采访/朱智善 编辑/尚燕 后制/李若琳
How Do Today’s Chinese View Democracy?
Zhang Mingshu, associate researcher at the Chinese Academy
of Social Sciences (CASS), has released his new book.
It is titled, “What Kind of Democracy do the Chinese Want?”
Zhang said the survey result was beyond his expectations.
In today’s China, how do the general public
What changes have occurred, compared to
the people’s democratic expectations of the 1980s?
And how do we comprehend the real meaning
behind the survey? Let’s see what experts have to tell us.
Zhang Mingshu’s new book was based on a survey
on Chinese citizens’ political consciousness.
As a key scientific research project of the CASS,
the survey was conducted in 2011.
Zhang Mingshu told China’s media that
the survey result had surprised him.
For instance, on how to look upon democracy,
38.1% of the Chinese hold a view inclining to the left;
51.5% take middle ground, whilst 8% are right-leaning.
The survey shows that a large part of “the centrists”
are influenced by mainstream media reporting.
Zhang Mingshu revealed that the investigation was
more carefully conducted than a similar one done in 1988.
He said in doing the survey, he didn’t touch the
forbidden zone of the Chinese Communist Party authorities.
Critic Lan Shu says that Zhang’s scruples have influenced
the survey to be left-leaning from the beginning.
Lan Shu believes that the percentage of “the leftist”
is under 30%, based on China’s reality.
Zhu Xinxin, former editor of Hebei state radio station,
comments that in today’s China,
scholars still cannot conduct academic researches objectively,
as they’re partially confined within the CCP system.
Zhu Xinxin: “The poll should mirror objective data.
The survey should be done by an independent organization.
It should be free from any partisan influence.”
According to Lan Shu, the meaning of the “left-wing”
and the “right-wing” in China differs from that in the West.
He says that western people in higher education
usually lean to the left, to break up the convention.
It is just the opposite in China. The left-leaning Chinese
are willing to stay inside the CCP ruling system,
whilst the right-leaning people have tried to
break free of it.
Lan Shu affirms that the survey does have some value.
Lan Shu: “Its result shows that intellectuals are
inclined to the right, so do the young people.
This survey result has consultative value.
It indicates that the intellectuals and youngsters
want to get rid of the communist rule.
This actually mirrors the trend of China’s society.”
“the centrists” as those who agree that
“whether democracy is good or not depends on
if it suits China’s reality, rather than making a
simple comparison between the US and China.”
Zhang said he hadn’t subdivide the group further.
And from an empirical judgment, he believed that
some of the centrists are influenced by mainstream media.
Lan Shu cited an example,
the Weng’an mass protest in Guizhou in 2008.
He says that acting as centrists is an unusual tactic
of the Chinese who are living under the CCP rule.
Lan Shu: “At the protest, only less than 100 people
participated in burning buildings of city hall and police bureau.
But over 100,000 people just acted as onlookers.
There they took pictures with cameras,
feeling the burning vented their anger.
Only a minority took action, but the majority
showed their stance by looking-on at the incidents.”
Zhang Mingshu stated that a similar survey was conducted
in 1988, which greatly differed from the recent one.
He explained that in 1988, the interviewees were
much more western civilized orientated.
It was in the initial stages of the Reform & Opening Up,
when the society embraced western culture.
Zhu Xinxin remarks that this proves that in the
past 25 years, by exerting control over the media,
the CCP regime have impeded the Chinese people’s
democratic views and understanding.
Zhu Xinxin: “People’s ideological aspirations can only be
gradually achieved by exercising their rights in practice.
They wouldn’t improve themselves
if lacking such an environment.
That’s why the Chinese people’s democratic comprehension
are far behind the world average level.”
Reportedly, Zhang Mingshu said that in the survey,
the Chinese people’s political expectations mirrored the Confucian ethics.
In Zhang’s words, the westerners expected to
“curb evil” via politics,
whilst the Chinese hope that
the politics can “promote goodness”.