Democracy and chaos? — erosion of freedom without democracy

The Chinese argument that democracy leads to chaos resurfaces in the midst of the Umbrella Movement. When Jack Sndyer published the Chinese edition of his “Democratization and War,” I mentioned that Chinese would love his argument, using it to support the long-standing Chinese argument that democratization would cause chaos. Here is what Jack said: You don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Note that Jack’s argument is that the rule of law and the free press are essential for successful democratization. As it happens, HK is a case of freedom without democracy — what is at stake is that the rule of law and the free press are being eroded without democracy. What protestors are defending are precisely such “core values of HK.”

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong economy and the stock exchange continue to do well overall, thus debunking the argument that the Occupy movement has hurt HK’s economy.


See “Who undermines the rule of law


Snyder’s argument:

See also:

Joseph T. Siegle, Michael M. Weinstein, and Morton H. Halperin, “Why Democracies Excel,” Foreign Affairs, Volume 83, No. 5, September/October 2004, pp. 57-71; Joseph T. Siegle, Michael M. Weinstein, and Morton H. Halperin, The Democracy Advantage: How Democracies Promote Prosperity and Peace, New York: Routledge, 2005.

This description of how Putin perceives order in Russia is just as apt:

Kryshtanovskya described siloviki culture in the following way: “What is ‘disorder’ in the eyes of a man in uniform? It’s the absence of control. If there is not control, there is the possibility of independent influence. And siloiki perceive the presence of alternative centers of power in the country as a threat to the country’s integrity. The Duma is not subordinate to the presidential admin? Disorder. Gazprom is led by Vyakhirev and not the Kremlin? Disorder. Political parties wanted something, the mass media talked about something? All of this is disorder that must be liquidated. And they liquidated it. In seven years the chekists have completely changed the political system in the country, not changing one letter of the Constitution. (Brian D. Taylor, State Building in Putin’s Russia: Policing and Coercion after Communism, Cambridge University Press, 2011, p. 62.)

What HK people are defending and why they are so upset:

Erosion of the free press

Erosion of the Independent Commission against Corruption


What the rule of law means in China:

What China Means by ‘Rule of Law’ By PAUL GEWIRTZ OCT. 19, 2014

Rule of law in China with legal characteristics

Rules of the party

Communist Party plenum faces challenges to legal reform: “a Xinhua article yesterday, discussing how people perceived legal reforms, quoted an anonymous Heilongjiang official saying that it was people’s lack of respect for the rule of law that stood in the way of reform. It added that the attitude problem was even worse among officials.”


An Indian scholar offers advice to HK in the China Daily: Hong Kong should avoid the ‘democracy’ trap

1 Comment

Filed under Umbrella Movement

One response to “Democracy and chaos? — erosion of freedom without democracy

  1. Pingback: HK protestors and American slaves | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement and Beyond

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s