Democracy, shared human values: Forum on democracy opens in Beijing
Updated 12:58, 05-Dec-2021

Democracy is a shared value of mankind rather than a patent that can only be defined by a few countries, an international forum on democracy proposed on Saturday.

The forum, named "International Forum on Democracy: The Shared Human Values" opened in Beijing with more than 500 domestic and foreign senior politicians and scholars from over 120 countries, regions and international organizations taking part in the two-day event.

Huang Kunming, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, Shen Haixiong, president of China Media Group (CMG) and Xie Fuzhan, president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, made keynote speeches.


Whole-process people's democracy, a great creation of China's democracy

Huang stressed that democracy is a shared value of mankind and a significant symbol of the progress of human civilization.

He shared four thoughts regarding the CPC propositions on democracy.

First, democracy is a relentless commitment of the CPC and the Chinese people, Huang said. The CPC has always been committed to pursuing happiness for the people and the national rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. It has conducted relentless exploration on the people's status as masters of the country.

Secondly, Huang reiterated that the people's status as masters of the country is the essence of people's democracy.

Noting that Saturday is China's National Constitution Day, Huang said that all power belongs to the people as prescribed in the Constitution. Under the principle of people as masters of the country, China is continuing to improve its democratic system and forms and broaden its democratic channels.

Democracy is not a decorative ornament but an instrument for addressing the issues that concern the people, Huang stated.

Thirdly, the minister highlighted China's whole-process people's democracy by calling it a great creation of China's democracy.

China's socialist democracy is the broadest, most genuine, and most effective democracy, Huang stressed, adding that it is implemented through a combination of processes, including elections, consultations, decision-making, management and oversight.

China's whole-process people's democracy integrates process-oriented democracy with results-oriented democracy, procedural democracy with substantive democracy, direct democracy with indirect democracy, and people's democracy with the will of the state, according to Huang.


Fourthly, Huang said there is no "one-size-fits-all" model of democracy, noting that every country's democratic politics are rooted in their history, culture, and tradition.

Democracy is not a patent for a few countries, Huang stated, calling on countries to enhance communication and exchanges on their democratic practices.

Whether a country is democratic or not, its people are the most appropriate ones to answer the question, Huang said, adding that it's not appropriate for one country to judge other countries' democratic practices.

Every country has the right to decide its political system and choose the democratic path that best suits its national context, he stated.

U.S. democracy 'seriously sick'

For his part, Shen spoke highly of the efficiency and fairness of China's whole-process people's democracy.

Stressing that there is no "one-size-fits-all" democracy model, Shen criticized the U.S. for imposing its version of democracy on other countries regardless of their cultural and historical differences.

It brought economic disruptions and humanitarian disasters to local populations and damaged world peace and stability, Shen said.


The U.S. Capitol riot in early January, Washington's hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan and the country's record-high death toll during COVID-19 pandemic have exposed that the American democracy is getting seriously sick, Shen said.

Echoing Huang's words that a country's democracy should only be judged by its people, Shen said real democracy should be used to improve people's well-being and remain people-centered.

Noting that CGTN coverage on Afghanistan has shown the world the real situation in the country, Shen pledged that China Media Group (CMG) will continue to shoulder its responsibility as a major international media to spread the truth and share democratic stories in China.

"We are going to work actively to push forward the construction of a healthy global public opinion environment, continue enhancing exchanges between different civilizations to contribute to building a community with a shared future for mankind," Shen said.

Echoing Huang's words, Xie said that democracy is a concrete phenomenon that is constantly evolving. Rooted in history, culture and tradition, it takes diverse forms and develops along the paths chosen by different peoples based on their exploration and innovation.

He called on think tanks to enhance exchanges on relevant studies to clear misunderstandings and make contributions to promoting shared values of mankind as well as the construction of a community with a shared future for mankind.


Foreign guests' views on democracy

Other speakers also expressed their opinions on democracy at the forum.

Yukio Hatoyama, former prime minister of Japan, said the U.S. instead of overemphasizing its values should focus on the common values shared by the international community so as to avoid a zero-sum game in international relations.

Stjepan Mesic, former president of Croatia, called for multilateralism when it comes to global governance. He underlined the UN's central role in global governance and stressed that the organization is qualified to promote world peace and stability driven by the noble cause of human progress.

Kenneth M. Quinn, former U.S. ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia and strategic advisor to the U.S. Heartland China Association recalled his experience in Cambodia and expressed hope that China and the U.S. could work together to promote democracy through collaboration and multilateral diplomacy carried out within the UN framework.

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