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Why Chinese People Don't Feel Oppressed By Their Authoritative Regime?   

One of the top stories from my Quora feed is a question regarding “why a lot of Chinese people don’t feel oppressed by their regime“, and this topic generates many interesting answers through Quora.  Here in the West, our heart is with democracy, because it’s the idea that we have been taught and inspired by since childhood.  In practice, true democracy probably isn’t really existed.  In the West, we practice partial democracy, because our system makes it hard for true democracy to flourish.  Otherwise, we would have seen hundreds if not thousands of major political parties that compete for governmental power.  Instead of such a thing, we have two major political parties in the United States (i.e., the Democrats and the Republicans).  Elsewhere in the West, few major political parties would hold the key to governmental positions.  If we really practice true democracy, the system would be way more complex and chaotic.  The competition for governmental positions would be way more competitive, and ideals would be constantly conflicting with each other to create political gridlock of sorts.  Thus, partial democracy is in practice instead.  Freedom of speech, press, and so on would still be considered the core elements that support the partial democracy foundation.  In the East such as in China though, we have seen Chinese people practice a political system that we in the West think of as an authoritative regime.

Why Chinese people don’t feel oppressed by their regime?  This question is very interesting because as China rises the West is wearily trying to understand China more. China is just going to get more powerful, and so the West is concentrating on how to prepare when facing an even more powerful China in the near future.  China isn’t practicing partial democracy, because there is only one political party in China — yet China is still prospering.  Basically, nothing is written in stone in which to set the requirements for partial democracy to be the only path to have a successful political structure.  It seems China is an authoritative regime that listens to people’s wishes and dreams.  Although the Chinese government is hell-bending on stopping any sort of controversial political views from average and non-average citizens alike, the regime in China does strive to improve everyday people’s lives by nurturing a stable job market, a healthy economy, youthful innovative research and development institutions and environment, and so forth.  Meanwhile, China’s one-party system is trying to weed out corruption from within the political party and elsewhere in China.

The Chinese youngsters — who are born after the major upheavals (e.g., Tiananmen Square protest of 1989, cultural revolution during Mao Zedong’s day, etc…) — do not have any experience in hardship as how their parents had experienced before, but they have been taught of how their parents were suffering from the chaoses that occurred in China.  Their parents speak of extreme hunger during Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward movement, because their parents remembered the Great Famine which caused an untold amount of deaths that were caused to hunger and extreme poverty during those days.  Chinese youngsters can also look at so-called democracy states elsewhere around the world that are doing poorly in providing jobs, wealth, and happy life for the citizens, so they can appreciate that their Chinese government is doing something right which allows them to prosper.  For example, Chinese youngsters would look at India as a poor, chaotic largest democratic state in the world.  In Africa, Chinese youngsters see how democracy does not put food on average citizens’ kitchen tables.  Chinese youngsters may dislike their strict government, but they do not yet mind being disciplined by a strict government as long the Chinese government is doing the right things for the people.

In summary, I think the phrase “people rule” is quite powerful and real, because no matter the political system would be, what matters most is the people within such a system.  Although the system does rule the people, it’s the people who are feeding the system.  Without the right people that can intelligently upkeep the system, the system would get corrupted and rotted from the core, and this is when it’s hostile to their own people.  As the people within the system feel uncomfortable and unbreathable, it’s when the people are going to overthrow such a system.  The common sense and fundamentals of decency can be locked away for some time, but it doesn’t mean the unjustness can go on forever.  I think, as long as a governmental system in the West or in the East is doing the right things for its people, the system can thrive for quite some time.  This is why I don’t think we should be surprised to see the Chinese people are proud of their government because the Chinese are prospering under their current regime.  (I once heard a phrase that speaks of how the Chinese don’t love their government, but they do respect their government.)

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Vinh Nguyen

"Rinse, repeat, born again, a clean slate advantage, but one needs to relearn everything again! Such a case relies on true, noble historians."

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