November 8, 2012
By Sam Klemet
A group from China stopped in Lafayette and other parts of the state this week to see how voting in the United States works.
The program was hosted by Purdue’s Center on Religion and Chinese Society.
Director Fenggang Yang says many were impressed with the organization of the election system.
“Many of the poll centers are in churches or local communities and they didn't see police around the poll center and that impressed them," he said. "They were very impressed by the self organization of the local communities.”
The group consisted of more than a dozen scholars from China. They visited 16-polling places.
Yang says those in China traditionally pay close attention to the American presidential election, but seeing it in-person offered a unique perspective.
"They all hope to see Democracy develop in China. They are just trying to come up with ideas to make the process as smooth as possible," he said. "They really represent some forward thinking people in China. They are leaders."
Yang believes if Democracy happens in China it will be slow and gradual.
Yawei Liu is the Director of China Program at the Carter Center in Atlanta, which organized the visit.
"We had a meeting this morning and basically they said it's such a cross section of the American politics and society. It's eye opening to them," he said of the visitors. "They are keenly aware of the vitality and vibrancy of the Ameircan system."