The ongoing experiments with grassroots political reforms by the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) should eventually transform China into a democracy, says Li Junru, vice president of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.
The Party, which celebrates its 85th founding anniversary on July 1, had been piloting its so-called internal democracy, under which Party members and ordinary people were invited to play a role in decision-making at local level, said Li.
"The realization of democracy within the Party is expected to play an exemplary and driving role for realizing democracy for the nation," said Li, who is widely seen as a top theorist in the field of "Party building".
The internal democratic reform, which Li called "a new approach to China's political reform", was carried out when the Party launched a two-year program to reshuffle leadership at provincial, municipal, county and township levels early this year.
The political reform within the CPC, which has 70 million members, had remolded and improved the Party's electoral, decision-making, and supervision capacities. It would inevitably affect all the country's 1.3 billion people, Li said.
In 1994, the Party made its first steps toward internal reforms, and a series of new mechanisms had since been created for developing internal democracy and protecting the fundamental rights of Party members.
The Party has tried to introduce competition to local elections or invite non-members to play a role in these elections.
This year, the CPC Jiangsu provincial committee made a bolder step in the reform by guaranteeing the rights of members and the public to participation in, information on and supervision over the local elections.
The new approach has been adopted in Party elections in Jiangsu's 891 townships and towns.
"This will help show the Party's decision-making is scientific and democratic," Li said.
China's modern democracy would develop along with the market economy, he said.