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Commentary: Noteworthy changes of China's democratic political process


08:04, November 14, 2012

BEIJING, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- Talking is no longer enough for delegates to the congresses of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

They are encouraged to turn their suggestions and criticisms into written proposals, and submit them to CPC authorities and request a reply.

The change occurs after the Party borrows the bill system in the national legislature to introduce a proposal-submitting practice for experimental purposes.

Although delegates are free to advise and criticize the Party committees elected by them, due to a lack of institutional guarantee, their verbal proposals are sometimes unheeded. If the Party authorities do take their opinions seriously, few of them are informed of what has been done.

By writing the practice into Hu Jintao's report to the CPC National Congress this year, the Party has manifested its resolve to consolidate the principal position of ordinary members in the Party with institutional improvement.

When the experiment expands, delegates who waste time with empty talk and exercise political cunning to curry favor with higher-ups will have nowhere to hide. Straight-talkers who put the needs of the people and the Party first will stand out.

It will also encourage delegates elected by the Party's members to network with ordinary people to understand their needs. Being a delegate to CPC congresses will mean more responsibility.

The initiative, though at a preliminary stage, offers a glimpse into China's democratic political process, which features the unity of the leadership of the Party, the position of the people as masters of the country and law-based governance.

Other measures introduced to promote intra-Party democracy include increasing the proportion of delegates from among workers and farmers to Party congresses, and improving the system of intra-Party election, and standards governing multi-candidate nomination and election.

Compared with Western democracy, the CPC uses a method that combines electoral democracy with consultative democracy and emphasizes the centralized leadership and unity of the Party based on democracy.

Without sufficient institutional guarantees to check power and enhance supervision, securing all members' equal rights, regardless of their ranks, will be idle talk.

As the country is strained by social ills such as yawning wealth gap, environmental woes and unsafe food, all Party members must heighten their sense of urgency and sense of responsibility and focus on strengthening the Party's governance capacity.

The case of Bo Xilai has sounded an alarm bell for the CPC. The whole Party is confronted with increasingly grave dangers of lacking in drive, incompetence, being out of touch with the people and corruption.

People's trust is no windfall to any political party. Over the past decades, Chinese Communists and the people have, through indomitable struggles, achieved major successes in revolution, development and reform.

The CPC must steadily improve its art of leadership and governance, and increase its ability to resist corruption, prevent degeneration and ward off risks in order to consolidate its position as the governing party.

Before the 18th CPC National Congress opened, over 4.5 million netizens submitted more than 190,000 suggestions via three web portals to voice their expectations, revealing the powerful drive of social media in China's democracy.

In the years to come, the challenges for China's new leaders will be more complicated and unpredictable. The key for the CPC to tide over each difficulty will be revisiting its oath "to serve the people, heart and soul."

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