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Chinese Legislature Conducts Large Online Vote

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the long-distance-abacus dept.

China 152

hackingbear writes "In a bid to reform the tax law and raise person tax exemption to 3000 Yuan per month (or about US$5000 per year,) from 2000 Yuan per month, the Chinese legislature has conducted a massive online vote on the pending legislation. The [National People's Congress] Standing Committee, China's top legislature, on Wednesday publicized suggestions and opinions on amending the Law on Individual Income Tax that were submitted online from April 25 to May 31. Among all 82,707 citizens who commented on the proposal, [only] 15 percent of them favored raising the exemption to 3,000 yuan. However, 48 percent suggested to further raise the exemption to 5,000 yuan per month. While the online votes are not binding, the outcome likely shape the final bill. We'd hope the US Congress would dare to collect real citizen input on its legislation, rather than just doing lip service or useless political arguments."

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Fags! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36470668)

Fags! Niggers! Chinks! Kikes! Spics! Wops! Micks!

Mod me down if you're a liberal faggot who loves to hoke down nigger dicks.

What a concept! (4, Informative)

msobkow (48369) | more than 3 years ago | (#36470670)

Actually making use of technology to drive government.

I believe the only way a true democracy can be run is if individual citizens are allowed to vote on legislation proposed by their representatives, rather than having the representatives do the voting. It would encourage the reps to actually engage their voting populations, otherwise their legislation dies.

Power to the people!

Re:What a concept! (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36470696)

People suck. No thanks. "True democracy" is worse than dictatorship.

Re:What a concept! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36470738)

Because he specifically said that the majority should be given unchecked power and not be bound by any restrictions, right?

Re:What a concept! (4, Insightful)

Gordo_1 (256312) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471106)

Well it's certainly implied. If citizen's vote on every single piece of legislation, then it's majority rules. Having lived in many places and now residing in California, where 'the people' are given a chance to vote directly for all kinds of weird legislative proposals, I can tell you that the majority here make plenty of bad decisions.

Re:What a concept! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36471218)

Implied? Yes. But I don't think that many people would honestly say that they'd want the majority given unchecked power. Also, yes, some bad decisions will be made even if their powers are restricted (being forced to follow the constitution), but that already happens now (and at least the people would actually have a large say, rather than a few "representatives").

Re:What a concept! (3, Interesting)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471904)

Well it's certainly implied. If citizen's vote on every single piece of legislation, then it's majority rules. Having lived in many places and now residing in California, where 'the people' are given a chance to vote directly for all kinds of weird legislative proposals, I can tell you that the majority here make plenty of bad decisions.

Yup, which is why a parliamentary democracy (which the US sort of has) is based around the idea that the people vote for a responsible government, who then governs as they think best. Accountability comes in the form of tossing out bad governments, not by the public having a right of veto over every piece of legislation. A central idea is that the government is able to make short term decisions which are unpopular but in the medium or long term best interests of the nation.

The type of "democracy" which would result from the masses voting on every piece of legislation would be horrendous. With non-compulsory voting you'd get enraged special interest groups making laws left right and centre to suit their agendas. No-one would pay taxes. Difficult problems would be ignored, and anything which could be subjected to FUD tactics would be defeated instantly. Most significantly, minorities and fringe groups would be brutally repressed.

As for the suggestion that China is democratically superior to the US, or any country outside of North Korea - don't make me laugh. Yes, 'the West' has problems. But China is about as close as we've got to Orwell's nightmare state in the modern world.

Re:What a concept! (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471222)

Maybe true. But what we have, i.e., purchased legislation, is equally bad if not worse because only the most fabulously wealthy can afford the sticker price.

Re:What a concept! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36472136)

Remember when Democrats were trying to write the Affordable Care Act, and Republicans were telling people Obama is going to pull the plug on Grandma? Remember how when it passed, most people only knew the lies about it and didn't approve of it? Unless and until we get the media to stop credulously reporting lies and telling dick jokes when they don't have any lies to report, any experiment in true democracy is doomed to failure.

Re:What a concept! (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#36470776)

California has destroyed my faith in direct democracy. See Proposition 13: "I want the windfall from housing inflation to go straight into my pocket!" Congratulations to the folks who voted themselves hundreds of thousands of dollars in unearned income, but now the state is broke, people living right next door to each other pay VASTLY different burdens in supporting schools and other social services, and the housing pyramid scheme eventually collapsed anyways. Instead, they should simply have deferred some portion the property taxes until the next transfer of ownership.

Re:What a concept! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36470948)

I remember the bill passed in CA which seriously limited the ability for the state and towns to levy taxes. Combine that with areas that voted themselves Maybach-level services on a Kia-level budget, and it is no wonder why California hit the skids. Take Santa Cruz with all the college students. They vote for all these amenities, but they are long gone when it comes to shelling out tax revenue for it.

Now all these CA refugees are heading to other places. Austin is being rendered unlivable by this, for example the city is blowing 50 million dollars on a single bike path, while plans to expand/fix roads are nixed. The bus system has essentially been ignored and is now bedrooms and outhouses for the vagrant population (indigents get a free bus pass), so is essentially unusable for most of the citizenry. Seattle and Portland are also getting hit too by people who want to vote all these amenities, but want to not worry about taxes until it is too late. By then, they skip to the next town to abuse that place.

Re:What a concept! (4, Informative)

dragonturtle69 (1002892) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471028)

Some context about Prop. 13's start, IIRC, your property value was not necessarily assessed fairly, and you could be taxed out of your home, the home that you actually owned the deed to. Wikipedia lines up decently, Prop 13 [wikipedia.org] .

Like many of the silly things in CA, Prop 13 happened as a reaction to an abuse of power, which of course led to new abuses.

Re:What a concept! (1)

Gordo_1 (256312) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471132)

The main problem with prop 13 was that it wasn't tied to inflation, but capped annual increases at something like 2% (not sure the exact number). It basically assured that over time property taxes would tend to zero for those in their homes for a long time and anybody who purchased a home would end up with an unfair burden of the social services that the old-timers could then vote in for themselves.

Do any of you even live in CA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36471344)

Something like 2%? Why don't you do 30 seconds of research? Prop 13 limits property tax to max of 1% of the assessed value and limits the increase to no more than 2% a year and the property is automatically reassessed when bought/sold. This prevents old people on a fixed income from getting taxed out of their house just because the value of the home they bought 20 years ago has quadrupled. If 1% was good enough in 1988, and 1998 (10/20 years after prop 13) why isn't it good enough now?

Re:What a concept! (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471070)

What the hell does this have to do with China's congress? Everything's about America, isn't it?

Tell you what, I'll ask some Chinese people if they want to trade places with you, and live in that corrupt pyramid scheme of democracy. You like Chinese food?

Re:What a concept! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36471340)

What the hell does this have to do with China's congress? Everything's about America, isn't it?

One person mischaracterized this survey in China as a vote and offered the hypothesis that direct voting by the population was the way to go. Another person posted a concrete real-world example of where such a thing went wrong, this example happened to come from California. Does that clear things up for you?

Re:What a concept! (1)

simmonsjeffreya (2259752) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471936)

This is an American hosted website, where my guess* would be the majority of users would be American. So yes, you should fully expect that things will be related to Americans by the users posting here. * Before I get blasted for making an assumption, I did look via Google and found no info about the distribution of the users by country.

Re:What a concept! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36471954)

Everything's about America, isn't it?

That's very cute, coming from the guy who only ever comments about China or anti-western 'values', half the time in some delusional off-topic perception of relevancy.

California has accomplished more than that ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471312)

California has destroyed my faith in direct democracy.

California has accomplished more than that, it has also destroyed the faith in representative democracy as well. The silliness of the public is exceeded by the stupidity of the state legislature.

And that is the problem (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471426)

True democracy has never existed and never will. The ancient greeks has no true democracy and the modern greeks are showing why.

Greece is bankrupt, the country has since WW2 spend its life on a money drip from the EU and totally mis-managed its own economy. There is virtually no tax collection and corruption is a way of live. Now they find out that if you collect no taxes and spend a fortune as the state on pork projects there will be an imbalance.

The country needs 100.000.000.000 euro in a loan, after they already got one. This from greece which has nothing anybody wants except a tiny island the Turks want. They can never pay the loan off even if the greeks suddenly started paying taxes, stopped the excessive spending and actually started working for a living.

So what are all the greek protesting about? About having to pay taxes, cuts in spending and actually having to start working... because going bankrupt as a nation will make things so much better. The greeks know they got no alternatives left and still they protest.

Democracy, true democracy requires that each voter not only knows about the issue but votes for future, not the now AND not just for his own benefit.

Take this chinese proposal. gosh, the people voted to be able to earn more before having to start paying taxes... good, did they also at the same time vote to have their favorite government spending cut? To have to road in front of their own house to be no longer repaired? For police and other emergency services no longer to service their neighbourhood?

I do not think so. Cut taxes, no cut in spending (and most likely an increase in spending).

The Iceland banking scandal? All those EU people who wished the promised high return on banking there and wanted the freedom to bank anywhere in world and not have the state look into their account? Gosh, when it all went belly up, they sure wanted the state to refund the money they didn't pay taxes from tax money didn't they?

How many american industries always bitching about taxes said no to a tax handout? Wallstreet sure didn't mind going on benefits when it was them doing the benefits? But a family living on the street? No money for them.

We like to think that we humans are a social creature. We are. So are zebra's and a zebra who sees an other zebra stumble and be torn apart by lions thinks only "glad it was not me" and will happily vote for some other zebra to be devoured tomorrow, as long as it isn't him.

True democracy would require a better class of human beings then we are (and yes, that includes me).

The real issue is that representative democracy ALSO requires a better class of human beings then we got.

What type of system we can run with the human beings we got? I am afraid from history, that it ain't much. See the holocausts that just keep on happening. See the vote in California against gay marriage. A vote that cost nobody any money, didn't require any taxes and yet was voted against just because a lot of people don't want some other people to have the same rights.

All you can hope for with the human race is that someone else stumbles before you do when it is feeding time.

Re:And that is the problem (0)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471906)

So true democracy is a failed concept because Greece, which is not a true democracy, is in trouble. Right.

gosh, the people voted to be able to earn more before having to start paying taxes...

Only 15% voted for that. Did you even read the summary?

Re:And that is the problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36472262)

Only 15% voted for that. Did you even read the summary?

However, 48 percent suggested to further raise the exemption to 5,000 yuan per month.

Did you?

Re:And that is the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36472006)

I think amongst all that i have found the solution:

Sell Cyprus.

Re:What a concept! (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471460)

The interesting question to explore is why a concept that seems to work pretty well in Switzerland does not work in California. I, personally, have no idea.

Re:What a concept! (1)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471866)

The most likeliest explanation has to do with one's upbringing concerning the welfare of others.

Re:What a concept! (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36472058)

Probably. Don't want to rant about this right now, I am not feeling zealous enough... ;) For the benefit of the doubt, I offer the concept that Switzerland is just smaller.

Re:What a concept! (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36472296)

Democracy - direct or not - is only as good as the people are willing to make it. There's California, and then there's Switzerland. Representative democracy is not a panacea - it just takes a while longer for idiocracy to permeat the upper layers, but if the voter base is not responsible, they will simply elect populists.

Re:What a concept! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36470824)

Oh yeah and online voting is never abused

I worked for a company where there were *maybe* 50 people in the entire company. They put up a poll. After about 200k of votes they shut it down.

You mean power to the few who know how to abuse the system.

Re:What a concept! (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471068)

There are some fair ways to do the voting, and decently secure too. However, it depends on how much anonymity you want in the voting process. If anonymity doesn't matter, you can have the government send each citizen a form with two scratch-off blanks. One is for yes, one no. Then the person goes to a Web page that asks for a number, and the person types in the number matching yes or no. Said pair of numbers are random and unique, so only the vote counters would know what the numbers actually meant (yes or no). Anyone between the voter and the vote counter with the reference list would have zero clue, and because the principle behind this is essentially the same as a one time pad, there is zero way to figure out which number meant what vote, unless the random number generator was not truly random.

If being anonymous is a concern, maybe the simplest ways are the best... have polling booths and after identifying that the user can vote, have the user be given a key. He turns it in one lock, it releases a black ball into a big pile. The other lock releases a white ball. The key is turned back in, the "voting booth" is reset so the voter's key can be used again, and the next person is handed the key. The only information that a voter leaves is if a white or black ball was dropped signifying yes or no, and barring cameras, there is really no way to show who voted for what.

Re:What a concept! (2, Informative)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36470860)

That's why we're not a pure democracy but a republic.

Individual people might be smart, but crowds are reactive, mirroring and stupid.

Re:What a concept! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36470896)

No, individual people are not necessary smart. I would say an average person is not smart and doesn't care about the greater good neither.

Re:What a concept! (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471924)

According to some, the best way to achieve the greater good is if every person only thinks about himself when voting.

Re:What a concept! (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471262)

Of course, what we actually have is a plutocracy because all legislative power resides in those who can buy politicians ... and they don't come cheap. Well, maybe a city councilperson could be had for a few grand, but if you want (or don't want) some particular Federal legislation -- the purchase price is way beyond the means of the average American.

Re:What a concept! (3, Informative)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471558)

You people ought to really read the Federalist papers, instead of repeating what someone else said. A republic is a form of government where the head of state is not an inherited position. You're actually comparing a direct democracy (the federalist papers never mention a pure democracy) to a representative democracy (the republic in the federalist papers).

Furthermore, the Federalist Papers actually warn explicitly about having too many representatives (which leads to its own form of herd mentality) and having too few representatives per voter (which leads to a distant representative and a clustering of votes around special interests). Yes, we're fucked, but the Founders knew we were going to be fucked no matter what they set up, and merely tried to set things up in such a way that it minimizes the amount of stupid that goes around.

'Homer Simpson Moment' crisis happening.... (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 3 years ago | (#36472164)

Furthermore, the Federalist Papers actually warn explicitly about having too many representatives (which leads to its own form of herd mentality) and having too few representatives per voter (which leads to a distant representative and a clustering of votes around special interests).

*Head asplodes at built-in contradiction*

Yes, we're fucked, but the Founders knew we were going to be fucked no matter what they set up, and merely tried to set things up in such a way that it minimizes the amount of stupid that goes around.

"D'oh!"
Thanks NC. I've went from a high-IQ, confident, educated and considered intelligent person...to a bumbling moronic idiot in 30 seconds, just from reading your comment! :-)
No, I'm not hostile towards you, and rather thankful instead.

Let me explain further.
Until now, I have been effectively brain-washed in the belief that our 'Founding Fathers' were close to omnipotent in their foresight in forming our gov't., and the current problems were caused by 'professional politicians' feathering their respective nests.
Really, sad to say.

Even though I have perused the Federalist Papers, I can't claim to have read them all thoroughly. (need to do that ASAP)
While reading bits of them, I now realise the filtering that was going on mentally by me.
That last sentence of your comment was like a slap in the face with a frozen mackerel. Damn.

Thanks a bunch. It was an important eye/mind opener for me about politics and more importantly, political systems, and the way I think about them.

Right now, that 'little voice in my head' is shaking it's finger at me and saying, "Lucy, you got some explaining to do!", while simultaneously, Ralph is shaking his fist at me, shouting "To the moon, Alice, to the moon!".

I think I've some rethinking to do....

BTW, please pardon the ambiguous tone...I really am rocked hard by this revelation, no sarcasm, no hostility intended.
As /. is my witness[at least those that haven't filtered my sorry ass out], I humbly thank you, and credit you for instigating a profound event in my life. :-)

Re:What a concept! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36470918)

Any one who believe this has never taken a civics class, and fundamentally doesn't understand the formation or structure of the us govt. Direct democracy is the tyranny of the majority.

Re:What a concept! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36470932)

The truth is not Democratic.

Re:What a concept! (1, Insightful)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36470968)

I believe the only way a true democracy can be run is if individual citizens are allowed to vote on legislation proposed by their representatives, rather than having the representatives do the voting.

This is a terrible idea. What we'd end up with is a situation (like now) where 99% of the population doesn't have the time (or interest) to read the legislation or vote on it, but also a situation where the remaining 1% would control what gets passed and doesn't get passed. That remaining 1% would be composed largely of trolls, unemployed busybodies, single-issue-firebrands (using their vote as leverage to promote their unrelated pet cause), and people who are getting paid under the table to vote for/against the bill by, parties who would profit from its passage or failure. There would be much less accountability than in our current system.

Be careful what you wish for!

Re:What a concept! (1)

rodarson2k (1122767) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471200)

That remaining 1% would be composed largely of trolls, unemployed busybodies, single-issue-firebrands (using their vote as leverage to promote their unrelated pet cause), and people who are getting paid under the table to vote for/against the bill by, parties who would profit from its passage or failure.

This is different from congress in that the busybodies in question are not collecting a paycheck. Sounds strictly better to me.

Re:What a concept! (2)

djh2400 (1362925) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471008)

I would like a system here in the U.S. — or anywhere, for that matter — to opt-out of various things my political representatives would otherwise vote for. In other words, I would like them to, by default, represent me by voting as they normally would, but if I can't trust them to vote the way I want them to on some particular bill/issue/whatever, I would like a way to override my small portion of their vote by voting for myself.

I suppose it would be similar to how stockholders can vote on corporate decisions, so long as they hold at least one share of stock. It wouldn't count for much, but at least the person can be represented exactly how they choose.

Its a survey not a vote. (3, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471288)

Actually making use of technology to drive government.

This seems to be a survey, not a vote. So it is pretty much what occasionally happens in the US too. Suveys and focus groups are used to get feedback and to craft legislation and/or how the legislation is presented.

I believe the only way a true democracy can be run is if individual citizens are allowed to vote on legislation proposed by their representatives, rather than having the representatives do the voting. It would encourage the reps to actually engage their voting populations, otherwise their legislation dies.

Many wise men have characterized such a system as mob rule. Legislators would simply pander to the mob, its not terribly different than what happens today. Why are the NRA and AARP so powerful, its not money, its their ability to deliver voters to the polls. In short big money donors may have less influence but special interest groups will gain influence.

The real solution is to elect representatives that have intelligence, ethics and character. An extreme example from history, Cincinnatus:
"... an invasion caused him to be called to serve Rome as dictator, an office which he immediately resigned after completing his task of defeating the rivaling tribes of the Aequians, Sabines and Volscians. His abandoning of his work to serve Rome, and especially his immediate resignation of his absolute authority with the end of the crisis, has often been cited as an example of outstanding leadership, service to the greater good, civic virtue, and modesty"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cincinnatus [wikipedia.org]

Re:What a concept! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36471628)

As a Chinese, I could tell you this is far from true democracy, for following reasons:
1. Chinese government often uses so called single-candidate election or single choice vote. While it may not necessary mean that there is only one choice, it is highly likely all choices are in favorite of the ruling class. For example, you could have a vote like:

  Do you agree with government's decision on XXX:
    A. Agree
    B. Strongly Agree
    C. I don't care

2. Online polls in China are infamous of being manipulated, due to lack of supervision.

3. Polls are useless when the ruling class has absolute control over all branches of the government. They could just ignore what they don't want to see.

4. Your IP is logged when you vote. I'm sure you know what that means.

So American friends, please treasure what you still have (constitution and elections), and exercise your right to protect your country from your government before it is too late!

what? (5, Insightful)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36470676)

China has just locked up a large number of dissidents, including Zhao Lianhai, who ran a website about the poisoned baby-milk scandal after his own son became ill.

A few months back, they put a girl in a labor camp for posting a sarcastic comment on twitter.

A good portion of the stories on slashdot would probably get you a jail sentence if you posted them in China.

I may not get 'online voting', then again maybe online voting is just a way to track who the troublemakers are - like Mao's Hundred Flowers campaign.

Re:what? (4, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36470728)

I recall that during the Beijing Olympics, they set up a protest zone where would-be protestors could apply for a permit. They then arrested those who applied and sentenced them to several years in a forced labor camp. So China's government certainly does have recent history showing a willingness to set traps for undesirables.

All the same, this particular action may be legit, and it would be nice if we could have something similar in the US. However, it runs into the problem of how you phrase the questions. Push-polling is a well refined art. Congress would spend as much time arguing about the wording of the poll as they ultimately would over the bill itself.

Re:what? (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 3 years ago | (#36470820)

People should be voting on the proposed legislation, not on a biased summary question.

Yes or No question -- do you support this bill?

Re:what? (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36470914)

But when they vote no, what next? Did they say no because they wanted the bill to do more, or to do less? One of the benefits of a representative government is that they'll negotiate and find some middle ground.

Theoretically at least. The present-day GOP seems to have realized just how effective brinksmanship is, and if they manage to retake the White House, I'm sure the Democrats will be happy to turn their tactics against them.

Re:what? (1)

hackingbear (988354) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471012)

So you believe the Chinese government does all these to catch 82,707 * 85% people into prison? It just show how much biased information you have received on your favorite free media. If I were you, I would learn Chinese and go visit Chinese forums for half year before I post another comment about China.

Re:what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36471072)

Intent has nothing to do with it. Rounding up and imprisoning vocal dissidents is inevitable in modern china. Rounding up people for arbitrary reasons is inevitable in modern china. Who do you think posts on your precious forums?

Re:what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36471768)

I know enough ex-Chinese nationals to know that there's a hell of a lot more corruption and abuse of authority in China than there is in the US. Not saying I think it's a trap like the earlier poster, but you have to admit there's a decent chance of getting on a bad list through any number of opinions expressed in a traceable way.

Re:what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36471020)

Don't forget the news about Chinese dissidents being used for organ donors. It doesn't take much to wind up on the wrong side of the bus to the labor camps (people wonder why Chinese get away with factory prices so cheap -- prisons make a great labor pool) or the centerpiece of the death vans.

Re:what? (1)

BenJCarter (902199) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471672)

Amen.

Interesting idea... (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 3 years ago | (#36470682)

But how do you ensure that each persons gets one vote and nobody can steal your vote? And how do you check that the results weren't tainted or pre-determined like Honduras almost had? And then there's the issue of privacy. Lots of people don't want any kind of national ID card.

Re:Interesting idea... (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 3 years ago | (#36470900)

How do you ensure those things using offline methods? Their are only preventative measures for either of the alternatives and as far as I can tell neither is fundamentally a great or a horrible solution.

Re:Interesting idea... (1)

malsbert (456063) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471050)

All in all e-voting == paper-voting with only one little exception.
The anonymous vote.
With paper-voting; you get a piece of paper, enter a "voting box", submit your vote. the fact you have voted is known but WHAT you voted are not.
With e-voting; you get the "virtual" equivalent BUT you properly login from HOME, that is your IP will be connected to your vote! and dos the idea
of anonymity is lost.
needless to say, there will have to be foul play involved but personally i consider anonymity to be so vital for a "true" democratic vote that even
the possibility is a show stopper.
 

Re:Interesting idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36471566)

In a perfect world, anonymity is irrelevant for democracy. If a friend decided they didn't like you because you voted yes to legalised abortion then how much of a friend are they really? People need to realise that everyone has their own ideals and morality and that they should try to enforce their own onto others. Once humans realise that and stop trying to enforce their own morality and ideals on others then humanity will flourish in a way that it has never done before...

Re:Interesting idea... (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471946)

If a friend decided they didn't like you because you voted yes to legalised abortion then how much of a friend are they really?

Now what if every company in the region refuses to hire you because you voted for the guys who want to raise their taxes?

Re:Interesting idea... (1)

malsbert (456063) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471960)

If we speak of friends i would agree.
I however am not concerned with family, friends or even employers.
you use abortion as an example so I ask you; what if the "pro-lifers" was to gain power, would you care then?
Germany was a democracy until they elected Hitler ( i am sure he would just have loved a list of those who voted against him ).

but yes "in a perfect world" all would be good.

Re:Interesting idea... (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471186)

It's China, it doesn't matter if you vote more than once or if someone steals your vote. Since your vote doesn't count for anything anyway.

Overthrow The Chinese Government (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36470684)

More crap to make them look democratic?

It's time these authoritarians were forced out. No ifs or buts.

With Gadaffi nearly toppled. It's time the west considered a continued War Against Authoritarian regimes until they are all gone.

I'm sick of hearing about the cunts.

Re:Overthrow The Chinese Government (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36470726)

Are you fucking serious? Damn neoconservative nutjobs.

Re:Overthrow The Chinese Government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36470762)

Yes I am fucking serious.

But no we shouldn't go all out against China right now.

Deal with Gadaffi. Then move on to Syria.

We should then target the easy kill first and move in on the hard ones later. Give them a chance to open up.

Places like Burma need to be liberated. That encroaches on China but not directly. It would certainly send the message.

What, you are happy standing by while people are being oppressed?

Re:Overthrow The Chinese Government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36470958)

Cure the oppression at home first. Easiest target of all.

Re:Overthrow The Chinese Government (0)

Anarki2004 (1652007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471268)

This reminds me of a song....

AMERICA! Fuck yeah, coming again to save the motherfuckin day yeah!

Online polls?! (2, Funny)

BenJCarter (902199) | more than 3 years ago | (#36470690)

I definitely want to choose our leaders using online polls. I mean what could go wrong?

Vote early vote often...

Re:Online polls?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36470862)

I don't know, this? [youtube.com]

82,707 citizens? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36470732)

Or 50 government-employed voters/propagandists?

Re:82,707 citizens? (1)

sixteenbitsamurai (1070810) | more than 3 years ago | (#36470778)

I think it's reasonable to assume there is at least that many citizens in China who could vote on this. Don't quote me on this, but I heard there's a lot of people in China.

in other news.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36470734)

in china, 48 percent of respondents to a recent government survey have gone missing.

I wish... (2)

Professr3 (670356) | more than 3 years ago | (#36470792)

Unfortunately, we couldn't trust our government to post the real results, much less make the voting process secure enough to avoid virtual ballot-stuffing. Not that it'd matter, since our representatives seem pretty content to vote completely opposite any form of public opinion...

Re:I wish... (4, Insightful)

Monty845 (739787) | more than 3 years ago | (#36470930)

Actually, I wouldn't worry about the results not getting released. Instead we would get loaded questions designed to influence the results. A skilled pollster could move public opinion pretty far based on how they ask the questions, and there is no way they would be unbiased. "Do you support closing the gun show loophole" vs "Do you support the ban on the sale of guns between private citizens without requiring a gun shop as an intermediary" Same outcome, but will get very different results.

Re:I wish... (1)

Professr3 (670356) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471062)

Good point, and there's already a whole science devoted to this. I'm not sure how to mitigate it - even an independent organization that writes the questions would be subject to bias or bribery. We already see mass media using leading questions like this, so it makes sense that the government would do the same thing...

Re:I wish... (1)

Stuarticus (1205322) | more than 3 years ago | (#36472256)

You mitigate it by making the elected polticians debate the questions and the exact format of them that will be put to the people.

They do (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36470822)

We'd hope the US Congress would dare to collect real citizen input on its legislation, rather than just doing lip service or useless political arguments.

Really, this is just a poll, and an extremely poor one at that. It is non-binding, and it excludes huge segments of the population (rural voters who don't have internet, or those who don't self-select to vote in online polls).

In the US, politicians do listen to polls. It used to be that politicians followed the polls so much that 'poll chaser' was a typical insult of a politician. In the US, politicians follow polls, and the ones who go too far against the public will get voted out (when they public isn't watching, they can do whatever they want).

Re:They do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36471544)

Hmm. A moment with the power of mathematics: China's population is about 1.339 billion. They've only polled about one in 16,191. It's .006% of the population. Even if it was a perfectly ideally conducted poll with randomly selected people representing each geographical region and demographic in perfect proportion to the population, it's still not enough to really say much. Similar absolute numbers of people get polled by news agencies in other nations (so in other words: as a percentage, 4-10 times as many people as the Chinese poll), yet those are known to sometimes be double digit percent points different from what the full nation then votes in the real election. Even the exit polls can be a few points off. And that's in countries where the population feels absolutely safe to be ultra critical of their government.

Vastly too soon for China to be internationally throwing stones.

For additional fun, I find it amusing that the published results of this poll can be used to justify wildly different decisions by the Chinese government; you could argue no change (maybe they're only willing to do 3000, and only 15% voted for that!), or 3000 (so many people voted for 3000 or 5000, so 3000 is a compromise), or 5000 (lots of people voted for that, though not a majority). Lip service indeed, Chinese government committee!

Correction (1)

beefsack (1172479) | more than 3 years ago | (#36470904)

3000 Yuan is close to $500 USD, not $5000.

Re:Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36470986)

Read carefully - the editor (probably) changed the time-unit themselves and did not devalue the USD correctly in the conversion.

Re:Correction (1)

hackingbear (988354) | more than 3 years ago | (#36470988)

Notice the "per month" vs "per year"?

Re:Correction (1)

beefsack (1172479) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471016)

My correction stands corrected.

Re:Correction (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471024)

3,000 Yuan per month is close to $464 dollars per month or $5,568 dollars per year.

"We'd hope the US Congress would dare to collect (1)

makubesu (1910402) | more than 3 years ago | (#36470950)

real citizen input on its legislation"
It's called representative government, and the Chinese citizens would love to have it.

Re:"We'd hope the US Congress would dare to collec (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471136)

As it is, the actual government of China is free to ignore what this almost pointless organ of state decides at any time it desires. The actual rulers of China are not bound by the rules of law.

No thank you (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36470978)

"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it." - Kay, Men In Black

Direct democracy can be a terrifying thing to behold. Just as the unregulated free market works great until people discover how to exploit negative externalities, direct democracy works great until people discover that they can vote themselves all kinds of short-term benefits and leave the long-term costs to the next generation.

The idea behind representative democracy is that the people can make their will known to their representatives, but it's the representatives who will consider all aspects of the issue and balance short-term and long-term considerations so that they choose the best possible alternative. That's the theory, anyway. Unfortunately the system is only as good as the quality of the representatives, and in an age where our representatives seem to be chosen more for their entertainment value than their intelligence and statesmanship it's not much better than direct democracy. Sometimes it's even worse.

Re:No thank you (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471202)

"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it." - Kay, Men In Black

I'll be really happy when people stop using a quote from a 90s science-fiction comedy as evidence for social theories. Do you realize that is the only evidence you presented in your entire post? The rest was just your opinion. Your post would have been 500% better if you had come up with even a single real-world example to back your point. Like this guy. [slashdot.org] His facts aren't quite right, but at least he has something.

Re:No thank you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36471608)

I'm sorry, I didn't realize this was Wikipedia. How many pieces of evidence would you like me to cite for people being dumb, panicky animals who go for the short-term benefits and disregard long-term consequences? Hmm, let's start with the hockey riot in Vancouver just yesterday.

Re:No thank you (1)

value (2182292) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471940)

Thanks for mentioning negative externalities, which was new to me.

Here is a short definition for negative externalities [fundamentalfinance.com]

A negative externality occurs when an individual or firm making a decision does not have to pay the full cost of the decision. If a good has a negative externality, then the cost to society is greater than the cost consumer is paying for it. Since consumers make a decision based on where their marginal cost equals their marginal benefit, and since they don't take into account the cost of the negative externality, negative externalities result in market inefficiencies unless proper action is taken.

When a negative externality exists in an unregulated market, producers don't take responsibility for external costs that exist--these are passed on to society. Thus producers have lower marginal costs than they would otherwise have and the supply curve is effectively shifted down (to the right) of the supply curve that society faces. Because the supply curve is increased, more of the product is bought than the efficient amount--that is, too much of the product is produced and sold. Since marginal benefit is not equal to marginal cost, a deadweight welfare loss results.

That sounds like it was written by environmentalists rather than economists. Who decides what is "too much"? The market already has mechanisms for deciding that. Negative externality seems like a redundant concept.

One of you smart guys should make a website. (2)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471022)

My theory is Democracy works well, but you need an educated voter, so make a site that educates voters instead of just makes them angry.

On the website do the following:
Allow people the ability to write petitions to the senators.
Allow people to upvote/downvote comments factionally. This means a republican won't be drowned out by a democratic hivemind for example.
Allow people to see their elected official's voting record vs his campaign promises.
Allow people to see the campaign promises and views of the candidates
Verify people online to be registered voters IRL(Biggie)

If you could do even just a subset of the above things, you could force hyperdemocracy upon Washington DC whether it wants it to happen or not. The people who will not listen to your website might get voted out if you have a large enough user base.

Re:One of you smart guys should make a website. (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471044)

If one of you wants to organize with me to make a website like this, let me know. I don't know CGI, but I know Flash. I have another person who would like to do this. We tried this once back in 2007, but we chose Ruby on Rails as our webserver, and it was very difficult to learn.

Seriously, I'd love to organize with a few people and make a hyperdemocracy website. I don't know how to start an open source project and stuff. So no matter what you know, we could get together and figure out how we're to do this. There definitely is a market for a dominant political website that organizes information instead of being chaotic or hard to sort through. It is a lot of work to do factional voting and get something like Reddit.com online, but that is just one of many problems involved. How do you solve linking registered voters to online IDs?

So seriously, if you want to get involved, we can have an email think tank. Email: James_Sager_PA@yahoo.com Subject: HyperDemocracy Website

And we'll start an email think tank. Then probably start an open source project. Then we'll see if an open source project could lead into having a website like Reddit.com but with factional voting so the hivemind doesn't run the show. So yeah, email me, even if you just wanna get caught in the flurry of emails that might start up the website which could cause hyperdemocracy to happen in the USA. It'd sure make my buddy encouraged as I haven't done anything in years, but I keep telling him we'll do it again down the road

God didn't guide any translators. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36471484)

The Septuagint and the King James version are different. Both are canon. Did God guide the Council of Trent that decided what was canon and what wasn't? Why isn't the Gospel of Thecla allowed (except in Turkey)? Gospel of Thomas? Why are the Turkish Christians so misinformed? Should God vex them with curses? Why did it take 300 years before God decided to guide the translators and deciders of truth? If God was guiding them, why didn't they know that most of the Bible was not written by the person it was attributed to? Why did God play such a terrible joke on the Marcionites and the Ebionites? If Jesus was Jewish why does the Gospel of Saint Paul override how Jesus lived? Why didn't the whole Christian world believe that Jesus was the son of God until after the council of Trent where mortal men decided that Jesus was the son of God?

You can't answer any of these questions because they're holes in the plot line. None of the so-called predictions of the bible have every come true. Sorry, James P. Sager III, there is no god and you follow the ramblings of 100s of unknown men.

And if anyone is wondering what I'm talking about it's his webpage in his sig.

A different idea... (2)

nebaz (453974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471034)

Direct democracy has it's drawbacks as people here have already stated (California). But what if we went back to the original representation ratio of people in congress as prescribed in the Constitution to "The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand", that would require something like 10,000 representatives. That would be enough people to keep most individuals out of the limelight, so maybe they would actually try to do work rather than pander to their constituents.

Re:A different idea... (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471570)

And then, we'd be right back into the equivalent of a direct democracy, except it'd be one step removed from the actual voters.

Face it, Democracy is a messy business. It sucks, but all other forms of government are even worse. We're stuck with this until we actually get better people.

The free money bill (1)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471078)

Let the citizens vote for our policies that are obviously popular, while we decide we find new ways to censor the Internet behind closed doors. Democracy in action.

"Vote" (1)

poity (465672) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471086)

Submitter claims a non-binding poll constituted a vote, while also implying that no such thing happens in the US
Conducting a poll is in no way equal to holding a vote, and if anything US politicians are far too caught up in polling numbers.
Two points in the summary -- both falsehoods.

The only things we can learned from this story is:
1. hackingbear is now a confirmed troll
2. timothy needs to be made aware that if he intends to promote troll submissions, he better be prepared to explain to his employers the future decline in Slashdot viewership.

This could be interesting (2)

Undead Waffle (1447615) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471138)

The big difference between this and a normal poll is that it is one "official" poll that everyone can be directed to. I would love to see that sort of thing in the U.S. so it isn't as necessary to question the source and methodology of the poll results. If it were done right we could even tie the representative's voting record to the poll results and make it easy for people to identify whether a candidate is really representing their citizens, though that has a lot of potential for abuse.

Re:This could be interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36471374)

votesmart.org is a good start.

Re:This could be interesting (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471552)

The big difference between this and a normal poll is that it is one "official" poll that everyone can be directed to.

The difference between this and a normal poll is around 81,707 samples.

Most polls have a normalized/standardized sample size of about 1,000.
This Chinese poll has a sample size of 82,707.

Even if you normalize away ~25%* of the sample. it's still more than enough to figure out where the public's thoughts lie.
*around 25% oversampling is a decent rule of thumb if you want to end up with 1,000 representative respondants

Don't need it (2)

emt377 (610337) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471398)

We already have freely elected governments in the west and don't need stunts like this for legitimacy. If we disapprove of our politicians we replace them the next elections. If I were a Chinese party official I'd be very concerned over this: what if people get a taste for democracy and start demanding more of it?

Re: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36471442)

So over half a percent of the Chinese commented on the tax proposal. Neat.

Lol (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36471630)

We'd hope the US Congress would dare to collect real citizen input on its legislation

Yeah, its called voting your leaders into power.

We'd hope the Chinese Politburo would dare collect REAL citizen input.

Take that with a grain of salt (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36471634)

The internet isn't as present in China as it would be here. We're still talking about a tool for the rich and intellectuals. And that THEY want higher exemption was to be expected. I somehow don't think the Chinese government would allow any input that they can't rely on to be what they planned it to be.

Direct democracy can also be a quite fickle thing, since people tend to be short sighted, uninformed or (worse) misinformed and egoistical. Not that politicians weren't, but it gets way worse when you put laws in the hands of people who then get bombarded by ads from various special interest groups (or, in China, just one), scaremongering the general (and generally dumb and gullible) population into believing the sky is falling if they don't vote "right". For reference, see elections.

Then there's also the egoistical streak in every one of us. People will hardly agree that taxes are to be raised but they'd gladly vote for spending. Now how's that supposed to work out? If you want government to spend money on something, government first of all has to have money to spend. No income, no money, no spending. It's simple as that. But nobody wants to pay for it! Everyone wants good schools for their kids, well kept roads, enough police to keep everyone safe and a fire department that arrives a minute after the call to a greasefire, preferably with at least ten firetrucks. But tax me for that? Nooooo way, Jose! Tax my neighbor!

Direct democracy works in a world of honest, sensible, socially inclined people. But if you have that, you can as well stick to representative democracy, because your politicians would be honest, sensible and socially responsible too. I mean, where do you expect them to come from but the population, these people don't come from out of this world. Even if their ideas sometimes sound a bit like they never spent a minute living here...

brainetics original (1)

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