Sure, this is late, but I read a couple of articles on the Economist that seemed interesting:
Hu’s counting – Hu claims that China saved Americans money.
Hu’s counting II – Hu claims that China created jobs for the world.
So with all this drama going on in the west about the Democratic primaries between Obama and Clinton, everyone seems to be ignoring the 11th National People’s Congress which is currently nominating candidates for the presidency of the People’s Republic of China. Some people will say that this is just a rubber stamping ceremony since everyone knows Mr. Hu Jintao will be reelected to his second term and they might be right, but which system is actually better? Let’s look at some facts.
Now I don’t know much about the American election process, but I do know that Clinton and Obama have spent millions and millions of US dollars for their campaigns. And to think that only one of them will be nominated, not as president, but as a candidate for the presidency which neither of them are guaranteed of winning just boggles the mind at how much money will be wasted for no purpose. Combine their spending with all the other candidates, Republican and independent, and you can see the enormous waste that is going on. Just check out Clinton’s financial report. Did she really need to rent a car, get catering service, and give salaries to all her lackeys? I don’t think so.
Now let’s look at the system in the People’s Republic of China. Let me first go over the election process in China since, contrary to popular belief, direct democracy does take place within this communist giant.
First of all, there are the local village elections of village leaders. Now not all villages have elections and not all of them are clean, but some are good and effective (Professor Scott Rozelle‘s lecture China’s Harmonious Society: Village Democracy, Development and “Pork Barrel Politics” talked about how higher levels of local level democracy leads to higher public investment). However, that’s local level and can’t be compared to American mass elections. So let’s examine the elections of the Local People’s Congresses.
In these elections, each person in China would vote for a person who would represent them in the Local People’s Congresses, who would then vote for people who would vote for someone who would eventually vote for the people on the National People’s Congress. Sure there are a few (or many, depending on whether you’re a glass half-empty or full kinda person) steps separating the people’s decisions and the National People’s Congress, as well as the fact that nothing is really known about the people that they vote for due to lack of campaigning, but the important fact is that the National People’s Congress is elected and since the NPC elects the president, it can be like, proved, that Hu Jintao is legitimately elected by the people!
With no campaigning at all, since everything is done in back rooms between the most powerful of the elected NPC members, very little money is wasted. You can also look at the time saved. An American presidential election takes months, maybe even years, to be wrapped up if you include all those primaries and pre-primary stuff. In the PRC, the members of the National People’s Congress get together for a few days, talk about a few things, and then all of a sudden, you not only have nominations for the presidency, but a true freshly anointed president ready to serve his country!
So instead of wasting all that time and money trying to convince the Chinese people that they are the right candidate for whatever position they are running for, the communist officials can focus on more important things. Like drinking oneself to death.