In the U.S., election fatigue has driven people to tears. In China, it’s a struggle to hear even a murmur from behind the closed doors of the 18th Party Congress. China Digital Times
China is in the midst of their "elections" too. And it just may benefit us to keep an eye on the sweeping congressional changes that are taking place there, as party factions shift power with Xi Jinping taking over. I suspect that there will be some progressive happenings with the Communist Party, which could take years, or could happen very quickly. It depends on which virtues decide to take over. If you witnessed the speed with which they majorly overhauled Beijing in preparation for the Olympic Games you wouldn't be surprised by lightening quick political reform. On the other hand, if you have sat teapot after teapot, ganbei after ganbei trying to establish some guanxi, you might also not be surprised that it takes a generation to get anything done there*. So we can only wait and see what happens and see what ideology the new general secretary of the CPC (or CCP or PRC) adheres to. In the meantime, all pigeons must be caged, toy helicopters kept out of the sky, marathons canceled, windows and doors on taxi cabs are to be child locked and knives, pencil sharpeners forbidden to be sold. No songs with the words, death, die or dead allowed to air on the radio or TV. Should the weather fail to cooperate...measures have been in place to take care of that since 2008. If you are a Chinese dissident you can forget about leaving your house from August through the completion of the Congress. And you are welcome to be alive.
I love the U.S., it's capitalism and it's freedoms of speech and rights to do nearly anything you might wish to do (including voting), and I really like China and feel that in general it's government cares for the well being of it's people their quality of life (the U.S. has wacky, absurd news too, just Google it). And most all of the people I have met in China are very happy. So here's to hoping that the best is yet to come for both countries. Ganbei!
* My mom recently sent me this quote by Michael Schuman of Time clipped out of The Week magazine and it is so true - One of the most persistent – and persistently bewildering – conversations I’m forced to endure with international businessmen (and especially Americans) is about their view on the marvels of Chinese efficiency. They paint China as a wonderland of quick transport, quick decision making, and quick-witted government officials. If only the U.S. operated like China, the argument goes, all of America’s problems could get solved.
My response to this is: Live here for a while. I can imagine pampered visitors thinking China is something it is not. If you fly into the nifty airports in Beijing or Shanghai, get whisked by a waiting driver to your snazzy hotel, have a few meetings, and then get escorted out again, China might appear to be a sparkling vision of modernity. But spend any time here, or try to really do anything, and the notion that China is an efficient place is rudely exposed as a myth.