05/01/2020 No. 155
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Discuss the Issue of Democracy with Dr. Lester Lee
By Wenquan Lu Translator Sheng-Wei Wang
April 1, 2013

I diligently read Dr. Lester Lee’s article entitled "A Tale of two Democracies" published at www.ChinaUSFriendship.com on February 1, 2013. I felt that the article presented quite new ideas and that I would especially like to do a bit more study with the author. The article analyzed the operational mode of electing politicians and then raised the question that if the one-person-one-vote is not a good idea, then what is the way to improve election efficiency? Dr. Lee’s own answer to this question was that the most important factor is to improve voters’ wisdom. Namely, it is still necessary to elect politicians and the only matter is to "increase voters’ wisdom." The author believes that one-person-one-vote should not be the only generally applicable method to produce the rulers. The world is big and national conditions are complicated, rulers can be generated from one-person-one-vote election, but also by "appointment" or "inheritance." In fact, the latter two approaches have been practiced in the past and at present by some countries and the results proved to be not necessarily bad.


Does "one person, one vote" that reflects democracy have other benefits? It does. It can be used to decide whether the incumbent politicians should step down. That is to say, politicians whether elected, appointed or inherited can be assigned by the one-person-one-vote to stay in power or immediately step down.


According to the author's observation, the current political democracy being talked about is particularly concerned with how the rulers come into power; it lacks legitimacy if they are not elected by one-person-one-vote. And once they take office after "winning" the election, it is not easy to make them step down before their terms expire. As Dr. Lee said, with this mode of operation it is very easy to provide opportunities to those politicians who are good at delivering lofty words. However, the operation of choosing rulers can be changed into election, appointment, inheritance, or even self-recommendation; except that after coming into power for a period of time (e.g. one year), the rulers are to face the one-person-one-vote test. If the supporting votes are not more than half of the votes cast, then the ruler must step down. This approach diversifies the ways of letting politicians come into power while using one-person-one-vote to decide whether they should step down. It will not only provide easier opportunities for political leaders who can “truly benefit the public, have ability and wisdom and deeply believe taking the whole world as one community to take office. These politicians after taking office are also more likely to be people-based and supported by people.  So their supporting rates will more easily exceed half of the votes. As long as they receive people's support, they can stay in power and their political life can be relatively stable. The kind of politicians who are good at delivering lofty words, even if they come into power as opportunists, are in reality mostly manipulative, even if they say "let the people decide." They have difficulty obtaining the support of the majority of the votes, therefore find it hard to stay in power for a long time.


In short, the focus of democracy that reflects one-person-one-vote should be placed on the assessment on the incumbent politicians instead of the only means for them to come into power. Think about it: a person who has never been a president by luck becomes the president in the one-person-one-vote victory by delivering lofty words. No matter how poorly he/she performs in the presidential position, it will be very difficult for the people who already casted the one vote in their hands to do anything. What is this democracy? In fact, common people are more concerned with how well the president performs and it is more important to have truly "people-based" governance. Therefore, one-person-one-vote to decide whether the president should step down can better reflect democracy. The use of such a “stepping-down ballot” as a way of democratic politics can be a big change in the democratic political life!

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Professor Wenquan Lu was born in 1939 in Wulong County of Chongqing. He graduated from the Department of Technical Physics of the University of Science and Technology of China in 1963. From 1981 to 1983, he did research on the subject of fiber optics at the Institute of Optical Engineering of the Physics Department, Technical University of Berlin in Germany. He stayed at the Guilin Laser Communication Institute of the Ministry of Electronics Industry for his entire career, engaging in research and development related to the electromagnetic wave applications. He has published more than 60 academic papers including “A Numerical Solution to the Ray Equation” and holds five Chinese Invention and Utility Model Patents including “A Reflective Optical Fiber Probe.”He has created a whole new kind of Electromagnetic Spectrum Table and holds its copyrights. He was Director of the Research Laboratory of Guilin Laser Communication Institute and Office of Development Strategic Planning, and Deputy Chief Engineer until retirement, former referee for the Photoelectron Scientific and Technological Award of the Ministry of Electronic Industry, former member of the advisory group of experts for Guangxi industrial restructuring, former referee of the National Natural Science Foundation of China, etc. He receives a life-time special allowance from the State Council. After his retirement in 2002, he taught the course of Optical Fiber Communication Technology in the Department of Electronic Science and Technology of Guilin University for five years and produced, in collaboration with others, six master degree students in three different years. In 2012 he went together with his wife of nearly 50 years to stay with their son who immigrated to Montreal, Canada, and to visit relatives for half a year. Currently he lives in Guilin City, Guangxi, and enjoys a happy life in his later years.
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