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Information Technology: Gateway to Direct Democracy in China and the World

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Abstract

The world watches as China moves towards greater democracy. The question in everyone's minds, including Chinese themselves, is “what model will China arrive at, at the journey's end?” There are many lessons to be learnt from other countries, some positive (Tanzania) and some negative (Laos). The United States has no doubts about the “goodness” of its own model but their unthinking belief in the superiority of their model should not be accepted at face value. The Chinese government and people will understandably be considering various different models very carefully, so that they can choose the best possible model for their country, and their own context. In this paper we will consider why current Western models of constitution should be viewed with caution by China as it attempts to move towards an improved socialist democracy. The paper considers the electronic voting system used in the US presidential elections, and draws attention to the opportunities for vote rigging that this type of electronic voting facilitates. It also looks at models of democracy used in the ancient world, and compares these with modern systems. Finally, it presents a secure and anonymous mechanism for electronic voting on issues of concern to the population. We conclude by sounding a note of caution about the dangers of plebiscites being used as rubber stamps by dictators if there are inadequate controls over who puts issues to the vote.

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