Political apathy in definition is the individual or public indifference towards movements and events of the politics. This term is mostly used by youths and by referring to youths it means those adults who are between the ages of 18- 35 years old. This political apathy is not only present in China but in most countries including Singapore and United States. Basing on the current studies on politics, there is a need for psychological involvement in politics in China. There is an urgent need of survey that is systematic and focuses most on mass political interest. In 1995, a survey was conducted in China that was intended to shed some light on the political interests and Apathy in several societies (Fahmy, 345).
Contrary to the assumption that people in China are politically apathetic, the survey indicated that most people had much interest with politics and some with conventional variables possess leading positions in most of the political parties. Looking back in the participation of youth in politics in China, it is quite a shame because most of the youths do not even know the current ministers, leave alone having the passion in taking the political step of arena as their main objective. Most of the youths just sit back and wait to see a competent politician popping up from the blues. This will never happen, if youths do not participate in the change they want.
The population is not keen on the training of the future leaders, neither they are not keen with the government systems, all they want is to see a good leader and they are not doing anything to ensure this is achieved. They do not care with politics as long as their lifestyle and living standards do not drop so much. This type of environment becomes unsuitable to train the future leaders. The environment where people are just content even when things go wrong, they do not bother to know more and are not inquisitive at all. This has made most of the youths not to take politics as one of their future dreams yet these are the people who we expect them to be the leaders of tomorrow. Political participation is moving to the declining stage yet it was never on its peak.
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Apathy in a nutshell is where one does not involve himself in even basic forms of public affairs. This we mean that when one fails to get involved in the current sensitive issues of his country like voting then we can say that the person is apathetic. There is a need of further studies to address the intermediary variables when it comes to the political decision making. Politicians do not mind any more about the demands and the needs of the public. They just mind about themselves. Apathy comes from top to bottom. Politicians themselves are apathetic and if this is to be eradicated, then the filtration process must start up coming down (Holm, 321).
Politicians do not seem to have belief in them nowadays, this is very inevitable; to belong to any party, one must abide to their set rules and regulations, rules which cannot easily be reviewed, yet they are full of errors. One is bound not to give any opinion unless it relates to their party. There is really no belief in politics. This has even been proved by Tony Blair, a great perpetrator. He ensures that no one in his party gives a different opinion from his opinions. The biggest problem in the electorate is the numerous options. They should bring different candidates with independent parties. People have finally lacked options as in who can choose and vote for, they have been left with no option and the result they become apathetic not by choice but by circumstances. What is now boiling is that, citizens as much as they have the freedom of speech, they lack the freedom of choice in politics, so in future if you want something to be done, then there is absolutely nothing you can do but just watch. If you turn to the politicians they too have nothing to do to change the situation of the country, and instead of suffering so much with issues that someone should be taking care of I simply decide to be actively apathetic. If there will be people with concern as to why young people are dormant in politics, they should not put a blame on the youths but just turn around themselves to look for the causes of this. Politicians are no longer interested in the political interests of their people and the public choose therefore to be apathy and if this is to be solved, then politicians must solve it because they created it anyway.
Political participation and political culture:
Political culture not only differs from country to country but also differs from one region to another. In definition, political culture is the attitude the orientation, and the values, those citizen posses about politics and how it later affects their political behaviors. Almond presented his concern on the political culture and said that this is what matters and this is what affects the political participation of citizen in a country. It also leads to a deviated political behavior that may affect the whole country in one way or another, by either economically, or socially, or may just affect the development of the whole country. China still embraces their culture so much that has brought much effect to the political participation in the area. Due to gradual changes of economy in the area, it has ended up emerging as political sphere. Politics and economy in China has not only grown to become necessary but it had been a reality.
There have been various interpretations on the political development among different scholars. In China today, citizens have an attitude when it comes to the general election. Political participation should be driven by an individual interest and not the culture of the region. Culture should not affect the political participation because this is basically an individual view towards how best one wants to be led politically. Lack of enough knowledge here may hinder the good choice of leaders and here most people are swayed by what other politicians say and personal attitude towards a certain politician. This has mostly led to wrong choice of leaders thus poor leadership dragging behind the political development. Power worship and political fear of dualism emotions are some of the psychological factors that affect China.
Causes of political Apathy in China:
Some people feel that their votes will not make any difference or some just ignore or they are not versed and informed with the current political status. They do not know what is going on in their current politics. In China, most of their citizens are less educated hence are not in a proper position to deal with this political apathy. Apathy in China has been able to be created because of the poor living standards of majority of the citizens there hence there have been so many survival strategies that has made people accept that poverty is natural. People have become more individualistic and attach themselves to most of issues that they think can improve their lifestyle. For instance, most people currently go for foods that are cheap and less to access due to the change in long working hours hence less time to prepare food. This is not only a social problem but a political problem too as we have the individualistic consumer movement and not a political movement as it should be.
Due to intense population in China, people consider their votes as worth less. For example, if you are 1 out of 5 of the population, you control 20% of the national votes, when the population increases to 10, then an individual controls the votes by 10%. In a case like China where the population is more that a hundred million, then the individual votes fails to make an impact as it could previously make. The people also decide not pick on anyone when they see no good option. When you are given an option of two devils, you opt not to pick any. Most voters do not perceive the politicians to be any different in that, candidate A who is campaigning in party A to get position A, is not seen as any different to candidate B who is campaigning for position B to get position B. These perceived difference between candidate A and B is the main problem in the main election yet one is bound to elect without bringing out personal opinions. In theory, it is believed that voters are free and can make a personal suggestion during elections but this is not practical because an election does not provide voters with a direct say on any political issue. The choices are so limited and bind one to a certain choice.
There is no chance given for voters to express themselves. They are just given options to choose one among the given politicians. Initially, it was laziness that stopped most of the youths from voting but it has been proved that it is not laziness anymore; there are so many youths out there who are just sick and tired by the way politics is conducted and because they cannot make a big difference, they choose to stay at home and engage themselves in other productive activities like music and football.
The politicians have branded themselves a bad name of greedy when they walk in expensive vehicles. This has sent a signal that they are in politics for their personal benefit and anything extra is just an extended hand. We have also seen allover the political wars in many countries including Iraq and this were caused by the government but the government has never stepped up to apologize for mass killing of innocent lives. As much as they preach justice, they are in the front line to do injustice. Another important reason is that, the government does not care anymore about the votes of age group 16-30 years old.
Politicians have embraced dishonesty during elections so much such that they do not really look at who is not voting and he is not voting but how they are going to win the elections. This has made majority of the youths to just sit back and watch not because they are lazy but their vote will not really count. According to Lyndon (1849), he described voting as the most powerful instrument that can be used to destroy injustice. Youths do not really need raves to get them to the polling station. All they need is justice and their opinions counts and are being considered in the elections. In a recent survey conducted in China, 2002, it was revealed that as much as 50% of the young adults believe that it is important to vote, 49% believe that voting is not important. Youths believe that the interest between the youths and politicians are not compatible hence they do not bother voting as they will never agree. They are seen as self centered people who are too greedy in life and are just in politics for their own benefits and not for the benefits of the public.
Effects of Political Apathy:
Citizen complains of the negative campaigning tactics as one of the major reasons that lead to the political apathy. Researchers have however observed that negative campaigning tactics only leads to negativity in the political process that may later result to political war in a country. This negative campaigning tactics results to cynicism and later apathy among the potential voters. When it comes to the negative campaigning tactics, scholars are normally concerned with how the media coverage is done. Media apart from it playing a good role of enlightening people on the current news it can also be used to deliver negative attributes on politics especially during the campaign. The media therefore is to be regulated on what it puts on air and has to be funneled before it is delivered to the public as this may just lead to political war in a given country. This may also result to the public being unwilling to participate in voting. It has been difficult however to measure how or to what level is politics affected by media. Media during the campaign season tend to rely on one side yet it is supposed to remain neutral and not express directly their opinions to the public but when political pressure increases, they end up favoring one side. If one candidate if stable financially, he ends up swaying the minds of the media and lead them to campaign for him. Participants cynicism tends to increase advertisement negativity which later increases efficacy
Apathy in politics leads to poor choice of leaders into the positions. When Youths in China who are the largest population fails to vote, they are simply voting in the leaders who do not have the attributes of a leader. Youths need to try and deal away with this aspect that is slowly killing the political development in China. The Chinese who are above the age of 20 needs to look for ways of restoring the politics that used to know justice and the politics that used to know transparency. Chinese have come to realize the urgency of political reforms after various changes took place in their country. The youths have been proved to be very dominant participants to the Chinese politics and most of them are not aware of their current politics as it happens. The Chinese youth have come to realize the transformation starting from fanaticism to indifference. They have also reformed their culture in relation to their politics. There has been a split of ideas from the youth awareness and the political participation. Youths have been reluctant to take up political activities as they are not just sure if it is worth and if it will really bring in the income they expect. A poll was conducted recently on how Shaghai youths participate politically and the result showed that youth are pragmatic when it comes to their activeness in politics. The youths show great concern on the social problems more that political problems.
Efficacy has been defined by most scholars as a person believes that he can influence politics and the social events. Internal efficacy has been used by most political decision makers to actually reflect on the people's believe on their competence to understand and participate in politics so well. External efficacy differs in that political scientists use this to imply belief about the governmental responsiveness. If a voter is high in efficacy they may still participate in voting despite their cynicism. Efficacy has been known to develop through experience that in a later stage leads to confidence and one becomes an expert. Negative advertising however reduces efficacy of an individual (Wang, 356).
There have been numerous studies that have tried to identify the possible remedies of youth engagement in politics in China. Some of the area that has been discussed include; simplifying the registration and the voting process. Youths are not so much educated and some fail to understand other processes in the voting system. This simply eats up most of their time and that is why they decide not to go voting. The whole process should be made simpler and very fast through the use of electronic devices. Whatever the method China may opt to use is not the solution, the solution here is the person counting the votes. The most important aspect here is transparency in the whole process. Whether the process will be electrical or manual, what the public wants to see is that transparency and justice is being implemented. However, when voters come to realize that they are free to vote for any candidate and that the least favored candidate may also stand a chance of winning, and then voters will turn up in good numbers to vote.
There should be a direct contact between the youths or the public and the politician. This will not only assist the politician to listen to the demand of the public, but the perception that the young generation have about politics will also change. For a very long time, it has been difficult for a common man to access the politicians in their office, even if they have given their numbers, in most cases, you will communicate with the personal assistant who will never let you through to the politician. This has created a big gap between the politician and the public. How else will they listen to the demand of the public if they cannot come on the ground to listen? Most politicians try to avoid the public claiming that it is because of security reasons. When it is the public that elected you, you do not have to be afraid to walk in a broad day light. This is not the main reason why they avoid the public, the main reason is because they do not want to listen to the petty issues of the public and they do not also want to distribute their wealth. They think that if they converse with the public all the time they may end up going to their pockets to give out something and because they never want to share and they are selfish by nature, they choose to avoid the public. Students should also be enlightened and motivated through motivating them when they participate in public service activities. This will make most of them to be interested in working with the government and by doing this they may become active future participants in the politics.
The government should also introduce sponsorships to students who are all round, bright in class yet very active in most of the co curriculum activities. This will encourage most students to not only work hard but participate actively in other activities in the society. Parents should be actively engaged in the political discussion with their children. This will help the youths change their perspective towards politics but as much as parents are less involved with politics, it makes children loose their focus and they will continue being off the track on this issues of politics. To promote politics in this country, corruption needs to be dealt with and ensure that every perpetrator is brought to test.
State owned businesses need to be invigorated. This will ensure that politicians concentrate on the real business. Social practice and justice need to be improved to ensure equality in the whole system. Youths need to participate in the politics through formal organizations like communist party of China, and League for the youth. It is important that the political participant be superficial. Some youths though choose to participate indirectly to politics by joining non governmental associations or by joining China democratic parties (Lam, 534). Corruption should be eradicated completely to ensure that all the political processes takes place in a more transparency method. This alone in fact can ensure there is completely no Apathy among the youths in China. There will be campaigns on fair ground and this will encourage more people to vie for different posts in the country and by having numerous options the public will be in a good position to make a better choice.
This study has widely brought out the complexities of political decision making in China and especially targeted the youths. There has been little evidence on the systematic- level of the damaging effects. The result however does not rule out the fact that advertising and media in general has an effect on the negative campaign. It is time to put the blame of non voters on the government. From statistics, youths from both China and Taiwan have developed a mixture of feelings about the cross- strait relationship. As much as the Chinese young people have a sense of nationalism, they still feel unsatisfied by the political positions in the areas. They mostly become confused and opt for other personal practical goals that they should meet to make money by engaging themselves in productive activities and leaving the whole politics aside.
Political apathy in Chinese whoever is considered as bad for democracy and this just drugs the efforts that the government could be making in ensuring democracy is in place. As the population for the youth grows rapidly, the forces shaping it are taking a paradigm shift. This is because the forces that were meant to be implemented on a population of 1 million people cannot be used to implement a population of 3 million people. To control this, the government has implemented the one child policy. This has created self interest among the youth in the modern political climate. The living standards of china keep on rising yet they still remain relatively low. According to Jieying Xi, Chinese youth's culture has much changed since the past generation. Chinese policies, have given youths more autonomy (Tirado, 88).
Global technology evolution has widely altered interaction and communication patterns. Increased education by the government coming in to give support to their education has reduced their illiteracy thus making most of the youths to be in a position to access free higher education. This has opened a chance to the low income Chinese youth and they are able to take up other new responsibilities in the society. The Chinese live through the tumultuous economic growth in their country. The current households are controlled by the government where they are controlled on the number of children they should give birth. Unfortunately, people in China have less interest with such parties hence the participants have less impact to the politics. Due to this, the youths become less active or just become dormant in the societies. Due to pluralism in the current society, there have been diverse changes in the values of the youths and this has killed the spirit of youths from participating in the current politics.
The future of Chinese socialism lies widely in the discovery of lost traditions of revolutionary. When their tradition is found then that will be the first step to victory. The youths in non governmental organizations will then see the need of participating in politics as their opinions will now have a meaning and they will have change, change that can be seen and felt in the whole republic of China. Chinese youths need to come up broadly and push for changes to be done in the political market.
When youths come together as one they can stop apathy and decide to lay off all the bad leaders in the system and vote in new leaders. If there will be no corruption, then this will simply imply that your opinion will have an impact and youths will go and participate in the politics. So it is not really laziness as people puts it that brings political apathy in China but it is those mentioned factors that lead to this laziness. Youths prefer even involving themselves more in other social activities more than political activities as they see more benefit but once some factors are ironed out, then they will broadly come out and participate in politics more than ever before. There are so many fresh and sober minds outside waiting to be used fully in the politics to improve on the economy and the general lifestyle of the country (Wang, 253).