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Chinese Legislature Conducts Large Online Vote 152

Posted by timothy
from the long-distance-abacus dept.
hackingbear writes "In a bid to reform the tax law and raise person tax exemption to 3000 Yuan per month (or about US$5000 per year,) from 2000 Yuan per month, the Chinese legislature has conducted a massive online vote on the pending legislation. The [National People's Congress] Standing Committee, China's top legislature, on Wednesday publicized suggestions and opinions on amending the Law on Individual Income Tax that were submitted online from April 25 to May 31. Among all 82,707 citizens who commented on the proposal, [only] 15 percent of them favored raising the exemption to 3,000 yuan. However, 48 percent suggested to further raise the exemption to 5,000 yuan per month. While the online votes are not binding, the outcome likely shape the final bill. We'd hope the US Congress would dare to collect real citizen input on its legislation, rather than just doing lip service or useless political arguments."
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Chinese Legislature Conducts Large Online Vote

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  • What a concept! (Score:5, Informative)

    by msobkow (48369) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @10:28PM (#36470670) Homepage Journal

    Actually making use of technology to drive government.

    I believe the only way a true democracy can be run is if individual citizens are allowed to vote on legislation proposed by their representatives, rather than having the representatives do the voting. It would encourage the reps to actually engage their voting populations, otherwise their legislation dies.

    Power to the people!

    • Re:What a concept! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by timeOday (582209) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @10:55PM (#36470776)
      California has destroyed my faith in direct democracy. See Proposition 13: "I want the windfall from housing inflation to go straight into my pocket!" Congratulations to the folks who voted themselves hundreds of thousands of dollars in unearned income, but now the state is broke, people living right next door to each other pay VASTLY different burdens in supporting schools and other social services, and the housing pyramid scheme eventually collapsed anyways. Instead, they should simply have deferred some portion the property taxes until the next transfer of ownership.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I remember the bill passed in CA which seriously limited the ability for the state and towns to levy taxes. Combine that with areas that voted themselves Maybach-level services on a Kia-level budget, and it is no wonder why California hit the skids. Take Santa Cruz with all the college students. They vote for all these amenities, but they are long gone when it comes to shelling out tax revenue for it.

        Now all these CA refugees are heading to other places. Austin is being rendered unlivable by this, for e

      • Re:What a concept! (Score:5, Informative)

        by dragonturtle69 (1002892) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:36PM (#36471028)

        Some context about Prop. 13's start, IIRC, your property value was not necessarily assessed fairly, and you could be taxed out of your home, the home that you actually owned the deed to. Wikipedia lines up decently, Prop 13 [wikipedia.org].

        Like many of the silly things in CA, Prop 13 happened as a reaction to an abuse of power, which of course led to new abuses.

        • by Gordo_1 (256312)

          The main problem with prop 13 was that it wasn't tied to inflation, but capped annual increases at something like 2% (not sure the exact number). It basically assured that over time property taxes would tend to zero for those in their homes for a long time and anybody who purchased a home would end up with an unfair burden of the social services that the old-timers could then vote in for themselves.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            No, the real problem with prop 13 is that it's a bad solution to the problems it was supposed to solve. The problem was that seniors on fixed incomes were being taxed out of their homes.

            This was a short-term problem, since the cost of housing was rising along with inflation in the late 70s and early 80s. Seniors on fixed incomes couldn't handle the increased taxes that came with it.

            A proper solution would have been targeted at seniors, and seniors only. They could have had their taxes capped, and the tem

      • What the hell does this have to do with China's congress? Everything's about America, isn't it?

        Tell you what, I'll ask some Chinese people if they want to trade places with you, and live in that corrupt pyramid scheme of democracy. You like Chinese food?

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          What the hell does this have to do with China's congress? Everything's about America, isn't it?

          One person mischaracterized this survey in China as a vote and offered the hypothesis that direct voting by the population was the way to go. Another person posted a concrete real-world example of where such a thing went wrong, this example happened to come from California. Does that clear things up for you?

      • California has destroyed my faith in direct democracy.

        California has accomplished more than that, it has also destroyed the faith in representative democracy as well. The silliness of the public is exceeded by the stupidity of the state legislature.

      • True democracy has never existed and never will. The ancient greeks has no true democracy and the modern greeks are showing why.

        Greece is bankrupt, the country has since WW2 spend its life on a money drip from the EU and totally mis-managed its own economy. There is virtually no tax collection and corruption is a way of live. Now they find out that if you collect no taxes and spend a fortune as the state on pork projects there will be an imbalance.

        The country needs 100.000.000.000 euro in a loan, after they

        • So true democracy is a failed concept because Greece, which is not a true democracy, is in trouble. Right.

          gosh, the people voted to be able to earn more before having to start paying taxes...

          Only 15% voted for that. Did you even read the summary?

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Only 15% voted for that. Did you even read the summary?

            However, 48 percent suggested to further raise the exemption to 5,000 yuan per month.

            Did you?

            • So 52% didn't vote for any of the raises, and parent claims "the people" voted for a raise?

              • by tehcyder (746570)

                So 52% didn't vote for any of the raises, and parent claims "the people" voted for a raise?

                I read it as 15% agreeing the $3000 plus a further 48% going for $5000 making 63% in total in favour of raising the limit.

                • Maybe that's what they meant, but it's not what it says. Nowhere is it stated that the two sets of voters are disjoint.

        • Democracy, true democracy requires that each voter not only knows about the issue but votes for future, not the now AND not just for his own benefit.

          And a TRUE Scotsman [wikipedia.org] only eats HAGGIS!

          But no, pure, true, the-real-deal-democracy is simply one where everyone gets to vote on an issue.It could be a boat full of murderous pirates or a group of ignorant idiots.

          The masses always don't go your way, but that's no reason to ditch democracy.

      • The interesting question to explore is why a concept that seems to work pretty well in Switzerland does not work in California. I, personally, have no idea.
        • by bluemonq (812827)

          The most likeliest explanation has to do with one's upbringing concerning the welfare of others.

          • Probably. Don't want to rant about this right now, I am not feeling zealous enough... ;) For the benefit of the doubt, I offer the concept that Switzerland is just smaller.
            • by marnues (906739)
              Completely agreed. Not only is the monkey-sphere of Switzerland a tighter web, but the power disparity in the country is low, leading to a tighter mono-culture. Of course, I'm proud to live in a country that hasn't outlawed minarets.
      • Democracy - direct or not - is only as good as the people are willing to make it. There's California, and then there's Switzerland. Representative democracy is not a panacea - it just takes a while longer for idiocracy to permeat the upper layers, but if the voter base is not responsible, they will simply elect populists.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Oh yeah and online voting is never abused

      I worked for a company where there were *maybe* 50 people in the entire company. They put up a poll. After about 200k of votes they shut it down.

      You mean power to the few who know how to abuse the system.

      • by mlts (1038732) *

        There are some fair ways to do the voting, and decently secure too. However, it depends on how much anonymity you want in the voting process. If anonymity doesn't matter, you can have the government send each citizen a form with two scratch-off blanks. One is for yes, one no. Then the person goes to a Web page that asks for a number, and the person types in the number matching yes or no. Said pair of numbers are random and unique, so only the vote counters would know what the numbers actually meant (ye

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rolfwind (528248)

      That's why we're not a pure democracy but a republic.

      Individual people might be smart, but crowds are reactive, mirroring and stupid.

      • by anagama (611277)
        Of course, what we actually have is a plutocracy because all legislative power resides in those who can buy politicians ... and they don't come cheap. Well, maybe a city councilperson could be had for a few grand, but if you want (or don't want) some particular Federal legislation -- the purchase price is way beyond the means of the average American.
      • Re:What a concept! (Score:4, Informative)

        by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Friday June 17, 2011 @01:57AM (#36471558)

        You people ought to really read the Federalist papers, instead of repeating what someone else said. A republic is a form of government where the head of state is not an inherited position. You're actually comparing a direct democracy (the federalist papers never mention a pure democracy) to a representative democracy (the republic in the federalist papers).

        Furthermore, the Federalist Papers actually warn explicitly about having too many representatives (which leads to its own form of herd mentality) and having too few representatives per voter (which leads to a distant representative and a clustering of votes around special interests). Yes, we're fucked, but the Founders knew we were going to be fucked no matter what they set up, and merely tried to set things up in such a way that it minimizes the amount of stupid that goes around.

        • Furthermore, the Federalist Papers actually warn explicitly about having too many representatives (which leads to its own form of herd mentality) and having too few representatives per voter (which leads to a distant representative and a clustering of votes around special interests).

          *Head asplodes at built-in contradiction*

          Yes, we're fucked, but the Founders knew we were going to be fucked no matter what they set up, and merely tried to set things up in such a way that it minimizes the amount of stupid that goes around.

          "D'oh!"
          Thanks NC. I've went from a high-IQ, confident, educated and considered intelligent person...to a bumbling moronic idiot in 30 seconds, just from reading your comment! :-)
          No, I'm

        • by rolfwind (528248)

          I don't get the point of this gotcha post. So the term "republic" has changed meaning. I'm using 21st century vocabulary because, wait for it, I live and communicate in the 21st century.

          Dictionary.com's first definition is:
          -a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.

          and merriam webster's definition of pure democracy (vs direct democracy) is:
          -democracy in which the power is exercised directly by

      • That's why we're not a pure democracy but a republic.

        Individual people might be smart, but crowds are reactive, mirroring and stupid.

        Oh, God, not this again.

        The US is a democratic (people get to vote for their representatives and some other things) republic (the country belongs to the people, not to a monarch.) The UK is a democratic monarchy: technically, the country "belongs" to the crown. North Korea is a non-democratic republic. Got it?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Jeremi (14640)

      I believe the only way a true democracy can be run is if individual citizens are allowed to vote on legislation proposed by their representatives, rather than having the representatives do the voting.

      This is a terrible idea. What we'd end up with is a situation (like now) where 99% of the population doesn't have the time (or interest) to read the legislation or vote on it, but also a situation where the remaining 1% would control what gets passed and doesn't get passed. That remaining 1% would be composed largely of trolls, unemployed busybodies, single-issue-firebrands (using their vote as leverage to promote their unrelated pet cause), and people who are getting paid under the table to vote for/agai

      • That remaining 1% would be composed largely of trolls, unemployed busybodies, single-issue-firebrands (using their vote as leverage to promote their unrelated pet cause), and people who are getting paid under the table to vote for/against the bill by, parties who would profit from its passage or failure.

        This is different from congress in that the busybodies in question are not collecting a paycheck. Sounds strictly better to me.

      • by quenda (644621)

        What we'd end up with is a situation (like now) where 99% of the population doesn't have the time (or interest) to read the legislation

        And how is that any different from the legislature?

      • Actually, the remaining 1% would be composed of Anonymous.

      • On a more serious note, it could actually work if the citizens were to delegate the duty of monitoring laws and suggesting votes to people they trust. Everyone still votes on their own, but they get directions on those votes from whatever feed(s) they subscribe to, and those sources would then generally mirror party orientation.

        There are a bunch of obvious benefits here, though, compared to traditional party/representative approach. For one, the choices are far more varied - a party doesn't have to get into

      • What would help would be the ability to short stop our elected representatives when they obviously show a pattern of malfeasance or an inability or unwillingness to fulfill the promises they made to get elected. Why allow someone a full term if it becomes obvious they are doing a bad job and not honoring the promises they made when running for election. We need to put pressure on those elected to perform as advertised. Maybe with the possibility of losing their job mid-term hanging over their head they can
    • by djh2400 (1362925)
      I would like a system here in the U.S. — or anywhere, for that matter — to opt-out of various things my political representatives would otherwise vote for. In other words, I would like them to, by default, represent me by voting as they normally would, but if I can't trust them to vote the way I want them to on some particular bill/issue/whatever, I would like a way to override my small portion of their vote by voting for myself.

      I suppose it would be similar to how stockholders can vote on c
    • by perpenso (1613749) on Friday June 17, 2011 @12:49AM (#36471288)

      Actually making use of technology to drive government.

      This seems to be a survey, not a vote. So it is pretty much what occasionally happens in the US too. Suveys and focus groups are used to get feedback and to craft legislation and/or how the legislation is presented.

      I believe the only way a true democracy can be run is if individual citizens are allowed to vote on legislation proposed by their representatives, rather than having the representatives do the voting. It would encourage the reps to actually engage their voting populations, otherwise their legislation dies.

      Many wise men have characterized such a system as mob rule. Legislators would simply pander to the mob, its not terribly different than what happens today. Why are the NRA and AARP so powerful, its not money, its their ability to deliver voters to the polls. In short big money donors may have less influence but special interest groups will gain influence.

      The real solution is to elect representatives that have intelligence, ethics and character. An extreme example from history, Cincinnatus:
      "... an invasion caused him to be called to serve Rome as dictator, an office which he immediately resigned after completing his task of defeating the rivaling tribes of the Aequians, Sabines and Volscians. His abandoning of his work to serve Rome, and especially his immediate resignation of his absolute authority with the end of the crisis, has often been cited as an example of outstanding leadership, service to the greater good, civic virtue, and modesty"
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cincinnatus [wikipedia.org]

    • by Anonymous Coward

      As a Chinese, I could tell you this is far from true democracy, for following reasons:
      1. Chinese government often uses so called single-candidate election or single choice vote. While it may not necessary mean that there is only one choice, it is highly likely all choices are in favorite of the ruling class. For example, you could have a vote like:

      Do you agree with government's decision on XXX:
      A. Agree
      B. Strongly Agree
      C. I don't care

      2. Online polls in Chi

    • by geekmux (1040042)

      Actually making use of technology to drive government.

      I believe the only way a true democracy can be run is if individual citizens are allowed to vote on legislation proposed by their representatives, rather than having the representatives do the voting. It would encourage the reps to actually engage their voting populations, otherwise their legislation dies.

      Power to the people!

      Engage the masses? That would imply actual work for the fat cats that sit up there. And besides, the public probably isn't going to vote for them to receive their massive raises each year. See the level of greed and corruption that goes on within our legislation isn't something that the average person can stomach. Few know that the palm grease used in most agreements is actually a powerful psychoactive drug, capable of numbing the parts of the brain that revolve around honesty and integrity. And everyo

    • by glwtta (532858)
      Actually making use of technology to drive government.

      A fairly poor concept actually, it falls into the fairly broad category of "applying a technical solution to a non-technical problem".
    • The Chinese government figured out a clever way to collect information on all the potential trouble makers.
  • what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by decora (1710862) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @10:30PM (#36470676) Journal

    China has just locked up a large number of dissidents, including Zhao Lianhai, who ran a website about the poisoned baby-milk scandal after his own son became ill.

    A few months back, they put a girl in a labor camp for posting a sarcastic comment on twitter.

    A good portion of the stories on slashdot would probably get you a jail sentence if you posted them in China.

    I may not get 'online voting', then again maybe online voting is just a way to track who the troublemakers are - like Mao's Hundred Flowers campaign.

    • Re:what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by artor3 (1344997) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @10:45PM (#36470728)

      I recall that during the Beijing Olympics, they set up a protest zone where would-be protestors could apply for a permit. They then arrested those who applied and sentenced them to several years in a forced labor camp. So China's government certainly does have recent history showing a willingness to set traps for undesirables.

      All the same, this particular action may be legit, and it would be nice if we could have something similar in the US. However, it runs into the problem of how you phrase the questions. Push-polling is a well refined art. Congress would spend as much time arguing about the wording of the poll as they ultimately would over the bill itself.

      • by msobkow (48369)

        People should be voting on the proposed legislation, not on a biased summary question.

        Yes or No question -- do you support this bill?

        • by artor3 (1344997)

          But when they vote no, what next? Did they say no because they wanted the bill to do more, or to do less? One of the benefits of a representative government is that they'll negotiate and find some middle ground.

          Theoretically at least. The present-day GOP seems to have realized just how effective brinksmanship is, and if they manage to retake the White House, I'm sure the Democrats will be happy to turn their tactics against them.

    • So you believe the Chinese government does all these to catch 82,707 * 85% people into prison? It just show how much biased information you have received on your favorite free media. If I were you, I would learn Chinese and go visit Chinese forums for half year before I post another comment about China.

    • Amen.
  • But how do you ensure that each persons gets one vote and nobody can steal your vote? And how do you check that the results weren't tainted or pre-determined like Honduras almost had? And then there's the issue of privacy. Lots of people don't want any kind of national ID card.

    • How do you ensure those things using offline methods? Their are only preventative measures for either of the alternatives and as far as I can tell neither is fundamentally a great or a horrible solution.

    • by malsbert (456063)

      All in all e-voting == paper-voting with only one little exception.
      The anonymous vote.
      With paper-voting; you get a piece of paper, enter a "voting box", submit your vote. the fact you have voted is known but WHAT you voted are not.
      With e-voting; you get the "virtual" equivalent BUT you properly login from HOME, that is your IP will be connected to your vote! and dos the idea
      of anonymity is lost.
      needless to say, there will have to be foul play involved but personally i consider anonymity to be so vital for a

      • Not everybody has a unique IP address (IPv6 notwithstanding) let alone access to the net and how easy would it be to write software to filter out votes from a red state (or a blue state)? How easy would it be to write software to change just enough votes to ensure a particular outcome without raising eyebrows. What you need is a way to generate a large enough unique number (to prevent brute force hacking or such that would take far longer to crack it than it would to certify the vote), and this number wo

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      It's China, it doesn't matter if you vote more than once or if someone steals your vote. Since your vote doesn't count for anything anyway.

  • I definitely want to choose our leaders using online polls. I mean what could go wrong?

    Vote early vote often...
  • by Professr3 (670356) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @10:58PM (#36470792)
    Unfortunately, we couldn't trust our government to post the real results, much less make the voting process secure enough to avoid virtual ballot-stuffing. Not that it'd matter, since our representatives seem pretty content to vote completely opposite any form of public opinion...
    • Re:I wish... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Monty845 (739787) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:19PM (#36470930)
      Actually, I wouldn't worry about the results not getting released. Instead we would get loaded questions designed to influence the results. A skilled pollster could move public opinion pretty far based on how they ask the questions, and there is no way they would be unbiased. "Do you support closing the gun show loophole" vs "Do you support the ban on the sale of guns between private citizens without requiring a gun shop as an intermediary" Same outcome, but will get very different results.
      • by Professr3 (670356)
        Good point, and there's already a whole science devoted to this. I'm not sure how to mitigate it - even an independent organization that writes the questions would be subject to bias or bribery. We already see mass media using leading questions like this, so it makes sense that the government would do the same thing...
        • You mitigate it by making the elected polticians debate the questions and the exact format of them that will be put to the people.
  • We'd hope the US Congress would dare to collect real citizen input on its legislation, rather than just doing lip service or useless political arguments.

    Really, this is just a poll, and an extremely poor one at that. It is non-binding, and it excludes huge segments of the population (rural voters who don't have internet, or those who don't self-select to vote in online polls).

    In the US, politicians do listen to polls. It used to be that politicians followed the polls so much that 'poll chaser' was a typical insult of a politician. In the US, politicians follow polls, and the ones who go too far against the public will get voted out (when they public isn'

  • 3000 Yuan is close to $500 USD, not $5000.
  • real citizen input on its legislation"
    It's called representative government, and the Chinese citizens would love to have it.
    • As it is, the actual government of China is free to ignore what this almost pointless organ of state decides at any time it desires. The actual rulers of China are not bound by the rules of law.

  • No thank you (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:27PM (#36470978)

    "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it." - Kay, Men In Black

    Direct democracy can be a terrifying thing to behold. Just as the unregulated free market works great until people discover how to exploit negative externalities, direct democracy works great until people discover that they can vote themselves all kinds of short-term benefits and leave the long-term costs to the next generation.

    The idea behind representative democracy is that the people can make their will known to their representatives, but it's the representatives who will consider all aspects of the issue and balance short-term and long-term considerations so that they choose the best possible alternative. That's the theory, anyway. Unfortunately the system is only as good as the quality of the representatives, and in an age where our representatives seem to be chosen more for their entertainment value than their intelligence and statesmanship it's not much better than direct democracy. Sometimes it's even worse.

    • "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it." - Kay, Men In Black

      I'll be really happy when people stop using a quote from a 90s science-fiction comedy as evidence for social theories. Do you realize that is the only evidence you presented in your entire post? The rest was just your opinion. Your post would have been 500% better if you had come up with even a single real-world example to back your point. Like this guy. [slashdot.org] His facts aren't quite right, but at least he has something.

  • My theory is Democracy works well, but you need an educated voter, so make a site that educates voters instead of just makes them angry.

    On the website do the following:
    Allow people the ability to write petitions to the senators.
    Allow people to upvote/downvote comments factionally. This means a republican won't be drowned out by a democratic hivemind for example.
    Allow people to see their elected official's voting record vs his campaign promises.
    Allow people to see the campaign promises and views of th
    • If one of you wants to organize with me to make a website like this, let me know. I don't know CGI, but I know Flash. I have another person who would like to do this. We tried this once back in 2007, but we chose Ruby on Rails as our webserver, and it was very difficult to learn.

      Seriously, I'd love to organize with a few people and make a hyperdemocracy website. I don't know how to start an open source project and stuff. So no matter what you know, we could get together and figure out how we're to
  • by nebaz (453974) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:38PM (#36471034)

    Direct democracy has it's drawbacks as people here have already stated (California). But what if we went back to the original representation ratio of people in congress as prescribed in the Constitution to "The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand", that would require something like 10,000 representatives. That would be enough people to keep most individuals out of the limelight, so maybe they would actually try to do work rather than pander to their constituents.

    • And then, we'd be right back into the equivalent of a direct democracy, except it'd be one step removed from the actual voters.

      Face it, Democracy is a messy business. It sucks, but all other forms of government are even worse. We're stuck with this until we actually get better people.

  • Let the citizens vote for our policies that are obviously popular, while we decide we find new ways to censor the Internet behind closed doors. Democracy in action.

  • by poity (465672)

    Submitter claims a non-binding poll constituted a vote, while also implying that no such thing happens in the US
    Conducting a poll is in no way equal to holding a vote, and if anything US politicians are far too caught up in polling numbers.
    Two points in the summary -- both falsehoods.

    The only things we can learned from this story is:
    1. hackingbear is now a confirmed troll
    2. timothy needs to be made aware that if he intends to promote troll submissions, he better be prepared to explain to his employers the f

    • by jlusk4 (2831)

      He's not a troll. If you search on "hackingbear" you can see that he's (probably) just some Chinese adolescent who's fallen for the nationalist line that problems in the U.S. mean China is no worse off.

      Anthony Wiener's shens ==> it's ok to lock up dissidents in China. QED.

  • by Undead Waffle (1447615) on Friday June 17, 2011 @12:12AM (#36471138)

    The big difference between this and a normal poll is that it is one "official" poll that everyone can be directed to. I would love to see that sort of thing in the U.S. so it isn't as necessary to question the source and methodology of the poll results. If it were done right we could even tie the representative's voting record to the poll results and make it easy for people to identify whether a candidate is really representing their citizens, though that has a lot of potential for abuse.

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      The big difference between this and a normal poll is that it is one "official" poll that everyone can be directed to.

      The difference between this and a normal poll is around 81,707 samples.

      Most polls have a normalized/standardized sample size of about 1,000.
      This Chinese poll has a sample size of 82,707.

      Even if you normalize away ~25%* of the sample. it's still more than enough to figure out where the public's thoughts lie.
      *around 25% oversampling is a decent rule of thumb if you want to end up with 1,000 representative respondants

  • by emt377 (610337) on Friday June 17, 2011 @01:23AM (#36471398)

    We already have freely elected governments in the west and don't need stunts like this for legitimacy. If we disapprove of our politicians we replace them the next elections. If I were a Chinese party official I'd be very concerned over this: what if people get a taste for democracy and start demanding more of it?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We'd hope the US Congress would dare to collect real citizen input on its legislation

    Yeah, its called voting your leaders into power.

    We'd hope the Chinese Politburo would dare collect REAL citizen input.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday June 17, 2011 @02:14AM (#36471634)

    The internet isn't as present in China as it would be here. We're still talking about a tool for the rich and intellectuals. And that THEY want higher exemption was to be expected. I somehow don't think the Chinese government would allow any input that they can't rely on to be what they planned it to be.

    Direct democracy can also be a quite fickle thing, since people tend to be short sighted, uninformed or (worse) misinformed and egoistical. Not that politicians weren't, but it gets way worse when you put laws in the hands of people who then get bombarded by ads from various special interest groups (or, in China, just one), scaremongering the general (and generally dumb and gullible) population into believing the sky is falling if they don't vote "right". For reference, see elections.

    Then there's also the egoistical streak in every one of us. People will hardly agree that taxes are to be raised but they'd gladly vote for spending. Now how's that supposed to work out? If you want government to spend money on something, government first of all has to have money to spend. No income, no money, no spending. It's simple as that. But nobody wants to pay for it! Everyone wants good schools for their kids, well kept roads, enough police to keep everyone safe and a fire department that arrives a minute after the call to a greasefire, preferably with at least ten firetrucks. But tax me for that? Nooooo way, Jose! Tax my neighbor!

    Direct democracy works in a world of honest, sensible, socially inclined people. But if you have that, you can as well stick to representative democracy, because your politicians would be honest, sensible and socially responsible too. I mean, where do you expect them to come from but the population, these people don't come from out of this world. Even if their ideas sometimes sound a bit like they never spent a minute living here...

    • Are you serious? Have you ever been to China? You can walk into an internet cafe and get high speed internet for a few yuan an hour. The younger generation (high school to around 35ish) are all on the internet, or did you fail to notice the news stories about how almost everyone in Chinese cities uses the internet now?

      Also, raising the exemption to $5000 a year wouldn't matter a bit to the rich or the intellectuals, or are you saying that earning $30,000 a year in China makes someone rich?

      Even assuming that
  • China's Communism beats the hell out of American Democracy. The difference between Communism and Democracy? The spelling.
    Having worked there for a while, as well as other foreign countries I've come to the conclusion that freedom and democracy span about 6 feet. Or about as far as you can stretch your arms. If you believe America has so much freedom try raising chickens in your suburban yard.
    • by jlusk4 (2831)

      You're an idiot. I know some people who do exactly that.

      How about if I raise hogs next to YOUR suburban house?

  • China has managed to locate 82,707 dissidents trying to overturn their government.

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. -- John Muir

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