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A country can be regarded as a democratic one when the authoritarian type of government is not used to rule the country and the people are not oppressed by an authoritarian government and their authorities are elected by the people. As long as the authorities in some of the Asian countries are elected, democracies in these countries still lack the characteristics which can be associated with democracy in other parts of the world. “In other words, if a country is said to be democratic all the people who are involved in politics-citizens, civil societies, politicians – usually accept the rules of the democratic game” (potter 356).
“There are two broad types of democratization in Asia countries i.e. the have and the have-not type of democracy and this has been influenced by various things, including “culture and ethnic cleavage that has greatly contribute in democratization not occurring in Asian countries” (potter 354).
Social and Economic
“The countries in Asia have many things in common, from natural resources to geographical locations, they all have almost similar populations and they have undergone same historical experiences but one thing which is independent of each country is culture” (Potter 240)
Values but not institutions have been the determinant factor in democratic transitions from the authoritarian type of government to a democratic type of government. Market-oriented economies and political institutions in these countries have been put in place after they got their independence, but some still fear to embrace these values because of the communist ideology which their leaders still have, for example, Japan and China. “They have not embraced open market policies and little has to be put in place in terms of political institutions because their culture cannot accommodate these values” (Huntington 240).
“China and Soviet Union have a culture in their countries, where the powers in the government are centralized placed, Fang Linzhi once said at least due to lack of democracy as a result of a culture which has impacted negatively to the nation, but culture cannot be blamed squarely for those 40 years which have passed” (Cotton 239). Fang Linzhi was saying this because the culture in China cannot accommodate any type of democracy.
Historically in Japanese culture, it was made up of a class of different people depending on what you own in the country. These classes in the nation are the ones used to determine the democracy in that nation because each class pursues its own interest in the country. The dominant class has always been anti-democracy in Japanese society and they are the likes of landowners who have been exploiting cheap labor from the lower class i.e. the workers. Due to democracy in parts of Japan social welfare of its workers in rural areas has improved and this was happening in areas where the landowners were weak and didn’t have much influence on the government.
The workers in the urban centers and peasants in the rural areas were grouped as middle and lower class respectively; they were the ones who had an interest in democracy in Japan so as to improve their own welfares and to prevent oppression from the upper class. The bourgeoisies-they fall between the upper class and the workers- most of the time they have not been against democracy in Japan as you compared them with the landowners but in recent times they have been seen to push for substantive democracy in Japan. “Other times they have been seen to be anti-democracy in areas where their interests were not being addressed” (Potter 245)
“The influence of classes and the role of the government have been fundamental to the success and failure of democratization in Asia countries” (Potter 358). “These Asian traditions, its cultures did not allow democracy and this led to dictatorship in various sectors of the country” (Huntington 241)
Cotton, James.The limits to liberalization in industrializing Asia.New York; Pacific Affairs, 1991. Print.
Huntington, Samuel. The third wave: democratization in the late twentieth century. Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1993. Print.
Potter, David. Democratization. London: Wiley-Blackwell Publisher, 1997. Print.