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Dim sum democracy

Fa Hien leaned back in his seat in the Great Hall of the People, proud that he had been elected prime minister of China. As the parliamentary proceedings began, he looked back fondly on the recent elections, writes Manas Chakravarty.

columns Updated: Nov 17, 2012 22:08 IST

(Xinhua, Beijing: A spokesman said ……the Chinese people will enjoy greater democracy in the future)

Fifty years later……….

Fa Hien leaned back in his seat in the Great Hall of the People, proud that he had been elected prime minister of China. As the parliamentary proceedings began, he looked back fondly on the recent elections.

From the beginning, he had known that Chinese parties had very little experience of democracy and it would be best to learn from neighbouring India. He accordingly lost no time in stitching together a coalition with regional parties, such as the Sui Mai party, the Sweet and Sour Chicken party and other smaller outfits, all allied to his Confucian party.

The next step was to scientifically slice Chinese society on the basis of social groups and communities. For instance, he wooed the large Miao ethnic group, particularly those Miao folks who liked Szechuan sauce. To the Uighur, he stressed his party’s secularism, while in Central China, he took out TV advertisements that underlined his Confucianism, or Confucianatva. To the Hui minority, he promised job reservations. To those who liked Peking duck, he promised scheduled duck status. “Learn from India”, was his refrain to party workers.

Of course, competition was very tough. There was the main opposition Daoist party. The New Falun Gong, led by the charismatic Ba Ba Ra Mdev, who believed his patented exercise “Golden Monkey Splitting His Body” could cure cancer, was a potent force. The West had pesky regional outfits such as the MNS, or the Mandarin Nationalist Sena, which wanted to kick out the Bhai Yyas. The remnants of the old Communist Party of China, now renamed the Communist Party of China (Karat-ist) were learning from their Indian comrades how to play the electoral game. The fanatics of the Chinese Noodle Party wanted to tear down Mao’s mausoleum, claiming it was built on the site of an ancient Daoist temple. Anti-corruption activist Ke Jri Wal had been making life difficult for political parties.

The big question, of course, was how to get the funding. Fa Hien seized the initiative, promising to sell off large chunks of China’s state enterprises to private businessmen cheaply. After that there was no dearth of money. Rich businessmen such as Ta Ta and Am Ba Ni became strong supporters. He was able to enlist the multinationals on his side by supporting foreign investment publicly while secretly promoting the Anti Foreign Devil Party, which wanted everybody to wear pigtails and throw companies like Walmart, Nike and General Motors out of China.

To the masses of the North, he promised free wonton soup and fried pork with spring onions. In the south, he pledged free chow mein and dumplings. He promised to ban pork in Xinjiang province, while guaranteeing free red-braised pork if elected in Hunan province. He bought off most of the Princeling Party, composed entirely of sons of politicians, except for Rah Ul, son of Son Ia. But his master-stroke was in arranging for voting cards for the hundreds of thousands of illegal Indian immigrants in Yunnan province, a swing state he won handsomely, thanks to his Indian vote bank.

Fa Hien came out of his reverie and looked around him. The parliament session was in full swing and the legislators were throwing dim sum at each other. The leader of the opposition, Hiuen Tsang, was staging a walk-out. He heaved a sigh of contentment—democracy had finally arrived in China.

Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint
Views expressed by the author are personal