The electoral process is underway right now in CHINA. Like in the USA there is one party with different wings. Unlike in the USA, they admit that up front.
The 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is underway now in Beijing. The congress is expected to make strategic arrangements for the overall advancement of China’s reform and opening up, the country’s socialist modernization drive and the overall advancement of the new grand project of the Party building.
The Central Leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) actually seems somewhat aware of the problems they and China both face. They know that income disparity, the environment, transparancy, social unrest, unemployment, effective urbanisation and corruption are real issues they need to deal with. The question is will they, and if they do, how will they.
A survey of Chinese citizens conducted by Tony Saich of Harvard University came up with some intersting results. Those surveyed express high levels of satisfaction with the central government, but satisfaction declines with each lower level of government. While in 2009, 95.9 per cent were either relatively or extremely satisfied with the central government, this dropped to 61.5 per cent at the local level (still pretty high by US standards). As the site, In Praise of China, points out this is something that the CPC needs to take note of because,
In China, local governments provide almost all public services and the fact that satisfaction levels decline as one gets closer to the people is a worrying sign.
While the consequences of these findings may raise concerns about the quality of local governance, it is not necessarily bad news for the central government. In 2009, 30 per cent of respondents thought that their officials were incompetent, and 40 per cent that they just looked after their own interests. Corruption is always ranked as the biggest problem. The low levels of satisfaction might be an indicator of possible social instability, but the survey suggests that citizens do not see the problem as lying with the central government but rather with poor implementation at the local level or the incompetence or venality of local officials.
The CPC has opened up the internet to citizens wanting to make proposals and comments to the Congress. and already more than 4.5 million have done so. The China Daily reports:
The three web portals namely sina.com, news.cn and cctv.com have been officially entrusted by the CPC Central Committee to solicit public opinions for the 18th CPC National Congress scheduled to open on Thursday, Cai Mingzhao, spokesman for the congress, said at a press conference.
Most of the re-tweets on these web sites pin hopes on the congress, to be attended by more than 2,000 delegates representing the Party's 82 million members, to tackle corruption, wealth gap, price hikes, income distribution, and the improvement of people's livelihood.
Statistics show there are 20.62 million CPC members under the age of 35, making up 25 percent of the total. 31.91 million CPC members with college degree or above, making up 38.6 percent of the total.
Some 200,000 college graduates serving as grassroots village officials will have four delegates for the first time. More people representing the 240 million migrant workers in China have also been given a voice.
Migrant worker Cheng Junrong from Jiangsu province was elected a delegate of 18th CPC National Congress in August 2012. He and 25 other migrant worker delegates will step into the Great Hall of the People on Nov 8, when the 18th CPC National Congress begins. It is considered a symbol that migrant workers are becoming part of the political scene.
The number of CPC members working for private enterprises is also increasing. In 2002, seven private enterprise owners were elected as delegates of 16th CPC National Congress, 17 delegates in 17th CPC National Congress in 2007, and 27 in 18th CPC National Congress this year. According to statistics, at the end of 2011, some 983,000 private enterprises, 26,500 social organizations and 27,400 private non-enterprise organizations have Party organizations, welcoming talented people joining the CPC at any time.
Several CPC members working for new economic organizations and social organizations have also been voted delegates.
Somehow, if you have to have a Party which is supposed to be all about the working class, it would be nice if you could have more than a handful of workers themselves at your Party Congress. You ought to be able to find some way to, at least, represent the Party members at the Party Congress. In fact, you ought to be able to find a way to allow for the Party membership to have a real say in the direction of the Party and the country. As the post below will show, if you spend a minute thinking about it, this isn't being done either.
Rather, as we have seen in every vanguard party around the world, the number of actual workers represented at the Party Congress although increasing in the CPC is very low. Of the 2,270 delegates to the 18th CPC National Congress, the percentage of workers has increased all the way to 7.4 percent. Their number grows from 51 five years ago to 169, including 26 farmer-turned workers. The number of leading officials at different levels accounts for 69.5 percent of the total delegates to the 18th Party congress, 2.1 percentage points lower than that at the previous congress. Like in every vanguard party the working class is supposed to depend on others outside their class to represent their interests. Good luck with that.
The following is from Offbeat China.