Answers to Is China considered to be democratic range from "theoretically yes, but..." to "No!".

Question: From a perspective of the life experience of everyday people, how much does political participation more resemble living in a communist state?

To help clarify my question, imagine that one was required to answer two questions based on real life experience; "I know that I am living in a communist state because...", and the other "...that I am not living...".

  • I think this question is too broad to answer in this format. There are several aspects to consider: democracy, economics etc. There have been more detailed questions here on all of these. The democracy one is already linked. Here's one for economics: politics.stackexchange.com/questions/41251/… – Fizz Mar 8 '20 at 8:46
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    You see this as a simple matter because you consider those issues definitory of "communism" as you define it. You'd be better off asking your underlying questions directly and explicitly. Conversely, you could ask about the definition(s) of communism. What we have here is not very far off from "Is Trump fascist?" except you ask is "Is China communist?" These questions are hard to answer without getting into what those terms mean, and they can mean a few different things. – Fizz Mar 8 '20 at 9:49
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    When you find an "index of communism" for countries, as opposed to ones for democracy, economic freedom etc., I'll answer your question, as you asked it. – Fizz Mar 8 '20 at 10:07
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    @uhoh Since China is the largest and most powerful "communist" state in the world today, I feel that answers to the question as written could too easily fall into a circular-argument, shaped-like-itself trap: everything people in China do is "typical communism", because China is the yardstick by which we most people measure "communism". In contrast, here is a question that provides a detailed definition of communism to measure against: politics.stackexchange.com/q/25743/12081 – MJ713 Mar 10 '20 at 0:12
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    @uhoh Perhaps you could ask the question "In what ways does the average Chinese citizen participate in politics?". Just spitballing here. – MJ713 Mar 10 '20 at 0:12

China is evidently neither democratic nor communist. (There are many other sorts of governments.) While censorship, torture, and other human rights violations are scarcely unknown in democracies, China is a one-party state, with government officials chosen by the Party Congress and ordinary people having no say.

Nor is China in any way communist, despite keeping the name and some trappings for face-saving reasons. As evidence, consider that there are over 300 billionaires (in US dollars) in the country, most if not all of whom made their wealth in various market-related activities: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Chinese_by_net_worth This is incompatible with either Communist theory, or with actual practice of past Communist states, where "wealth" only accrues to the Party leadership as a consequence of their position.

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    Having one non-Communist attribute hardly justify the claim that China is not "in any way communist". – Acccumulation Mar 9 '20 at 0:55
  • I think the answer is correct. But you could add more evidence like the lack of labour rights. – FluidCode Mar 9 '20 at 11:45
  • @Acccumulation: While that's true in general, the existence of (private enterprise) billionares violates the fundamental tenet of Communism: the one that's usually stated as "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs", so it's hard to see how China could be considered to be communist. But I'm willing to consider suggestions. – jamesqf Mar 9 '20 at 19:58
  • @FluidCode: I don't really see how labour rights are a factor. Communist societies don't have them, at least in the real world. Democracies have existed without much of what would be considered labour rights today, e.g. US & Britain before around the 1920s or so. – jamesqf Mar 9 '20 at 20:01

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