the ballot boxes. And let’s not forget that stuffing ballot boxes was a tradition in the US and Canada 200 years ago.
But again, with this “new” political system, we are being offered full control of the government of a city, by the simple expedient of having people vote for us. There is no other requirement, and anyone can do it. It’s obvious that someone with money and ambition will rise to this challenge and find a way, honest or otherwise, to get those votes.
These are serious issues in China because increasingly the king-makers in the background will be foreigners. Jews, US Consulate staff, members of the US State Department, Embassy officials who are CIA but disguised as diplomats, the NED, USAID, AmCham and dozens of American NGOs, are all spending money and working in the background to influence government in China. That’s the truth, and if it’s apparent to me it should be obvious to many others. Their success in Hong Kong is stunning; the Americans have obtained enormous influence on the political landscape in Hong Kong and are so clever and experienced that the hundreds of thousands of little Hong Kong puppets cannot even see the strings. And they have every intention of doing the same in Mainland China.
But these examples were nothing compared to what happened at the Chunhui Primary School in Zhengzhou, where 1,700 small children learned lessons about “democracy” that they will unfortunately never forget. These students used to have a “backward, old-fashioned, traditional, Chinese-style” system of choosing student leaders where the selection was based on silly things like scholastic merit and the recommendations of teachers as to character. But, thanks to American pressure, they “altered their tradition” and instead turned to modern, Western-style “democracy”.
And how did that work? Well, one student (with a very poor academic record) was chosen as a leader because he was “good at basketball” and was “friendly”. And how did they get themselves elected? Well, they learned to conduct democratic election campaigns, just like all Westerners. According to media reports, “Some played the saxophone, some danced, and some showed off their calligraphy or painting skills, played traditional Chinese musical instruments as a way of impressing voters.” One mother was so eager to make her little kid a king that she printed more than 1,000 pretty little blue election cards with his name, asking everyone to vote for him.
The Headmaster of the school, Hu Jianling, said the program aimed to encourage students to “bravely express their ideas” and to “participate in the school’s management”. In the opinion of the school, these student leaders proved Hu’s plan “effective and perhaps even beneficial”.
Let’s examine what really happened here. I have no wish to embarrass Mr. Hu, who I am sure is a fine gentleman with good intentions, but what kind of devil possessed this man that he thought it was a good idea to get 1,700 10-year-old kids to “bravely participate in the school’s management”? What the hell does he think a school is? In this one experiment in this one school, we can see all the pathetic flaws of Western democracy, flaws apparently invisible to the teachers, the parents and especially to the students who have learned a corrupt lesson in living that they will probably never forget. If you want to corrupt the population, it is always best to begin with the children, because that will make the corruption permanent.
First, what was the purpose of these elections? It should be to select the most competent person for a job that carries responsibilities to the students, but nowhere in any of this little kindergarten travesty was there even a mention of competency or responsibility. None. These little politicians just wanted to be elected because they wanted to be elected, not because they had any ability or wanted to accomplish anything useful for their schoolmates. There were no students who campaigned to eliminate excessive homework or to have cleaner washrooms or more after-school tutoring. They just wanted to be leaders and to have the accompanying power and prestige, with not a thought to any obligation involved.
Even worse, how did these little politicians campaign? How did they conduct themselves to convince their electorate to vote for them? Well, they “leveraged their personal popularity”” from good looks or sports ability, or their father’s money for buying pretty dresses and nice bicycles. They “leveraged their entertainment ability” by playing the saxophone or other instruments. They “leveraged their painting and calligraphy skills”, and they no doubt found many inventive 10-year-old ways to run around the school begging for votes. How wonderful. The mother who paid to print the cute little blue cards for her kid to pass out will next time have a 5-yuan note attached to them. Those little kids learned that the only real qualification for becoming a leader and taking power is a talent for psychological manipulation, that credentials are ignored in obtaining votes.
Are these the primary ingredients of a good leader? Is this how China chooses its General Secretary and Politburo members? Do they sit in Tiananmen Square and play a saxophone or a guitar, or paint caricature portraits of tourists? This is how the Americans select their leaders, but why teach this to Chinese children as an ideal?
But this was only the first attempt and our little politicians had no experience on which to draw. They will do much better the next time. They will quickly learn that you can buy votes, and will begin raising small amounts of money to give out more than cute blue cards to anyone who promises to vote for them. They will learn that you can attract votes by making promises – not by keeping them, but by making them. So, they will promise to reduce homework, with no idea of how to do that and with the knowledge that they have no power to accomplish such a result in any case. But they will promise, at least to try.
They will learn they have the power to grant gifts of patronage, and will promise to place popular voters on committees, with the expectation these individuals will help to sway other voters. They will promise to work for easier marking standards, better school lunches, and many other things that the smart candidates will know are fundamental issues for all students. They will learn to read the wishes of the student body and to turn those desires into votes and personal power. They will quickly learn to become real politicians. In short, they will learn to lie and manipulate.
They already know that a school year is a long time and that kids have short memories; they intuitively know they won’t be held accountable for failing to deliver, and they also know there is no accountability anyway, that after they are elected, nobody can do anything to them. If there were personal responsibility, there would be no candidates.
And it gets worse. In all segments of society, including elementary schools, there are always ‘king-makers’ lurking in the background, those who don’t want to be in the light but who prefer to sit in the shadows and pull the strings. These are the clever ones who amass the real power and who intuitively understand how to control events to their ultimate satisfaction regardless of the wishes of the greater group. These are the dangerous ones; they are too clever by half, and are naturally manipulative. Often, they have a mother who is of like mind and character, providing all the guidance necessary. The first thing they learn is that the power lies in the nominations, not in the voting.
And now we naturally enter the field of multi-party politics where we have two or three king-makers, each with a following, each selecting a likely candidate who will be obedient and controllable, and will say, “I can make you the leader. Would you like that?” And off we go, each king-maker (and his mother) designing a platform of campaign promises guaranteed to attract naive, innocent and inexperienced little voters.
This is where it will lead, and there is nothing the school or the teachers can do to prevent it. Why? Because the original premise, however nicely-worded, is false, flawed, and almost criminal. The purpose of this selection process should be to choose the best leaders for the school, mature, responsible little people of good character who can set an example for the other kids, who care about the welfare of their school-mates and who will genuinely use their power to improve the school’s environment. But we have discarded that objective and instead created a purposeless popularity contest that is wide open to every kind of social pressure and corruption. We are not selecting our leaders on their ability or their character or their sense of responsibility, but instead on their personal marketing ability – on their skills to influence and manipulate others to vote for them, honestly or otherwise.
In all of this, where is the discussion of credentials, of qualifications for a position of responsibility? Totally absent. In fact, the prior system of teacher character recommendations and scholastic excellence – in other words, credentials – which was a perfect system, was specifically abandoned so these idiotic yuppies could emulate the Americans and accommodate their foolish version of “democracy”.
There is no evidence that any of these little candidates had any leadership skills, good academic records, a sound character, or indeed any understanding whatever of the needs and wishes of either the students or the teachers. None would be old enough to have any appreciation of the meaning of participating in the management of the school. None will be selected on any of the necessary attributes of a leader. Few if any will have any real qualifications for a leadership position, and none will understand the responsibility they are accepting. They are little kids.
And what of the students who vote? What will they consider in casting their votes for a student leader? The ability to play a saxophone? Mama’s pretty blue cards? Few if any will have an appreciation of their responsibility, few will know how to choose wisely, and none will have the ability to properly evaluate a (more or less) unknown person for a job whose duties they do not understand. My congratulations. Welcome to American-style politics, the one thing China was fortunate to not have.
But this is precisely what China now has in its rural areas with the introduction of Western-style democratic elections for local officials. These are much more serious because the participants are adults, the decisions affect real lives, and because too often the king-makers in the background are almost all American and Jewish.
Mr. Romanoff’s writing has been translated into 32 languages and his articles posted on more than 150 foreign-language news and politics websites in more than 30 countries, as well as more than 100 English language platforms. Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He is one of the contributing authors to Cynthia McKinney’s new anthology ‘When China Sneezes’. (Chapt. 2 — Dealing with Demons).
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Copyright © Larry Romanoff, Blue Moon of Shanghai, Moon of Shanghai, 2022