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Democracy in China

Regarding the letter about "Democracy in China." In China, representatives are elected, and even though I am a foreigner I have voted in local elections because I am permanent resident in Fujian.  In fact, last fall I got enough signatures for a petition to put my own preferred candidate on the ballots.
While some offices are appointed, the same is true in so-called democratic countries as well. For example, each new American president cleans house, firing his predecessor's staff and appointing new cabinet members whose qualifications are little more than that they helped the president get elected. 
The longer I am in China (and I've been in Taiwan and Xiamen over 17 years now), the more I appreciate that though China's government may be different than those espoused in the West, it is not necessarily any less democratic--and certainly much more democratic than that found in dictatorships that are supported (and sometimes installed) by the U.S. Why would the champion of democracy support totalitarian regimes? Reagan answered this question with, "Sometimes democracy is not suitable for rapid economic growth."
While some feel the West is the bastion of democracy, and China lacks such freedom, in truth the situation is not so black and white--especially when an American citizen like myself can vote in Chinese elections!

Dr. William N. Brown

(China.org.cn January 19, 2004)


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