According to Wikipedia the Communist Party of China has over 80 million members. It is about 6% of the population! This is more than the total membership in many (or most) western democracies. I'm interested if there are any studies about the practical implications of such high number of party members. Can the Chinese government system be considered a limited form of democracy? This 80 million people can more or less influence the course of the party. Of course the choice is limited between options available inside party, but is it so different than in western democracies? Here we have also the choice limited to the few options given by the biggest parties.

Of course it is hard to define the influence of the single person. But in both systems the most radical ideas are eliminated. This is, for example, introducing death sentence in Europe (though in many countries such as Poland the great part of society is for the death sentence, the majority of politicians is against and such idea is practically eliminated as an option). Many people whose political views are practically eliminated are calling the western democracy a despotic dictature - because in both systems they have no chance to turn their ideas in life.

In the both systems the individual can only influence the course of politics, when his political views are in the range of accepted ideas. The radical ideas are eliminated can be realized only by revolution. So, considering the possibility of influence the political decisions made, are those systems so different or rather similar?

Are there any scientific or publicistic studies and researches in that area?

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    There might be a difference between the system in theory and the system in practice. Does the Communist Party of China really allow for independent people to run for election, or for party members to be delegated to the Party Congress if their views diverge? It might still be easier for an outsider to get in in say, Italy (Beppo Grillo) than it is in China. I don't know, just thinking. – gerrit Dec 5 '12 at 22:15
  • Well, the outsider in Italy will not land in prison (at least not in most cases), but he will have practically no influence too. – Danubian Sailor Dec 5 '12 at 23:07
  • "Can the Chinese government system be considered a limited form of democracy?" - of course. If it could not, it would not be considered democracy by the China itself. So if you want a more specific answer, you have to specify, considered by whom. That is Liberals, the West, the US, the UN etc. – Anixx Sep 29 '15 at 21:40
up vote 11 down vote accepted

Your question is based on the assumption that the ruling party of China has some sort of internal democracy, and that therefore China would have a sort of limited democracy.

However, the Communist Party of China is not internally democratic whatsoever. It is controlled from the top. You think that the 80 million members of the party can influence it, but this is not the case. You are a member because it looks good, and gives access to government jobs, etc, not because you want to affect the party.

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    As Lennart said, there is zero "Demorcatic" about the system. The definition of "Democracy" is every citizen having equal input into the decisions. In China, citizens (including a vast majority of Party members) have zero input. – user4012 Dec 5 '12 at 23:44
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    If you define the democracy as every citizen having equal input into the decisions, then there is not a single democratic system now or in history. How can you compare the influence of the single unqualified worker with those of the journalist or marketing expert? The death sentence is a good example: in Poland the big part of society is for, but this thema never even appears as parliament proposal, because the influential elite (mostly journalists and trend-makers) are against. Again, I'm not asking about the theory, but about practice. – Danubian Sailor Dec 6 '12 at 6:15
  • This was of course the comment for DKV :) – Danubian Sailor Dec 6 '12 at 6:18
  • @lechlukasz: It doesn't matter how you define democracy. The Chinese Communist Party isn't democratic. – Lennart Regebro Dec 6 '12 at 6:31
  • In the US you support the DNC to protect your bureaucratic position, against the working class. The hypocrisy is ridiculous. If you wanna call America democracy, then China is. Neither is democracy, not even in theory. – J. M. Becker Jun 22 '16 at 14:45

Democracy is a non - standard doctrine. As such, its universal tenets are not applicable in all countries. For instance, if the top elites decide who heads China, means a form of democracy has taken place. In other words, what constitutes democracy will differ from Country to Country.

In the both systems the individual can only influence the course of politics, when his political views are in the range of accepted ideas.

Not even then, because dropping a piece of paper into a box has no effect on what a politician can do once in office. Voting is 100% ineffective as a means of changing the course of a nation.

The radical ideas are eliminated can be realized only by revolution. So, considering the possibility of influence the political decisions made, are those systems so different or rather similar?

The systems are fundamentally the same, because every country is an arrangement of rulers ruling over their subjects.

You, as a subject, obey your rulers' commands (aka "laws"), or you're punished for disobedience. China is an outright police state / dictatorship, but Western countries still have a considerably thicker PR layer on top of the fundamentals.

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