Why democracy works in China?
First Voice

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Democracy is never a slogan for political gains. Unlike some Western politicians shouting "democracy" to bomb other countries, democracy in China means its people – not certain politicians or consortiums – being the masters of the country.

"Democracy is not a decorative ornament, but an instrument for addressing the issues that concern the people," according to a white paper released Saturday by China's State Council Information Office. "Whether a country is democratic depends on whether its people are truly the masters of the country," the white paper titled "China: Democracy That Works" reads.

In China, state power is not influenced by personal wealth, status, or social relations. It is enjoyed by all. China's whole-process democracy ensures its people can widely exercise their right to vote, undertake extensive deliberations, take part in carrying out the decisions they have reached and manage their own affairs.

This prevents China's political process from being manipulated by certain individuals or consortiums. While in some self-touted "democratic" countries, politicians shower promises to win votes and break them all once elected, China faces no such problem. Whole-process democracy means people's voices are heard and respected throughout the elections, consultations, decision-making, management and oversight.

In China, democracy is never a tool to win over opponents in dirty political games or an excuse for selfish gains. It is a prerequisite to people's extensive rights, efficient national governance, social stability, and effective supervision of the exercise of power.

In contrast to some malicious Western allegations, human rights are fully respected in China. Living a life of contentment – having enough food on the table, sharing equal access to healthcare, education, and social welfare, and never worrying about being gunned down on the street – is among the things the Chinese government cherishes the most.

In China – the country frequently discredited by malicious Western forces as an "evil" state where human rights violations are around every corner – the number of people covered by basic medical insurance has exceeded 1.3 billion, and those covered by basic old-age insurance has surpassed 1 billion. The entire country has eradicated absolute poverty.

Such achievements are possible because China has put all its efforts in serving its people, not certain politicians or interests groups. While some Western countries are treating politics as a blood sport between the powerful and rich and paying lip service to real democracy, China has been earnestly improving its system of democracy.

People wave Chinese national flags after a grand national flag-raising ceremony held at the Tian'anmen Square in Beijing, China, January 1, 2021. /Xinhua

People wave Chinese national flags after a grand national flag-raising ceremony held at the Tian'anmen Square in Beijing, China, January 1, 2021. /Xinhua

It's true that China is led by the Communist Party of China (CPC). But it can never be equated with a system of one-party rule or even interpreted as authoritarianism. In addition to the CPC, eight other political parties participate fully in the administration of state affairs. The CPC consults with the other parties and non-affiliates on major policies and willingly accepts their democratic scrutiny.

While ensuring voices are heard equally, such an arrangement can effectively prevent divisions in society where political parties only act in their own interests. China's achievements demonstrate that multiparty cooperation and political consultation under the CPC leadership can effectively unite all parties and non-affiliates for a common goal.

"Whether a country is democratic should be judged by its people, not dictated by a handful of outsiders," the white paper reads. Democracy manifests itself in many forms. Using one single yardstick to assess the myriad political systems is undemocratic in itself. A country is democratic as long as its people's status as the master of the country is guaranteed.

But still, U.S.-led Western countries have been acting as the "final judge" on China's democracy. Do they have the right to dictate? Just take a look at a survey conducted by Harvard University between October 26 and November 8. Among 2,109 Americans aged between 18 and 29, more than half believe their country is a "democracy in trouble" or a "failed democracy," and only 7 percent regard America as a healthy democracy.

In the meantime, a poll by Harvard Kennedy School found "Chinese citizen satisfaction with government has increased virtually across the board," with 95.5 percent of respondents either "relatively satisfied" or "highly satisfied" with the government in 2016. After the pandemic, Chinese citizens' trust in their government increased to 98 percent, according to another survey conducted in April 2020, The Washington Post reported. 

Figures speak. Democracy has no fixed model. True, China has different political systems and structures. But this doesn't prevent China from functioning as a real democracy.

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