China’s political culture and structure have come a long way in history, regarding its democracy. The concept of modern democracy found its way into China around 1895 by a man called Liang Qichao, who was forced into exile. He largely adopted the works of some western political philosophers such as John Locke, Rousseau Thomas, Hobbes, Bentham, and Hume. This effort closely intertwined with Confucian philosophy, and was able to lead China gradually to become a constitutional monarchy.
The issue can be centered on the commitments and selfless efforts made to attain democracy. Will these selfless efforts by patriots like Liang see the light of the day and that by 2025 China can be a liberal democracy? Come 2052 China may have political leaders who are elected directly by the people as opposed to the current situation, where directly elected members are those representatives who sit at the lowest people’s congress. The second most likely scenario is that China may find itself under an authoritarian regime with the Chinese communist party at the helm. The third and what can be the most unlikely scenario is that China will find itself in a situation of political fragmentation or even a state of failure. What defends this view is that China has a rich history of well-organized political structure dating centuries ago to the periods of the Shang, Zhou and Wang dynasties. Therefore, whatever position China finds itself come 2025; there are little chances that it will have a fragmented political structure (Saich, 2011).
China is still viewed as a Southern state, despite its economic status has under gone several changes, particularly constitutional transformations since the first one was promulgated in 1954.These constitutional changes are responsible for bringing in some levels of democracy to the Chinese people. Therefore, it is agreeable that in the next thirteen years China will be able to achieve a full democracy, incase amendments in the constitution are implemented.
Factors That Are Significant to Shape China’s Political Trajectory
Several factors can be included towards shaping the political trajectory of China. These factors can be classified into state and non-state actors, internal and external, the international community, and social factors such as globalization (Saich, 2011).
The international organizations include bodies such as the United Nations, World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which are capable of forcing the regime in power to open up the country to become a full democracy in future. These bodies can achieve this through imposing sanctions, embargos, and restrictions in order to achieve the goals they are championing for in their social, political, and economic agenda. For example, concerning the issues that pertain to political freedoms, these institutions can provide a platform where the oppressed citizens can air their grievances. It is also true that these same institutions can put strong conditions that may see China adopting a multi-party system of politics come 2025 (Saich, 2011).
Globalization is a factor that in the recent years played a very crucial role towards shaping the political trajectory of many countries. Globalization “is being characterized by ideal democracy, human rights, and freedoms as the model of life across the globe” (Yang, 2004). Countries that have not embraced such change will have bowed to pressure come 2025, since the strong wave of globalization appears to be an irreversible wind that cannot be ignored (“The Legislative System of China”, 2012).
Moreover, the non-state organizations are playing a very crucial role of checking how regimes are conducting their business, especially in matters pertaining to human rights for example the human right watch and the amnesty international have wrote articles and condemned the Chinese government of abusing human rights such as freedom of religion movement and speech. When such issues are brought forward, they put China in a very bad image thus forcing the regime to loosen its force on such rights (Saich, 2011).
The mass media factor is slowly but gradually shaping the political trajectory of China, most important is the international media for example the cables communication network (CNN), internet and social media have been able to show to the whole world how democracy is undermined in China. This make it to receive international condemnation and China is called upon to embrace democracy. The media also give victims of political oppression a chance to share with the whole world their story. Indeed, come 2025, China will have no other choice than to adopt democracy (Yang, 2004).
Social factors such as education are also very significant in this campaign. Most of the Chinese upon being educated will be able to understand the importance of democracy and political liberty. Indeed, this new generation will be able to advocate for democracy through putting up pressure on the regime in power to adopt democracy. There is no way that China will continue being a single party state, which does not entertain political freedom after 2025 with an educated citizenry (Yang, 2004).
There are some factors that may least affect the political trajectory of China. These include culture. It is not believable that the Chinese people have been engaged with a society that is very mean in terms of democracy for a long time. Most of them have been born an grown old within a system that restrict movement and freedom of speech, it has become part of their daily life therefore even if culture is to contribute towards a democratic China by 2025 I believe it will affect the process minimally (Pan, 2009).
The nature of personalities and characters of those who will be elected to political positions will greatly matter. Incase a person with liberal character traits ascends to power as the president. He or she may be able to change the country to a democracy. On the other hand, if dictators take over power, then even after 2025, China may still not have attained democracy. This means political good will is very fundamental towards determining the future of a country’s politics. However, it is not easy for liberals to climb to high political offices in China (“The Legislative System of China”, 2012).
Comparative Analysis of China and Russia
When the focus is centered on China, from a comparative angle with Russia it is clear that China is also transforming to a full democracy. Just as Russia, which under went several constitutional changes over time ton become a strong democracy, “China has been on the same trend and for sure come 2025 it will be a mature democracy” (Pan, 2009). Russia today allows multiparty system through constitutional changes. In fact, the different political parties have guided Russia to the democratic giant that is regarded to be currently. Therefore, it is very clear that the most important step that China should take towards democracy is to allow multi party politics within the country. It is also important to note that the recent close ties particularly economic ties between the United States and China may bring out two possible impacts on the political trajectory of China. The relationship that the two countries have in economics may make it very difficult for them to condemn each other on matters of democracy since what they stand to loose incase trade between these two countries come to an end. This may hold the United States hostage for condemning China, whom they are greatly involved with in trade hence China may simply continue to abuse human rights and deny her citizens freedoms (Saich, 2011).
The United States may take advantage of the relationship between her and China to try and influence them to adopt democracy indeed the Chinese may have a chance to admire to benefits of democracy from her trade partner and intern borrow the same model so that come 2025 China may be a liberal state (“The Legislative System of China”, 2012).
The comparison is that in case Russia is the one abusing people’s rights it is certain that the United States of America will descend to her with a lot of force and condemnation because there is nothing much binding the two together. Therefore, China may receive softer treatment from the super power (Saich, 2011).
Other Likely Scenarios in China by 2025
In sum, it is important to believe that come 2025 China may be struggling to join the United States as a supper power as it has greatly embarked on economic and military advancements. This may easily influence the regime in question to try to show the military and economic might of China at the international stage. Therefore, giving them a chance to compete with the United States of America and they may win. Come 2025, China is likely to have one of the leading economies in the world. For the last three decades, China’s domestic economic policies have yield fruit. China has been ranked the third best economy in the world and certainly, it may want to go further than that, and probably become the larges. Its dominance and influence in other economies has been felt, with much of their products being consumed globally (Pan, 2009).
The Degree of Institutionalization of the PRC
The people’s republic of china leadership has attained some progress of institutionalization process in its leadership process. It has abandoned the all powerful rule of individual leaders to embrace the collective king of leadership in the country. For instance, in the initial times, Chinese people tolerated powerful leaders with very weak factions. Currently after some two decades, the power shift has gained momentum and there is building of strong institutions that could be headed with diplomatic and less powerful leaders. These institutions have changed the leadership structure since they have some power in terms prescribed law policies (Saich, 2011).
Through institutionalization, the collective leadership had made factional politics to be very much dynamic. This has played major role in the succession politics for the Chinese people. For instance, the leadership of Chinese Communist Party is now structured to bring reflect one party two coalitions. This ensures proper balance of power even in the times of transition because the institution had been built to guard such power succession dynamics (“The Legislative System of China”, 2012).
Political Preferences of the Political Elites Themselves
The political preference of the political elites in China consisted of the principles or the leaders from high ranking family backgrounds in terms of the status of each family, they are the ones known as the Shanghai gang. In terms of the populist coalition, they consisted of officials from the former Chinese Communist Youth League. In the preference cases, the two coalitions have certain contrasting policy preferences. Some political elites always emphasize on the economic efficiency and growth of gross domestic product while the other group which is the populist coalition stand for social cohesion and justice. The elitist group however dominate economic sector and their political preference would always tend to support and be associated with political policies that strengthens the sector.
National Government Control
The national government in China is able to control the localities and other groups through the appointments of the governorship by the national government. The governor is responsible in manipulating and control of the ethnic communities through the legislated laws in china. This kind this approach is an indirect administration process through the created autonomous regions in china. The central government appoints the mayors of the municipalities, the governors of the regions who are responsible for the daily administration purpose of the communities. This helps in the direct control of the localities. The sole responsibility of the autonomous self governing system was enacted into law for facilitating efficient dynamics on political, economical and social aspects of the governing process in the management process (Pan, 2009).
Regime’s Degree of Popular Legitimacy and Support
The regime’s degree of political legitimacy is very substantial since China had well organized institutionalized political system. Through the concept of collective leadership, the leaders have got legitimate mandate in the government of the republic of China. The president who was formerly referred to as the chairman is elected through the National People’s Congress (NPC) with a five year term in office. The Presidium of the National Peoples Congress facilitates the nomination process which helps in the creation of legitimate persons for leadership positions. This helps in the popular mandate and creates good support which enhances economic and political stability (Pan, 2009).
However, the availability of the oppositions that challenges leadership through various grievances is has been reflected. This has resulted in the agreement on the desirable centralized Chinese State. All the subject of interest had been managed by both the opposition and the government. The government had engaged the opposition on the policies that are made for the success of the government through proper structures. Through this the regime has tried for the effective management by creation of dialogue with the opposition in the process of initiating state projects (Yang, 2004).
China Economic and Social Policies
China has had stable economy and is determined to proper in her current and future economic projects. China is one of the world’s states whose economy is growing at a rapid speed. The economy has been from the socialism peak to consumerism status. There are very high chances that the economy is likely to grow even further from the rural economy into industrial economy. Heavy industries have been boosted through availability of required resources in uplifting the manufacturing sector. China has used various policies that favor the general growth of the economic and the manufacturing sector. Poverty and the inequity have been narrowed down through the policies that have ensured that the manufacturing and the industrial sector is promoted substantially (Yang, 2004).
The rapid growth of the wealth gap is depicted as assign of growth to the policies on economic and social developments. The most important factor that has enabled this growth is the political stability of the republic of China. Stable politics has seen the growth and good administrative structure which has devolved leadership down to the people. The democratic governance policies helps in China are very useful in the development process of China in terms of both short term and long term process. The policies on the market income help in driving economy to a higher status by shaping up inequality in the urban income levels. The policies on the population control have contributed to some extent in stabilizing the economy this is by uplifting the economic status of the rural population and the general population at large. This in future may lead to higher economic development which will enable china to be much more superior in the world economy (Saich, 2011).
Level of International Support for the Regime
The international support for the Chinese government has made it more viable for the economic growth. The fact that China is among the countries with veto powers in the United Nations Security Council. This has improved her world status level and through expansion of international trade with other partners, the country becomes much more stable economically. Most of the products manufactured in china have been on circulation in the international market and this attracts foreign exchange for the country. This improves the national economy and general expansion of trade through international negotiations (Saich, 2011).
It is open secrete that despite China being accused of not being democratic, it has been able to rise and become world’s leading economy. This leaves us with the question, if indeed democracy should not only focus on freedoms and rights but also be put in the context of a country’s level of development and national cultures as argued by the Chinese government. Indeed, this is the most important option and likely scenario to be adopted in China’s political and economic landscape.