Prerequisite for the right to vote

Nearly all countries require their residents to have a driving license before they are allowed to drive cars on the road. They do not allow any person to drive without a license.

They have the individual right to drive a car, but they must prove that they will drive the car responsibly by getting a license.

This practice is well accepted. Nobody argues against this loss of freedom to drive a car without a license.

This concept also applies to voting for the leaders of a country. In order to vote, the resident must be eligible. In most countries, the right is based on being a citizen and above a certain age.

I prefer that an additional requirement should be imposed. The eligible person should also pass a test on knowledge of the country’s constitution.

If a person does not know the constitution, he or she should not be allowed to vote.

In the communist party system in China, the right to vote is given to members of the communist party. The membership represents 9% of all adult citizens. There are 90 million members in the party.

A member of the party is required to study and understand the constitution of China. The constitution enshrines a socialist system under the leadership of the communist party.

If any Chinese citizen does not like the constitution, he or she is free to migrate to another country which is willing to accept them. China does not stop people from leaving the country. They did stop them in the past, but this has changed.

Hundreds of millions of Chinese nationals travel each year out of China. They return to the country willingly.

In theory, every person who wishes to join the communist party as a member is allowed to do so. In practice, the party does have some additional restrictions on who they accept as their members. Perhaps they have a quota on the number of members in each locality.

I would prefer a system where everybody who wishes to join the party should be allowed to do so. But I am not aware if there are strong reasons to have the quota.

Even if there is a quota on the members of the party, I would not argue against that practice in principle. I consider 9% to be quite a high proportion of the population.

The members of the party vote for their leaders at the local level, maybe the village that they live in. The village leaders vote for their leaders at the county level. The county leaders vote for the provincial leaders. The provincial leaders vote for the national leaders.

I prefer this system of election. The party members can be expected to know the candidates in the village well and can make the choice. They are likely to elect the most capable people who are less corrupt and cares about the village.

The election at the higher levels are likely to produce similar outcomes.

There is no guarantee that this system will prevent the people in power from being corrupt. But if they are corrupt, the voting system can act as a check and the leaders can be removed from power.

There is also the discipline within the party to deal with corruption and abuse of power.

Within the party, we can expect leaders to form groups, or cliques. This is part of the natural outcome of social groups. However, this group is not formalized into a party with separate ideologies. All party members have to follow the national ideology as enshrined in the constitution.

I do not hold the view that the communist party system is perfect. I am sure that many people can point out its flaws and abuses.

However, I wish to argue that there are merits to this system. It is quite democratic, at least within the party, and is able to produce capable and honest (hopefully) leaders to lead the country.

If we compare the quality of the leaders produced by different countries, I would say that China comes out at or near the top. There are merits to the communist party system.

I am not saying that the communist party system is the best among all the political systems. I only say that it is a good system. I also like some other systems, such as the direct democracy adopted in Switzerland and the proportional representation system adopted in Germany.

I wish to summarize with the following main points:

a) We need a good system to produce the right leaders for a country
b) We should restrict the right to vote to people who are qualified to exercise the right.
c) The system of voting at various levels is probably better than voting directly for the top leaders.


Tan Kin Lian





9 Responses to “Prerequisite for the right to vote”

  • Hm… after having spent a decade living in China and enjoying some of the benefits accorded to China’s citizens, I never knew that some of the practices which Tan wrote actually exists at all.

    I don’t know which year Tan actually visited China but being married to a daughter of a farmer staying in a village, I have not encountered an instance in a decade that the village head is “voted” into office, although I am ready to accept that there may be such a provision. From what I know, such officials are mostly “appointed”, the more appropriate word since they are all pre-selected by a panel consisting of party members (think PE committee). And when there are instances of actual voting, its mostly for small ikan billis appointments.

    I have also never heard of a village head “voting” for county officials nor county officials “voting” for city officials and so on and so forth. They are mostly pre-selected by a panel of party members, as far as I know.

    I have also never heard that anyone can join the Communist Party as a member because as far as I know, there are very strict restrictions and those who join are either connected, invited or recommended by “SOMEONE”. Tom, Dick or Harry don’t simply walk into an office and apply to be a member although I do know that civil servants do qualify and can apply to be a member.

    As for merits to the communist party system, I do not disagree with Tan, if compared with the Sinkapore so-called democracy. There are always pros and cons to whatever system but overall, I think it is better managed than Sinkapore’s.

    As a farner, no need to be afraid police decides to cheong mobile phone or midnight knock on door because I took a selfie with a smiley. No need to worry about POFMA or the provincial head send lawyer letter because I posted that cotton is harvested from sheep.

    For commoner, as long as don’t touch politics and the Ts, living in China is much more senang and stree-free than in Sinkapore. Some more, the police in China are more approachable and humane, not suka suka small small thing also catch, arrest and lock up even though their remand system upon arrest is IMHO, harsh and unpredictable because whether to grant bail or not is not clearly stipulated by law and is entirely up to the police and prosecution. One can be remanded without bail for months simply for injuring someone slightly (轻伤) in a one-to-one fight.

    Medication in China is also relatively cheaper and affordable, especially for an old man like me suffering from 高血压 and 痛风.

    These are of course my own experience and opinion, not sure if others in China feel the same.

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  • Stop spreading fake news:

    Mr Tan, where did you get this idea that only CCP members can vote? This is incorrect.

    See here:中華人民共和國選舉

    Many say their candidates are tightly controlled. Well, nothing can compare with how Singapore’s president candidates are controlled. It should be singular. Nothing can compare with how the Singapore president candidate IS controlled.

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  • BlindAsBat:

    You install ultimately a man into the highest point of administrative power, you have become a willing subservient, willing tools and children of and under his creative genius or insanity.

    Whether china, singapore, america or europe, the system is the same but differ only in the apparatus to find the king of the jungle.

    Even the vatican in principle fits into your apparatus of selecting or electing the chosen one or ones.

    Problem is, sheep like you don’t see a problem there. That’s why the saying where the blind leads the blind comes about.

    Don’t be deceived by the illusion of prosperity and order. If you can’t see that you are actually poor and dumb you deserve the destructive nature of the common social construct everywhere. Millions have been made poor and many lives permanently destroyed and lost(unjustifiable deaths). You just dont have the collective and overview figure or access to the actual statistics under the present restrictive govts to know the real truth. Even in “first world” and a wealthy nation like singapore there are hundreds of thousands dependant on govt handouts or some form of social aids. The number is staggering considering its tiny size. Though a successful nation relative to others, it rides on over inflated assets and unrelatics asperation.

    This is due to your electoral and market system rooted in your vanities and your liberal consumption which led to inequitable corruption perpetuated as a social norn and is even honourable.

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  • oxygen:

    @ Tan KL

    MEMBERSHIP to the CCP is a licence to corruption escaped of accountability and law.

    If communist party system of self-select corruption is a ‘GOOD SYSTEM” (in your vocabulary), why don’t you and your family apply for its green card and prosper there in happiness so that we no longer hear or read your facile farts here?

    Why are you complaining about democracy? Why don’t you stop complaining and move there now?

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  • Vote for change:

    Your comparison of right to drive vehicle vs right to vote is bad as you are comparing apple vs orange!

    As a citizen your right to vote is a privilege! It is ONE PERSON ONE VOTE.


    What you think?

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  • Socrates Hated Democracy:

    ”Book Six of the Republic would lead one to believe that Socrates hated the notion of democracy. He believed if the demos could vote by birthright, people would make ill-informed and foolish decisions, since not everyone can be a philosopher – this would then lead to a ‘corruption of majority’. He rather regarded voting as a skill only acquired by knowledge and wisdom and intellect.”..
    —-TKL, your point about pre-qualifying for right to vote was made by Socrates in 470 B.C.
    —One-man-one-vote will always fail because the average mind can always be manipulated; esp through fear and anger.
    —Thus they vote not in the best interest of themselves or of society; but in the interest of those in power.
    —Sinkieland is a prime example; high percantage of the 70% cotton-producing-sheep; living their whole life in papig-created fear enviroment.
    —We are living in the age of ‘corruption of Majority’; ditto Trump’s America.
    —Socrates foresaw this 2500 years ago.

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    When JB Jeyeretnam won Anson… the Bastard appeared on TV @2am and said the voting system should be changed…

    “2 votes for the Eucated and ONE foe the Lower Mortals or Less Educated”

    “THINK”…not you lah Tan Ahhh!!!…it may tire your brains

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  • trublu:

    If TKL truly believe in COMMUNISM,cud he declare himself a COMMIE like a man rather than bark like a stray?

    Admit you are commie n i want to see if they send their agents to come after you the way they haunt SUSPECTED COMMIES who have to run away and take refuge elsewhere even as they ASK US TO WARMLY EMBRACE TRUE RED COMMIES INTO SG?

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  • A Confucian memo:

    With the international trading order in tatters, the debate over globalization is front and center. To make heads or tails of the uncertainty and looming conflict, let’s look at it through the prism of philosophy and history. Back in China’s Warring States Period before the Qin Dynasty, all sorts of thoughts and leadership battled for dominance. Confucianism then was the idea whose time had come. Fast forward to modern times, in a way more complex world, could ancient Chinese philosophy help shed some light? Professor Tu Weiming, one of the most famous Confucian thinkers in centuries when it comes to comparing Chinese philosophy as a living ancient civilization with those of Western ideas.

    Lessons of Confucian Philosophy on World Affairs

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