How is democracy defined? What makes a system democratic or not? Is China’s political system democratic?
Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, addressed these questions at a central conference on work related to people’s congresses earlier this month. He offered insights into how democracy works in the country:
President Xi stressed the imperative of further promoting the whole-process democracy that enables the Chinese people to be broadly involved in national governance. “Democracy is not an ornament to be used for decoration, it is to be used to solve the problems that the people want to solve,” he emphasized, “The key to a country’s democracy lies in whether the people run the country, depending on if the people have the right to vote and more importantly, whether the people have the right to broad participation.”
“If the people are awakened only for voting but enter a dormant period soon after, if they are given a song and dance during campaigning but have no say after the election, or if they are favored during canvassing but are left out in the cold after the election, such a democracy is not a true democracy,” he added.
Democracy is a right that all people around the world enjoy, not a privilege reserved to a small minority of countries. Whether a country is democratic or not should be judged by its own people, not by a handful of people from the outside, President Xi said, adding
that whether a member of the international community is democratic or not should be judged together by the international community, not by a self-righteous minority.
There are many ways to achieve democracy, and there is no one-size-fits-all model, President Xi pointed out. It is undemocratic in itself to use a single yardstick to measure the world’s various political systems and examine the rich political civilization of mankind with a monochrome eye.
In China’s political system, the people exercise state power through the National People’s Congress, the country’s top legislature, and local people’s congresses at different levels, ensuring their interests are reflected in the decision-making process. The people’s congress system has provided an important institutional guarantee for the Chinese people, led by the CPC, to create the miracles of fast economic growth and long-term social stability over the past 60 years, particularly over the four decades of reform and opening-up.
While highlighting that whole-process people’s democracy in China is “the broadest, most genuine, and most effective socialist democracy” safeguarding the fundamental interests of the people, President Xi required efforts to further promote the principle of the
running of the country by the people in national governance and reflect this in specific efforts to meet people’s aspirations for a better life.
President Xi called for upholding and improving the system of people’s congresses, a political system fundamental to the Party’s leadership, the running of the country by the people, and law-based governance. He said that such a system ensures the realization of whole-process democracy in the country.
(By: Embassy of People’s Republic of China in Ethiopia)