Voting in China – not impossible!

In a country that one would not call democratic from the Western point of view, there have been changes to include democratic elements into the everyday life of citizens.
I am not talking about the elections hold at village level or the “voting process” at the national congresses where the delegates are confirming the Party’s proposals and making them law.
I am talking about balloting taking place somewhere else. The success of shows like “American Idol” in the US (“Deutschland sucht den Superstar” in Germany, respectively) made the production company think about China – and the voting by short messages has been a huge turnout. The show to find a “Super Girl” was not only seen by millions of Chinese, it has been tagged as “largest ‘democratic’ voting exercise in mainland China” (Wikipedia) because millions of votes have been counted to find a a winner – in 2005 during the first round it therefore received criticism from the state media.

But there are other systems of voting or evaluation – yesterday morning when I was at Bank of China to pay 22.95 yuan (about 3,30 Euro) gas fee, I could evaluate the service of the bank employee and rank the service either “excellent”, “average” or “poor.” This is not an internal review only, when the customer is getting to the counter, he sees how other customers rated the service on a scale of 1 to 5 stars.

Evaluation is big in China: Companies are putting up lists showing the most effective workers of the company. But it’s not like the in the US where the McDonald’s “employee of the month” is honored with a plaque displayed usually in an area next to the bathroom – the list features all employees, so there is a ranking that is clearly showing the worst employee of last month! Although this list is not made public to outsiders, i would not like to see my name on the down end of such a list. But Chinese companies obviously see this as a measure to make an incentive to work more effectively. And don’t anyone tell me I am currently living in a communist country!

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