When you are not a democracy, you don’t have the right to freedom, right to information, right to do anything the government does not want you to. While on paper this may sound outrageous, it gives countries like China a distinct advantage - control.
A few days ago in a leaked tape, Donald Trump was revealed to be saying that “you can do anything” as long as you are a star. It contained a lot of other things but it is best that we limit it to this particular phrase. Donald Trump is still a star, and a Presidential candidate. He had to release an apology video and now faces public ire unlike any in the history of United States. This is a great example of democratic system working for the public and punishing someone for his misuse of power. Now let us take a moment and think about how China can never have these issues and instead lead with forceful leadership.
China, a single party communist nation, is a rising superpower. The great strides it has made both economically and on strategic and military front have made up the West quite anxious. We have to analyse how the Chinese leadership has been so able and united for so long to understand this success.
Two sides of Mao: Founder of PRC and the man responsible for the death of millions
Let us start with Mao Zedong, the leader of the communist movement and founder of People’s Republic of China. His disastrous policies like the great leap forward aside, he was the one to lay down the framework for future leadership of China. The communist regime, starting with Mao, showed no tolerance for opposition and displayed ruthless but united administration. One question that could be asked of this is, how did China survive? Was there no opposition? Was there no revolt? There was and it was suppressed mercilessly.
At the time of communist uprising in China, even Stalin, whose USSR was very close to China, thought that this was primed for failure. The rest we all know. The communists succeeded. People’s Republic of China was formed (1949) and beginning in the mid 1980s started the era of rapid progress of China and that made it the force that it is today. We will not go into the details of the industrialisation and cultural revolution but have a look at the ideology to help us understand the success of China better.
We have to realise one thing that because it's not a democracy, it has an unprecedented control over its people and the administration. They can do whatever they please with little to no opposition. Countries like India, on the other hand, require public support for anything to work. While this is good for most part, when it comes to sensitive matters like international relations, intelligence agencies, covert operations, nukes, it is quite difficult to take the public in confidence and justify government’s acts. Democracy stands on four pillars - justice, equality, freedom and representation. But what if justice in the eyes of the public and the leadership is not the same? What if giving freedom to someone like Donald Trump does more harm than good? What if sometimes it is better to do some bad for the greater good? This things are difficult to define in a democracy. China, however, is impervious to these all. If you look at multiple online websites and analyse the comments of Chinese citizens, you will find out that they are very proud of their achievements and the leadership. While there are voices against the oppression, they are not as loud as one might expect them to be. Invasions in South China Sea, dealings with North Korea and Pakistan, leveraging its economic status in world politics, it gets away with everything as far as its own people are concerned. The question of any foreign body intervening in the matters is laughable even if it is as powerful as the UN.
Just a facade?
From the college degree of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to leaked tapes of Donald Trump, the public is aware of all. And what do we know of Xi Jinping? How did he rise within his party? Was there any opposition to him? Were there any dirty dealings behind the door to facilitate his rise? Is he corrupt? How long will he be at the helm of leadership? No definite answers. No credible and in-depth knowledge of this is provided to anyone. And this is where it benefits China immensely. They are not answerable to anybody. One country, one party and one rule. The hindrances and difficulties in getting things done in countries like India are nowhere to be found.
The rise of China is as alarming as it is fascinating. It succeeds with a completely different identity of its own and does not have to face public scrutiny or any courts as various other democratic and western countries do. The current forceful Jinping administration naturally sparks more fear than respect and if we have to counter them, we must also counter their ideology and introspect as to how the inherent fallacies of democracy can be avoided to help sustain ourselves in this multipolar and evolving world.
Title image: News18