Transition to a more political democratic system from an authoritarian regime in China and Japan is what this piece looks into. In this case, we will discuss democratisation after the World War II in the two Asian countries. How they have transited from their authoritarian regime to achieve consolidated democracy. Even to date, they are still in the transition process. The outcome of such a transition may be consolidation whereby the people are given a right to vote and to have a voice in the political system. The transition is done under consideration of factors influence democratisation including but not limited to; economic development, history and civil society.
Looking at Japan, From the promulgation of a new constitution to the reforms in education and leadership conditions, Japan has been able to come up with a working set of structures to steer its growth to the present. On the political front, Japan has made progress by instituting a new constitution in 1947. From the constitution, the emperor who was previously the sovereign authority lost his political and military power and only came a symbol of Japan rather than a political figure.
On women participation in Japan politics has been elevated as they obtained full political rights in 1945 to be equal to their male counterparts. As a result, in 1946 during the national elections, many women were voted and elected to both domestic and local offices. Though the women representation in Japan is still wanting, much progress has been made to lift women’s status in politics in the Diet’s House, which is the house of councillors.
At the culmination of World War II, China was still under the rule of Kuomintang (KMT) or the nationalist party and Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The KMT controlled the cities while the CCP had their stronghold in the countryside (Shih, Adolph & Liu, 2012).
Democratisation in China is seen first in 1978 when Deng Xiaoping, a veteran Communist Party leader emerged as a principal leader in China. He headed major economic reforms. Families were given the right to lease land and sell a set amount of the farms produce to the government at a stable price. The rest of the produce they would sell to the free market at unfixed prices. Private enterprises possessed by individuals were legalized. Reforming the state-owned enterprises was a significant challenge as they would have to compete against the privately owned companies.
China’s constitution was amended. Under the law, private enterprise was considered as vital components in the socialist market economy. In 2006, half of Chinas economy output and half of industrial production was accounted from the private sector as a result. The private sector has contributed to the rapid Gross Domestic Product growth rate.
The China constitution now allows political campaigning, primary elections and secret balloting (Howell, 2012). The government has also worked hard to improve trust among the people by trying to eliminate corruption among officials and prevent social unrest. The Chinese people can now discuss public matters and criticize the government freely.
Authoritarian rule is one in which the citizens have limited freedom and power is centred on leaders. It stands as a contrast to democracy. In China, authoritarian was mostly pronounced during Mao Zedong reign. He embraced communism, and his party ruled through democratic dictatorship. Before world war II, Japan was led by an emperor who had all the power especially politically. Women were not allowed to participate in politics and their rights were infringed.
Conclusively, economic, social and political advancement in states is as a result of the fight for democracy. It is also evident that most political ties among countries are as a result of help offered after the WW2. Despite the blood that was shed, the struggle was for a good course. Therefore, citizens should at all times uphold the spirit of democracy as it is a rule for the people by the people.
- Shih, V., Adolph, C., & Liu, M. (2012). Getting ahead in the communist party: explaining the advancement of central committee members in China. American Political Science Review, 106(01), 166-187
- Howell, J. (2012). Civil society, corporatism and capitalism in China. Journal of Comparative Asian Development, 11(2), 271-297.