"Democracy" in Iraq, Ukraine, China and Japan

Monday, January 31 2005 @ 01:30 AM JST

Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto

In a matter of weeks we have seen the very idea of democracy tested in those four countries, with 180-degree different outcomes between Iraq/Ukraine and China/Japan.

As for the Yushchenko's Orange Revolution, we saw the Ukrainians acting as a courageous and mature people with high self-esteem, unlike Russians who have increasingly been allowing the ex-KGB spy to act like a Czar. As a blogger with a handle of raulkyyv puts it in his Orange Revolution website, it was quite something in the light of the fact that "millions of people have died around the world in the past century for much less than what is at stake here."

As for Iraq, the most recent unconfirmed report has it 72% of eligible voters cast ballots despite the terrorists' attacks on poll stations that killed "at least 36 people." Be reminded here that in the Nov. 2003 general elections for the Japan's House of Representatives, voter turnout stood at as low as 61%. It's far from unlikely, though, that the great leap forward the Iraqis have taken is to suffer a significant setback in the near future. But one thing is for sure: Those candidates and voters who took part in the groundbreaking elections of January 30, 2005, will never be grumbling, as the Japanese do six decades after the pacifisct Constitution was "imposed" on them, over the fact a new nation that is just being founded owes a lot to the Bush's America. These people, no matter whether they are anti- or pro-U.S. and regardless of their ethnic and religious backgrounds, literally risked their lives just by going to the polling stations. The likes of Jacques Chirac or Gerhart Schroder must know they didn't risk their lives to save Bush's face.

When it comes to China, we have already learned that Hu Jintao won't ever be able to straighten out the mess caused by the salad of the Chinese adaptation of Marxism and market economy. Most recently, Hu decided to donate a generous US$ 1 million to the Iraqis to help ensure the polls be carried out without major disruptions. On the other hand, Hu made up his mind, after a week-long hesitation, to, hold a tightly controlled funeral on January 29 for deceased "Comrade" Zhao Ziyang. The former CCP's chief, who had been under house arrest since he was ousted from the position for sympathizing with the pro-democracy protesters at Tiananmen Square in 1989, died on January 17 at the age of 85. Some liken him to Mikhail Gorbachev. But I think Gorby would have acted quite differently when the military crackdown was about to be launched. But just the same, reports from Beijing and Hong Kong have it that at least 15 people, including those alumni of the class of 1989 such as Ma Shaofang, have disappeared or been detained since they traveled to Beijing to lay their wreaths in honor of Zhao. Let me reiterate one more time that if China's collapse can be defined as the collapse of the CCP's reign, it's a question of when, not whether. Anyone who crystal-balls that it will happen in five- to ten-years time is not so off the mark as he may look.

And Japan. Its offenses against civil liberty are really innumerable despite the empty promise in Chapter III of its Constitution, the one "illegitimately" imposed by the U.S. occupation forces 59 years ago. Cases where our humanrights are abused and our civil liberty is shackled, in a subtly institutionalized and legitimatized way, are so commonplace in this nation that I just can't single out an incident when comparing Japan to the other three "democracies".

I hope the Chinese and the Japanese alike are so innovative as to invent some other words than democracy with which to cosmeticize their deceptive systems, which is what I want them to do ASAP. Otherwise, we are doomed to see the two imposters competing against each other to become the world's second largest economy by, say, 2008, while both are claiming to be democracies. That would certainly mislead the world to believe as if democracy is the only formula for success, and thus would stigmatize all the values associated with it.

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