Sunday, December 21, 2008

Will China Democratize?

Will China Democratize? With a global trend toward democracy plus its remarkable success at economic development the question often arises whether China will make commensurate progress in democratization. There have been a few hopeful signs at the local level, including some competitive elections, but even there democratization is limited. Unrest has been growing among peasants and others left behind by economic progress and frustrated by corruption and lack of political responsiveness. At the national level there are some indications that toleration for dissent, essential for democracy, is actually decreasing. What are the obstacles to democratization in China? Are there now more pressures for democratization because of the vast expansion of education and the middle class? Is it possible China could experience top-down democratization initiated by the Communist authorities as happened throughout much of the former Soviet Bloc?

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