How elected deputies exercise state power in China

Editor's Note: Modern democracy varies from country to country and China has been exploring a democracy model that suits its own realities. How does democracy develop in China? What is the whole-process people's democracy? Why is the people's congress system a crucial institution for Chinese democracy? Wang Zhongyuan, a research fellow at the Fudan Institute for Advanced Study in Social Sciences, shares his in-depth views. The opinions expressed in the video are his own and not necessarily those of CGTN.

CGTN: How did China develop democracy over the past decades?

Wang Zhongyuan: In 2005, the State Council issued the first white paper on democracy in China. It defined socialist democracy as a three-in-one model that is a combination of the party leadership, the rule of law, and the people's democracy. This led to the remodeling of socialist democracy. So this move was to show the rest of the world that China has made remarkable progress in social development along with its rapid economic growth.

In December 2021, two years ago, China issued a new white paper called China: Democracy that works. The whole-process people's democracy was raised in that paper, and it has caught onto the latest dynamics within China and abroad. Domestically, local governors' innovations and achievements in poverty alleviation and economic development are all considered as the good performance of the Chinese public system.

CGTN: How does the elected NPC deputy exercise the state power?

Wang Zhongyuan: All congressional deputies and key government officials are directly or indirectly elected by voting in China. It is guaranteed by the election law, and the election process is rules-based. This shows that all political power in China is from the people.

The NPC deputy has the power to monitor the government. Every year in March, nearly 3,000 NPC deputies convene in Beijing to review government reports to discuss the country's government plans to raise people's concerns, so that people's ideas and expect expectations can be included into the top-level design. The government is held accountable in handling these proposals and suggestions made by the NPC deputies.

CGTN: Why is the people's congress system a crucial institution for the whole-process people's democracy?  

Wang Zhongyuan: The operational people's congress is closely related to the whole-process people's democracy.

Firstly, the rise of whole-process democracy originally came from the innovative practice of the NPC – on November 2nd, 2019, we built the grassroots lawmaking consultative center in Shanghai. In its early stage, the new term – the whole-process people's democracy – served to describe the experiments with democratic elements in the legislative process.   

Secondly, the operation of the people's congress is also fulfilling the whole-process people's democracy. This can be seen through the progress of authorization, accountability, and responsiveness, and other innovative local practices.

And finally, in the past few years, there have been many other new innovations by China's congress to put into practice the whole-process democracy, including the system of collecting people's suggestions and proposals, the system of grassroots contact centers for legislation, and the building of digital congress to more widely collect public opinions and promote government performance.

Editors: Xiao Qiong, Hao Xinxin

Graphic designer: Qi Haiming

Producer: Wang Ying

Chief editor: Li Shouen

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