In our American republic, representatives are more-or-less directly elected. While many of our founding fathers dreamed that such representatives would be elected on their ability to represent and advance the interest of the masses, we see now that instead they are elected for their propensity to stir the passions of the masses, whether or not those passions represent the common interest. They do not design enlightened policy.
In the People’s Republic of China, citizens elect representatives, who then elect represenatives within higher levels of government. Each level, then, elects the layer above it, until you reach the highest brass. These leaders have managed to lead China into the 21st century more-or-less successfully. They have cultivated astonishing economic growth, but trampled human rights left anf right. Their distance from the people leads to both of these things: enlightened fiscal directives, and crushing social policies.
These two republics represent opposite ends of a spectrum. On one end of the spectrum, the electorate directly chooses lawmakers, while at the other end, lawmakers choose lawmakers. The former foments an inept political class, while the latter cultivates a heartless bureaucratic one. Republics necessarily fall somewhere along this spectrum, such that a republic’s architect must attempt to balance the ineptitude of representatives against their propensity for corruption and abuse of power. No matter where the balance falls, the resultant republic cannot help but work against the people, whether because its agents do not know how to do good, or because those agents have no desire to do so.