Daniel A. Bell (贝淡宁)

Dialogue on Sortition with Professors Wang Shaoguang and Yves Sintomer

As dean at Shandong University, I’ve hosted some cross-cultural dialogues on various themes. I plan to put them together in book form but the Covid crisis makes it difficult to invite speakers and continue the dialogues (for the moment?). So let me put online some of the dialogues we’ve had so far. Here is the second dialogue: thanks to Wang Fuxiang for editing the dialogue. It’s a fascinating exchange on the history, philosophy and politics of sortition with two experts on the topic: Professors Wang Shaoguang and Yves Sintomer. The dialogue is below, and comments are more than welcome 🙂

A Discussion about Sortition with Professor Yves Sintomer and Professor Wang Shaoguang, hosted by the School of Political Science and Public Administration at Shandong University

Date: 27th April, 2018

Place: Shandong University (Qingdao Campus)

According to the order of appearance:

ChairDaniel A. Bell, Dean of the School of Political Science and Public Administration at Shandong University.

GuestYves Sintomer, Professor of Political Science at Paris 8 University and Honorary Senior Fellow at the French University Institute. His books include Between Radical and Deliberative Democracy. Random Selection in Politics from Athens to Contemporary Experiments, Cambridge University Press, 2019 (forthcoming).

GuestWang Shaoguang, Professor of School of Public Policy & Management and Schwarzman College, a senior research fellow of Institute for Contemporary China Studies, at Tsinghua University; an emeritus chair professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He studied for his LL.B. at Peking University and his Ph.D. at Cornell University. He taught at Tijiao High School in Wuhan from 1972-1977, Yale University from 1990 to 2000, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong from 1999 to 2017. He has authored and co-authored more than 30 books and more than 100 journal articles in Chinese and English. His latest book is 《民主、共和与抽签:从雅典到威尼斯》(北京:中信出版社,2018)[Democracy, Republic and Sortition: From Athens to Venice (in Chinese), Beijing: CITIC Press, 2018].

[0:0:10]

Bell: Welcome. This a very unique opportunity. Two of the world’s foremost experts on sortition gave lectures to our faculty, and now both of you can engage in direct dialogue. In English, chouqian  (抽签), can be translated as sortition, or as lot, or as random selection , or election by lot. It all means pretty much the same thing, right?  How about in French, is there more than one word?… (Sintomer: yes: “tirage au sort”, “sélection aléatoire”) OK. But in Chinese it is one word. So anyway, what’s interesting is both of you have given talks on the topic. There was a somewhat different focus. Professor Sintomer was more focused on the normative issues: the advantages of sortition compared to other ways of selected deciding. And of course professor Wang discussed that as well. But he spent a lot more time on what’s wrong with elections. I’ve spoken to both professors and read their works, and I think we can all agree that sortition is a very good system in many ways to make decisions but it’s not the system that should be used at the exclusion of all other systems. There’s still a role for other selection mechanisms. We discussed the need for meritocratic checks on leaders, and I think we agree that at a certain level, at different levels of government, there’s room for voting in some way or other.

So this leads to the question of when exactly sortition should be used? When is it valuable and when is it less valuable? There are a few questions here. At which level of government is sortition a more appropriate decision-making process? Which problems are more appropriate to be decided by means of sortition? And what is the kind of cultural context that might be more appropriate? I mean, if it’s a culture that is strongly,  let’s say, “elitist” to use a somewhat pejorative word, then maybe this view that everybody has the same capacity to make decisions won’t be so widely held and therefore may be inappropriate to implement sortition that context. Another question is what about China? How can sortition help to solve problems in China? We heard a very interesting case from Dean Cao about the traffic problem in Jinan and the potential use of sortition to help get bottom up input. So let’s start. And I want professor Wang to rest a little bit because of his sore throat. I’m going to begin with professor Sintomer. At which level of government do you think sortition is most appropriate as a decision-making process? Is it a very local level, medium levels or the very highest level? And why? And then will ask the same questions to professor Wang.

(03:50)

Sintomer: First of all, I would like to thank professor Bell, for this opportunity to discuss with professor Wang. I want to share an anecdote. A few years ago, I was reading a French PhD about the debates on the reform of the political system in China. At that time, I didn’t know anything about China and Chinese political debates among intellectuals. But one of the scholars who was quoted was professor Wang. And I thought WOW. He’s very interesting. This guy is incredible and so on. And I received, at the same time, an email asking permission to translate one of my articles on sortition into Chinese and suddenly I realized that the professor Wang that I was reading about was the same professor who was asking me about the translation. So it’s a great opportunity to be able to discuss with you and to understand you better.

What level? I think that we do not live anymore in a small city like Athens, with only thirty thousand citizens, only male citizens. And I think that it is not for the government level. It is more for the legislative level that we should use random selection. A big international conference was organized in the United States in September by the former president of the American association of sociology, Erik Olin Wright, and in which the former president of the American association for political science, Jane Mansbridge, was present; the topic was “Legislature by lot”, and I think that this is a crucial point where this could be organized. This new chamber could be organized at all levels: at city level, at province level, at national level, at EU level. It should not be a chamber like the traditional elected chambers in the West because it is probably better to have a much bigger chamber, several thousands of citizens selected randomly. The best would be then to select a part of this chamber to solve one problem, another one to solve another problem, and so forth

Bell: It is part of the chamber, not the whole chamber. And they shouldn’t have decision making power on many issues. Is that what you mean?

Sintomer: Well, the U.S. has two chambers, the Senate and representative chamber. You should keep one. You could replace the other by a randomly selected chamber. It would focus on special issues, such as for example the fight against global warming, or electoral law, or the reform of the U.S. Constitution and make proposals on this. On some issues it could decide, on other issues it could have a veto power, on other issues it could put it at a referendum at large for the U.S. citizens to decide the issue directly.

Bell: Okay. Thank you.. Again, I still want to ask about the decision-making level. I can see how it would be a very strong emphasis in small communities, the size of Athens or villages. But my intuition is the higher up you go, the less we should rely on sortition for actual decision-making and more on the consultation. I don’t know if that’s your view. But let’s ask professor Wang.

(08:36)

Wang: I think the issue of level is not important. The type of issue matters.There are two types of issues, and sortition is pretty good for solving certain problems. One is what I call a framework type of issue, namely, those related to some kind of rules of the game, like a Constitution and electoral law. It is so important, too important to leave it to professional politicians. So sortition perhaps can select a representative sample of a population so that they can participate in a discussion about amending the Constitution. Sortition can be used for framework issues, often at the national level.

Bell: Should they have decision making power or consultative power?

Wang: I am not so sure. In most of the practice so far, it’s a mixture of both. It’s not quite a consultative, because they may make a proposal for Constitutional change, then subject to a referendum. In the practices of recent years, the threshold of referendum was set at a relatively high level, normally seventy percent. It was the case in the British Columbia. Sortition formed a group which made a proposal for changing the electoral law. But then they had to go through a referendum to pass the hurdle. It didn’t pass, but if the hurdle is fifty percent it might have. So it depends. It could have decision making power, it could be just consultative. I don’t think that is major issue. In any case this is a one type of issue, framework type of issue. Constitutional law or electoral law, those are kind of framework types of issue.

The second type of issue is a specific type of issue, just like the traffic. How to allocate money for urban renewal, or village management? There are so many specific issues across different levels, from the grassroots all the way to national level. For the national level, you could some kind of convention composed of randomly selected people, to tackle such issues as immigration. So as I said before, the type of issue is more important than the question of level.

(11:23)

Bell: Well, which type of issue do you think sortition is not appropriate for?

Wang: For the selection of the leadership, it is not. For participation in the decision-making, it’s good. But for selecting leadership sortition is not a good method.

Bell: Why?

Wang: Because leadership, it is a kind of a professional kind of job. And if the system is truly democratic, the more the role of leadership is to implement a decision made by the population at large. So they need some special skill or knowledge to implement policies in many issue areas. That’s why.

Election is not a good method to select a leader either. As you argued, meritocracy is a much better method. And the ways the Chinese Communist Party has been doing so are even better than the traditional meritocracy. 锻炼, 先到基层去,再一层层地筛选[Work in the grass roots first, then get promoted level by level.]。 That is an invention of the Chinese Communist Party. It is different from traditional meritocracy.

 

Sintomer: I also agree that to select leadership, at least to select leadership at the final level, sortition is not the best way. It could be perhaps used like the Mexican party MORENA, whose president, Lopez Obrador, leads the polls for the next presidential elections, to select people from a short list to present candidates. It is interesting that when you ask citizens in Europe, about how they would like decisions to be taken, they answer something which seems contradictory. They say more power to experts on the one hand, and more power to the people on the other hand. And the common ground of these two apparently contradictory answers is that they don’t trust elected politicians. I think that we could have both, more expertise on meritocracy on the one hand and more democracy, especially in the form of random selection on the other hand.

In Germany, there have been experiments with hundreds of randomly selected mini-publics, and they’ve made a balance a few years ago about those issues which are good for randomly selected mini-publics. The issues which are inadequate are the following. Randomly selected mini-publics are not good for planning. If you want to plan transportation in one big city, then you have to use other means, other tools. But random selection is good to make a choice between two, three, four different answers, after the experts have done the job.  They conclude okay, we have two possibilities. In order to choose between these two possibilities, then randomly selected mini-publics are adequate. Random selection is good when impartiality is at stake about the rules of the game. If you’re in the West, the power to define the rule of the electoral game is usually given to the political parties. Those who have the power will define the rule. In the U.S. for example, the leading parties define the borders of the constituencies. It’s called gerrymandering. It’s not fair because those who are stronger in the game define the rules of the game. It is much better to give the power of defining the rules of the political game to a randomly selected body. Another issue, as professor Wang mentioned in his lecture, is that future generations don’t vote in the elections. In the West, politicians are concerned mostly by the next elections in a few years, and I think it would be very important to have randomly selected mini-publics, who will be in charge of representing the next generations, who will have the moral duty to act and pass laws for the next generations without having to be concerned by the next elections.

(16:40)

Wang: Let me just add one short point. Why did I say sortition is not good for selection of leadership? I meant that sortition by itself may not be sufficient. But in combination with another method, sortition can be useful. For instance, Chinese students perhaps watch TV Yu Chenglong, a well-known official in the Qing Dynasty. Yu Chenglong’s hometown is in Shanxi Province, but he was assigned to Guangxi. Do you know how that happened? It is through sortition. In late Ming dynasty and much of the Qing dynasty, they selected a pool of the officials through examination. Then they were randomly selected for specific positions. That’s how Yu Chenglong was assigned to Guangxi as a county magistrate. Republican Rome did the same, I mean, the governor to be appointed to the provinces came from a pool of the senators. But which senator was assigned to which province was decided by sortition. So sortition in combination with other methods could work.

(18:00)

Bell: Sintomer made a similar point about the Ming dynasty yesterday. Of course, it had a very strong meritocratic component, right? First, you succeed in the keju (examination) system.[1]. And then you could use sortition. Or in the case of Schwarzman College, it’s ultra-competitive to get in and then you can assume anybody who is selected to be a student leader by random means would be quite capable. You don’t have to worry too much. Just one point about leadership, we may have a somewhat different understanding. My understanding of leadership is that it’s not just about implementing the decisions of others; that’s what civil servants are supposed to do. But leadership is really about framing and deciding on the issues. And that’s why it’s important to have, according to my understanding, strong meritocratic mechanisms for leaders.

One question though, and which neither of you raise, regarding an issue where sortition may not be helpful. I can see where sortition could help to decide many issues of domestic policy, or representing those who aren’t represented in elections, like future generations. But what about foreign policy? I mean, do we want sortition to help decide whether a country should go to war or not? That seems to very dangerous. But maybe I’m missing something?

(19:25)

Sintomer: Well, it depends. I have no definite answers. But if I were a US citizen, I would prefer a randomly selected body to decide about this rather than leave the decision to Donald Trump.

Wang: I agree. On the issue war and peace, I think, common folks have a better sense than professional politicians.

Bell: But it depends on the kind of politician, right? One kind is more meritocratically selected and has a deep knowledge of history and good understanding of the social sciences, and is very cautious and temperate. , That leader surely is better than Donald Trump. And it’s better to leave the decision to go to war to that kind of leader than to people randomly selected by sortition.

(20:25)

Wang: At this moment when most people never heard about sortition or for first time heard about sortation, I think that the most important thing is to realize there are many methods to implement and to practice democracy. Election is one. Sortition is one. And there are many others. I would argue the mass-line of China is a very good method to practice democracy in China. There may be more. So why should we have the kind of illusion that only election can be used for implementing democracy? Our choices should be very open. So we can have all kinds of combination with or without sortition.

Bell: That’s very interesting. How can sortition be combined with the mass line?

(21:30)

Wang: For instance, mass line, the vanguard or official go to the grass roots to carry out a kind of investigation and so forth. How to select so-called experimental point could be based upon the random selection, otherwise you may be misled by the lower level of the leadership to a certain type of path. If you randomly select, the experiment will do much better job.

(22:13)

Bell: I want to turn to the issue of culture a little bit. Whether culture and history would maybe set constraints or help with the implementation of sortition? I mean, both of you went through many of the experiments in the contemporary world, and most of them are from either small communities like Iceland or Western countries which have a very strong kind of egalitarian ethos, where people tend to believe that ordinary people all have the equal capacity to make informed political judgments. But my understanding about China is that this view is not widely held. And also because of the size of the country, maybe it’s harder to make a case for sortition here, especially at higher levels of government. Well, before we talk about China, I just want to ask, does culture matter when it comes to deciding whether sortition is an appropriate mechanism or not? My assumption is that any sort of political practice institution that does not cohere with the basic cultural foundation of that society is hard to implement and even harder to consolidate.

(23:32)

Sintomer: Any political innovation faces a trade-off. If it’s a completely new and foreign to what has been done previously, it’s nearly impossible to implement a lasting reform and efficiently carried out reform. But on the other hand, if you just go on without moving, at a time when the world is moving quite rapidly, the risk is to a step backward and not be innovative enough. You have to respect both some path dependency and to be able to really innovate. I think that is true for China. In the case of Europe, if we remain too attached to the political system we used to know in the decades after WWII, the future will be dark. We are at a point in which we have to innovate quite radically, at least at the political level. Random selection has been important, in crucial periods of our history. We could appeal to this tradition, or better said, to construct a new tradition that includes sortition and not only elections in our political frame. We can rely on what has been done in the past, in a completely different world, with a complete different understanding of random selection means. But still, we can say it’s like Athens where democracy was invented in the West, in a source of legitimacy. In a society in which sortition never existed, the experiment may be perhaps more difficult to legitimize. Nevertheless, we can also say that the introduction of the Western political models in Africa or in Asia in the past decades has been a disaster. So we have to think about new models that would be inventions that mix traditions.

(26:05)

Wang: l think when we talk about the culture, we should not essentialize culture. Culture could change. Culture is quite malleable; even within a single culture, there are great deal of diversity. So all kinds of possibilities are perhaps already there, but have yet to be discovered. For instance, even in the case of West, we now know better because we did many years of study. If we do the same, you might find that in China this is also true. In China there is another case of this sortition, which is the Dalai Lama. The selection of Dalai Lama is through a process called jinping zhiqian. Zhiqian is sortition, Okay? So this idea must not be the first experiment. This had been practiced for several hundred years, though in the past. I think sortition is very relevant to, deliberative democracy. (xieshang minzhu), which has been widely practiced in China. Who is going to be in a pool of deliberation? How do you decide? I hardly heard any case of why electoral mechanisms can help deliberation. Sometimes leaders just appoint people to the deliberation process. But sometimes you could use random selection. So once you have idea of deliberative democracy, random election can become one of the better ways for selecting the people who participate in the deliberation process.

(28:42)

Bell: Thank you. I want to ask one question about social science. Because some of the books that professor Wang referred to, for example the book by Jason Brennan Against Democracy, basically they make a strong case against voter rationality: they rely on social science and to come up with very depressing conclusions about the average rationality of the voters, they show that voters systematically misunderstand issues, and those scholars use that information to make a case against elections. So my question is, first of all, do you agree that voters are often irrational? And secondly is sortition a way of dealing with that problem? Maybe professor Wang first.

(29:34)

Wang: Yes. If you trace the literature on voters’ behavior, there are tens, perhaps hundreds or thousands of books and articles. In the early years, people simply assumed voters were rational, but later they found maybe they’re not so rational. And in recent years the book titles suggest that they are irrational or even anti-rational. I mean it’s not just an expression of opinions. It is based on surveys of popular behavior or more specifically the study of electoral behavior. For instance, we all know the recent Facebook scandal. Facebook scandal tells us that people vote without much thinking, right? So the voter is not quite rational. Even if some individual voters were rational, the collective behavior of voters could be quite irrational. It depends at which level you talk about rationality.

Bell: So how can sortition deal with that problem?

Wang: In the election, you have to make a choice. In sortition, choice come to you.

(31:15)

Sintomer: First of all, any political device and procedure has different political meanings according to the society and period in which it is implemented. There is no fixed meaning. U.S politics now and U.S. politics in the eighteenth century, are not the same. Or French or German politics now and forty years ago, it’s not the same. The political communication, the role of social media and so on change the meaning of the system, change the meaning of the communication among rationality of citizens. Coming back to sortition, I would like to give one concrete example. At the moment in France, there is a big debate on global warming. There is a commission which is called the National commission for public debate, which organizes public debates on big issues, investment issues, transportation, high-speed trains and so on. This commission is, at the time-being organizing debates in all France about how to change our energy model, in which anybody can participate, NGO leaders, the researchers, ordinary citizens, interest groups. At the end of this phase, in June, a randomly selected mini public will have some information and deliberate about what was discussed previously and should make a proposal about four or five issues. The question is, do these citizens have to be previously educated on the issue, and to what extent? Should they receive materials? Should they make a public hearing? Should they work one day or three weekends? All these questions seem very technical but are crucial.  How is it possible for these ordinary citizens randomly selected to have a voice and to have a reasonable voice? The person who is organizing the all public debate, who actually was a famous French Maoist leader in the seventies, was initially deeply influenced by the mass line theory. But now, he wants to complement it with a randomly selected mini-public and we are discussing how to organize it. I am in favor of a serious formation, and of debate taking place during several weekends, with a lot of briefing material, with public hearings of different stakeholders.

Another important issue is the selection process. At this time in Western countries, it is not compulsory to accept to take part in political mini-publics (when it is compulsory, once one has been randomly selected, to take part in a popular jury in the judiciary). Among those citizens who are randomly selected, one among ten will say yes when they are paid, and will accept to discuss two, three weekends for discussing the issue. If you don’t pay citizens, only one among one hundred would say yes.

(35:29)

Bell: Thank you. I think this means elections maybe increases conflict. Because you have people representing different sides, you exaggerate the benefits of your own view and your opponent’s flaws and maybe it’s harder to solve problems. Sortition, once people are selected, their task is to seek more common ground and there may be more opportunities for deliberation. Then it could improve the rationality of participants. So I think that’s one clear case for sortition and against elections. And also in elections you vote in the privacy of a voting booth where you can allow the dark side of the self to manifest itself and nobody will know. But if you are selected by a sortition and you argue with others you have to publicly justify what you do. And the more noble side of people will hopefully be more manifest.

I would ask one thing. Conflict is important sometimes. I want to ask where you disagree. Professor Wang, please, just tell me where you disagree with professor Sintomer. Professor Sintomer, where do you disagree with professor Wang? I would like know where you disagree.

(36:42)

Wang: Professor Bell never experienced the Cultural Revolution. In the cultural revolution, we call this 挑动群众斗群众 [Inciting the masses to fight against the masses]. I don’t see there is much disagreement between us. Let me just make one more point. Many of you perhaps have heard of a recent case of the election of leaders of a school-parents association (家长会), which is like the PTA (parents-teacher association) in the United States. It’s an unimportant election. But you all heard of the case. In China, rich and better educated parents get elected by showing how they were educated in the UK, how much money they have, how they live in a better place and a have high position in a company. So this is a very unimportant election. The rationality plays a very big role. Rationality itself could become a problem as well. Just think that there are PTAs everywhere, in Chinese schools and kindergartens, random selection would be a much better choice than election. Also in Chinese countryside, now there is a big problem. Many villages are now managed by elected officials. Elected officials tend to be rich and powerful. From the Beijing’s point of view, it may not be that important. It is just a village. But if thousands of villages are controlled by rich men, then it becomes a huge matter. So rationality could become an even more serious problem than irrationality.

(39:02)

Bell: Professor Sintomer, where do you disagree with professor Wang?

Sintomer: Well, my problem was that all along professor Wang’s lecture I was seeking disagreement. Because you know when you are a scholar, you always think well, well, what’s wrong here? And I was thinking wow, I agree on nearly everything. Perhaps the only disagreement, but it’s probably more a different focus than a disagreement, is about the English books that professor Wang mentioned. I would suggest distinguishing between two lines. The first line is more of an activist case against elections and for random sortition. This line of argument is very important, because ordinary citizens don’t often read large books so more activist oriented books are important in order to make a larger public aware of the issues and to convince a lot of citizens. However, these more activists’ books are often not very serious, historically or sociologically. For example, the most popular book, Against the Elections, is a really good activist book but a bad book at scholarly level. We should also differentiate between these two dimensions.

Wang: I agree completely. I agree the two books Against Elections and Against Democracy are very different. I am against Against Democracy. But I prefer Against Elections. Both books are not quite academic books, more activism kind of books. But the book of Against Democracy reflects an anti-democratic tradition in the West. Now can we say that the democratic tradition is not that true? I mean now the tradition is anti-democracy. So the view expressed in the book Against Democracy is a kind of a view from Plato, Aristotle and other ancient political thinkers down to quite recent decades.

(42:50)

Bell: Maybe we’re getting close to the end so let me ask you a question. If you were given political power and you were to head of a country, what would you do to implement sortition? Only two things. In the case of professor Sintomer, think of a country that looks like France, how would you implement sortition in two areas? Then professor Wang, think a country that looks like China, how would you implement sortition? Only two things, please.

(43:16)

Sintomer: First, I would propose to replace the French Senate by a randomly selected chamber of the type I explained previously. And then I would give the power to citizen juries randomly selected to judge politicians, when they are accused of misbehavior. Because I don’t trust other politicians to do this, as in Brazil or in the USA, where the impeachment is voted by the Congress. I think it’s a bad setting. And I don’t trust judges for judging politicians. Because judges are a very specific, professional body, and very often, a highly conservative body. I trust more randomly selected citizens to judge politicians when they are accused of misbehavior. This will be the two places where I would implement randomly selected body.

(44:30)

Wang: If I were given political power, the first thing is that I will run away. I might criticize or comment on political issues but I don’t want to be in a position for any leadership of the top. So second thing. I can only talk about second thing. I agree with my friend, Professor Pan Wei at Peking University. Small things are more important than big things. Small issues are more important than large issues. As an ordinary citizen, we encounter all kind of small issues in our daily life. Those issues actually are more important than some so-called huge international issues. So I will advocate all kinds of deliberative democracy at the local level that should somehow be combined with elements of sortition. Don’t just allow political leaders to select who participates. There should be randomly selected people participants. This is the most important.

Sintomer: I mean, compared to Shandong Province, France is so small that as randomly selected team is a small team. [people laugh]

(46:08)

Bell [to audience]: So does anyone have a burning question or comment they want to make?

Audience: Okay. I am not a major in politics. I am not a major in law. We are just here as members of a common audience. I really want to thank for professor Wang. Because I mean our kids are now in the elementary primary school of Shandong University. And just now you mentioned the parents-teachers’ association. And this beautiful lady sitting beside me, she is the leader of this association. So maybe we’re trying to apply this theory into practice. And we would like to look forward to the amazing result. And also I like to thank for professor Sintomer. Professor Sintomer, just now you mentioned gender, right?  So we know as women, we take too much time in the in the family but we are also willing to take part in politics. Just now the young woman[2] said, maybe those people are at very low level, they don’t have the willingness to take part in politics. But actually we want to do that. This is why we have a good reason to sit here and listen to a field that may be very strange to us. But maybe we are inspired. I think we can apply this theory into our daily issue just like you have said. I really want to show our gratitude to all of you.

(48:08)

BELL: Final comment, please.

Wang: Your idea of politics perhaps is “Politics” with a capital letter P. But PTA is also politics. 业主委员会 (Homeowner Association) is politics..….I think homeowners’  associations would be better organized based on random selection. We have millions of such associations. We have millions of PTA. We have millions of this type of organizations operating in our daily life. It is all politics. Politics is about allocation of resources, especially power. So think about politics this way, you will see politics everywhere. Then you can practice everywhere. And small issues for ordinary people are more important than big issues. That’s very important.

Sintomer: I have observed tens of randomly selected mini-publics. One of the most crucial differences with professional politics is the high level of women participation in these randomly selected bodies. Gender distribution is equal in randomly selected bodies, but not in professional politics, either in the West or in China. I think this is a one of the great advantages of randomly selected publics. They look like society and in society women are as important as men.

[0:50:0]

BELL: Thank you so much for this stimulating dialogue.

[1] The examination system (keju zhi 科舉制) was the common method of selecting candidates for state offices. It was created during the Sui period (581-618) and became the prevalent form of selecting public officials during the Song period 宋 (960-1279).

[2] The young woman refers to another female who had raised a comment before this dialogue about the possibility that sortition may select someone who is not willing to take part in politics, or who is not capable to be a politician.