chapter
14 Pages

Introduction

Various Western democratic seeds have been ‘planted’ in modern Chinese political institutions and culture. At the beginning of this century, China adopted Western democratic institutions such as the first formally democratic institution of the gentry-the city council (1905-14)—and representative institutions (1909-13) at local and national levels. However, these institutions failed in the end. After that, both the Nationalist Party in the 1930s and 1940s and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) after 1949 established autocratic or totalitarian systems in the name of either Sun Yatsen’s idea of democracy or of the Chinese Marxist view of democracy. Since the 1970s, a demand for true democracy has been a major theme in Chinese communities: two major democratic movements (1978-89) have emerged in mainland China; there was a democratic breakthrough in Taiwan in the late 1980s; and the success of a democratic party in the 1991 election in Hong Kong.