Hello, I am a Chinese studying in college. I have a roommate who is a member of the communist party. Since he is the first party member of our class, we gave him the nickname "the party". Yesterday I saw him posting a propaganda poster about the National Peoples Congress meeting now held in Beijing. I had a chat with him about democracy.(I use "P" to refer to his nickname) I: Do you believe what those posters said? P: well, I just do my job.I am a member of the party, but I 'm not a communist, only an"opportunist" if this is the word you want to use. I:It is really a pity that smart people like you have to join a party they don't really like to get a good job in China. P:I don't like the communist party, and I don't dislike it either. It is just a mere façade of China. I:If a propaganda poster is a façade, why don't we get rid of it? Keeping a façade costs money! China is nearly as big as America, and in every five people on earth, there must be one Chinese, why Holland, with so little resources, could be such a rich place with so much freedom and creativity, while China is such a place full of dread conformity comparing with them? Think about it,in our own country we can't make our own voice heard, all media is controlled by the government. Don't mention the corruption and the political darkness, I can't even set up a philosophy club in public!...we are not the masters even in our own country... If we have the same system as the West has, it could fully release the creativity of 1.3 billion people, and the impact can be hard to over-estimate... P:I know in what direction you are leading me. If China had a multi-party system, and universal suffrage, it can only bring chaos and evil to the country, Russia fought with Georgia, and they may fight with Ukraine too, while 30 years ago they are compatriots! Conformity is China's weakness, but also its greatest strength. The party wants to have more GDP growth and improve living standard because those things give a party real legitimacy. And they did a better job than those handsome faces in the west. I: If Taiwan is a democracy, why can't we, all speaking Chinese? it won't bring chaos, although in the initial phase of democratization there maybe some troubles. Oh, economy! Are you saying the communist party toil in the field, selling in the markets, producing the goods? what Den Xiaoping did is just move the party's hands off, and allow Chinese people make their own living and foreign investors make money. Honestly, if you put an idiot as Chinese president, the economy will grow faster! Because he won't intervene so much. Look at history, Chinese economy will automatically grow when there is peace and a decent government, whether it is a communist or fascist or ruled by an emperor. P: Ok, Then how do you expect the peasants in the village to vote? I'm a village boy, there ain't a single person in my village who think in your way. Open you eyes, Look at the peasants working in the field, and girls toiling at an assembly line to produce things for the Americans, while an American girl at the same age is having fun in the prom. Most Chinese are not like you, who grown up in the city, read TIME in the library every week,Yet you don't understand people like me, a peasant's son. I: Well, go on. P: A peasant won't overcome the troubles to vote because his vote means nothing to him,and if he or she is illiterate, he, or she won't even understand the vocabulary "vote". Besides, people in power and wealthy people will use their resources to manipulate democracy, how can an assembly line worker and a peasant compete with the big wigs? China now has many rich people, but more poor people . And those common people only want to have jobs, earns enough to send their kids to schools. I: Well, if a peasant is illiterate, he or she can ask a neighbor to help him or her vote. If an ordinary Chinese was satisfied with having jobs and sending kids to schools, they will be in heaven to have a vote and have the freedom like the people in the west.One person one vote, no matter how rich or powerful you are, you can only get one vote. you choose your candidate to represent your interests and change the nation for your benefits. Big wigs have their resources, but common people like us have numbers, and in this way a country can truly belongs to her people, and this is "democracy" it means " rule by the people" P: LOL, holy democracy! Rule by the people! Let me tell you the truth. You wake up tomorrow, you walk in the street, and you see all kinds of people come and go. I ask you, where is "the people"? All I can see are a rich man, a rich woman, a poor man, a poor woman, a boy with glasses, and a girl in hot pant. Yes, people! "we the people！" People's republic of China, or "people who joint the party "'s republic of China? Please answer me :where is the people? I: well... P: Marxism told me, there is no "rule by the people" but only ruled by the dominating class. I can see trees and rivers but I can't see "class" either. For example, You saw two beggars in the streets.you ask a beggar: is the beggar sitting next to you belongs to the same class as yours? What do you think the beggar will respond? I: no ideas. P: He will say, I haven't got any thing, because another beggar is competing with me! If I win a lottery, I will buy a big car!"People" and "class" are not real, there are only atomised individuals who spend their lives to get ahead. I: But universal suffrage is exactly the system to empower the powerless and the poor... P: Use your loaf! Is George Soros' vote equal to a poor housewife? George Soros can get what he wants without going to the polling booth, veto is a genuine device to deceive that woman, so she can accept a policy bad for her, after all, she did have a vote, and she did take part in the political process! And don't forget, "the home of democracy"-Britain still has a queen! I: well... P: My friend, You can instigate the peasants, girls in the factory, lead "the people" to get the vote, and build another America in China, but I 'm not sure many ordinary Chinese will follow you. But be careful, don't get into troubles with the authority! When you get a Nobel Prize for Peace, I will send food to your prison cell! I was totally speechless. I never been to Europe or America, I only read some books. So please give me ammunitions for my argument so I can argue with him next time. I want to ask you: 1.Are you living in a liberal democracy? Which nation? Do you feel you and others are the masters of your own country? 2.Does a vote important to you, does it ever bring you any good thing? (if you have an experience, could you tell me in details?) 3.Is liberal democracy universal, can it be used in China as well as in France? Or there is no real democracy and all the so-called ones are shams? Thank you!