Distribution of democracy is feasible
The Beijing News: According to the media reports, Bhutanese are not so eager for democracy. Many can't understand the king's reform, some have even cried. In this situation, do you think it would be all right if the government just distributed democracy and forced it into effect? Is there any problem with it?
Wang Zhanyang: It's impossible to distribute democracy unconditionally. The basis of democracy is the development of civilization. Therefore, democracy could not have been realized during Medieval Times. Successful examples are post World War II Japan and West Germany: the allied forces distributed democracy to them successfully. Bhutan's per capita GDP has reached US$1,400, twice as much as India's. That is one basic condition for the successful distribution of democracy.
The Beijing News
: To realize democracy, citizens need high literacy. But, there are neither mature voters, nor mature political parties in Bhutan, and its media industry is really not completely free. Is it possible to carry out a democratic election?
Sun Shihai: I don’t think we should attach great importance to the literacy rate. There were many illiterates in India when it began to democratize. Even today, there are still many, but this doesn’t influence the process of democracy. We can cultivate democratic consciousness gradually.
Wang Zhanyang: Different levels of democracy require different kinds of citizens. Naturally, high democracy needs citizens of high quality. However, basic democracy doesn't follow this rule. If people have some basic democratic consciousness, primary elections and democratic politics can be implemented. These primary conditions are possibly formed spontaneously in the course of history, or they sprout in the primary democratic practices. What Bhutan is doing now is just the latter one.
The Beijing News: You mean that we don't have to wait until everything is prepared – you can start up an abstract system before everything is in place?
Wang Zhanyang: Yes. If you want to learn to swim, you have to jump into the water. If you never implement a democratic system, there will never be any mature democratic factors. For instance, there will be no mature voters if they don't vote and elect at all. Primary democratic factors should be prepared before the election, but mature democratic factors can only be obtained via the construction and implementation of a democratic system. It's a general law of the democratic politics.