I focus on Chinese democracy because President Xi Jinping has made "democracy" one of the six aspirational adjectives that China must become in order to build a modern socialist country in all respects and realize the country's "great rejuvenation" by mid-century. No democracy for China, no full socialist modernization, no great rejuvenation.
In Xi's axial Report to the 20th CPC National Congress, which describes the vision and lays out the path to modernization and rejuvenation, "democracy" appears 28 times, and the rich expression "whole-process people's democracy," which China calls democracy in its broadest, most genuine, and most effective form, appears nine times. These references emphasize comprehensively developing whole-process people's democracy as part of socialist advancement and modernizing China's system and capacity for governance.
In fact, "Whole-Process People's Democracy" is one of the 15 major topics of the Report. It is Number VI, "Advancing Whole-Process People's Democracy and Ensuring that the People Run the Country." Highlights include:
· Encourage the people's orderly participation in political affairs and guarantee their ability to engage in democratic elections, consultations, decision-making, management, and oversight in accordance with the law.
· Expand democratic channels, and diversify the forms of democracy, so as to ensure that people participate in the management of state, economic, cultural, and social affairs.
· Ensure that people's congresses at all levels are formed through democratic elections, responsible to the people, and subject to their oversight.
· Ensure that people's congresses lawfully exercise the powers of enacting laws, conducting oversight, making decisions, and appointing and removing officials.
· Improve working mechanisms for drawing on public opinion and pooling the wisdom of the people.
· Follow a Chinese path of human rights development and participate in global human rights governance.
The Report identifies "consultative democracy" as an essential way by which whole-process people's democracy is practiced by political parties, people's congresses, government departments, consultative committees, people's organizations, communities, and social organizations. The role of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference is emphasized.
The Report identifies "primary-level democracy" as a central manifestation of whole-process people's democracy, enabling community-level self-governance under the leadership of primary-level Party organizations.
A guiding principle is to increase transparency in government affairs.
No Chinese can deny that there are challenges and obstacles in reaching for these high standards of democracy. No foreigner can deny that China takes democracy seriously, giving specific exhortations on what needs to be improved.
What I also like is that China's democracy is not, as we've seen in certain countries, a phony multi-party system with sham elections.
We continue to watch.
Script: Robert Lawrence Kuhn
Editors: Yang Yutong, Hao Xinxin
Designer: Qi Haiming
Producer: Wang Ying
Supervisors: Ge Jing, Adam Zhu
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