Chinese state-run newspapers have repeatedly heaped scorn on the US elections and its endless stream of scandals, concluding that American-style democracy is corrupt and scandalous and would never work in a country like China.
Now, the chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing, James Zimmerman, strikes back at the critique.
“The Communist Party claims that their behind-the-door vetting of leadership makes for more qualified candidates, and that there is no room for either populists or transparency in the leadership succession process in Beijing,” he said in a statement on Friday.
“But I wholly disagree and defend the US system that is, although imperfect, a process that allows for the people to democratically make the decisions and not a few at the top as in the case of a one-party political system.”
An opinion piece in China Daily described the “chaotic” election campaign as highlighting the “dysfunction of democracy.”
“The 2016 presidential election has made one thing clear, the US needs political reform,” it concluded.
Global Times called Donald Trump an “insolent populist” who “attacks Muslims and is suspected of sexism”, while Hillary Clinton “used private e-mails to discuss national secrets and destroyed the evidence.”
“The election will continue to be the top entertainment in the US,” the publication concluded.“The race to the bottom will continue to mislead people, as well as make them rethink the value of democracy.”
I wholly disagree and defend the US system that is, although imperfect, a process that allows for the people to democratically make the decisions and not a few at the top
– James Zimmerman
Meanwhile, People’s Daily called the election a “chaotic political show.”
Zimmerman said that being a country with transparency and openness can result in“ugliness that some may find unpalatable and volatile.” But despite the turbulent election campaign, with its smear campaigns and ugly outbursts, Zimmerman said that the exposé of the candidates’ past behavior is a direct result of the openness and press freedoms enjoyed in America.
“Under China’s system, the past sins and inadequacies of the leadership could get buried behind closed doors and there is very little that either the Chinese press or the people can do about it,” he said.
He added that China also is plagued by political scandals, exemplifying with the recent expulsion of 45 members of the National People’s Congress from Liaoning Province for buying their way into the legislature.
“On Nov. 8, the American people – at least those not on the fringe – will demonstrate to the world that our very open system of governance is rational, sane and reflective of the will of the people as a whole, and not just a few,” Zimmerman said.
In a provocative – and criticized – TED talk in 2013, Eric X. Li, a Chinese investor and political scientist, explained why he thinks the Chinese meritocratic model is superior to Western democracy.