What is True Democracy?

(People's Daily Online) 10:45, December 10, 2021

On 9 December 2021, an article titled “What is True Democracy” by H.E. Liu Hongyang, the Chinese Ambassador to Malawi, was published on Nation and Daily Times, the leading newspapers in Malawi. Following is the full text of the article:

Recently, the term "democracy" seems to have become fashionable. Certain country calls itself "the leader of democracy" and convenes "the Summit for Democracy", arbitrarily categorizing countries in the world into various grades and ranks, and labeling them as being "democratic" or "undemocratic", which has sparked the discussion on "democracy" in the international community. So, what exactly is democracy? Who defines democracy? How to judge whether a country is truly democratic or not? I would like to take this opportunity to share my views on "true democracy" and "good democracy" in combination with the whole-process people's democracy in China.

Whole-process people’s democracy guarantees that all power of the state belongs to the people. H.E. Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out: “People’s democracy is whole-process democracy. Whether people enjoy democratic rights or not depends on whether they have the right to cast votes, as well as whether they have the right to constantly participate in everyday political activities. Besides having the right to democratic elections, it also depends on whether they have right to democratic decision-making, democratic management, and democratic oversight.” The Communist Party of China (CPC) has united and led the entire Chinese people to establish a series of democratic political systems with the system of people's congresses as the core, continuously expanding the people’s orderly political participation, ensuring that the people enjoy extensive rights and freedoms in accordance with the law, and ensuring that the people’s voice can be heard by the Party and the State in all aspects of decision-making, implementation, and oversight. From legislation, economic and social development planning, fiscal budget preparation and implementation supervision at state level, to property management, household waste classification management, etc. in everyday life, people can truly participate, which shows that democracy that guarantees the people as masters of the country to the greatest extent is true democracy and good democracy.

Whole-process people’s democracy effectively safeguards and advances the fundamental interests of the people. H.E. President Xi Jinping said: “Democracy is not a decorative ornament, but an instrument for addressing the issues that concern the people.” During the just-concluded 6th plenary session of the 19th CPC central committee, it was stressed again that the entire Party must act in line with the people-centered philosophy of development, so as to better realize, safeguard, and advance the fundamental interests of the people, and unite and lead the Chinese people in working ceaselessly for a better life. Development is the greatest democracy. Whole-process people’s democracy effectively represents the people’s will, protects the people’s rights, unleash the people’s potential to create, and mobilizes and gathers all the people to participate in the socialist modernization as masters of the country. China has built a moderately prosperous society in all respects, historically ended absolute poverty, effectively prevented and controlled the COVID-19 pandemic, and maintained rapid economic growth and long-term social stability. People's sense of happiness is constantly improving. Thus, democracy that brings people happy life is true democracy and good democracy.

Whole-process people’s democracy has won the support of the people. Democracy takes different forms, and there is no one-size-fits-all model. It would be totally undemocratic to measure the diverse political systems in the world with a single yardstick or examine different political civilizations from a single perspective. H.E. President Xi Jinping stressed: “Democracy is a common value shared by all humanity. It is a right for all nations, not a prerogative reserved to a few. There are multiple ways and means to realize democracy, instead of a single stereotype. The judgment on whether a country is democratic or not should be made by their people, not by the handful of outsiders.” China's socialist democracy embodies the people’s will, conforms to China's national conditions, and has won the support of the people. The satisfaction and support rate of the Chinese people towards the Chinese government has reached over 95% for years. Therefore, the standard for measuring democracy should be whether it meets the needs of the people of the country, and whether the people of the country have enough sense of participation, satisfaction, and gain. Democracy that is deeply rooted in the soil of the country and brings people satisfaction and happiness is true democracy and good democracy.

People of the world are seeing more and more clearly that in some countries that claim to be “beacons of democracy”, the so-called democratic elections only serve the capital and the few. The people have only the right to vote, but not the right to extensive participation. The people are only called upon to vote and then are forgotten once they have cast their votes. Such democracy is not true democracy; certain countries ignore domestic political polarization, ethnic antagonism, wealth gap, proliferation of guns, and ineffective pandemic prevention, but are keen to divide the world, create divisions, and wantonly interfere in the internal affairs of other countries under the banner of democracy. Such democracy is not true democracy; certain countries try to monopolize the right to interpret democracy, distort the main principles of democracy, willfully set democratic standards, and even exploit democracy as a political tool to serve their own selfishness. Such democracy is not true democracy, but dictatorship of “democracy”.

History and reality have fully proved that China’s democratic model conforms to its own national conditions and is supported by the people. It is true and successful democracy that works. Under the strong leadership of the CPC, the Chinese people are fully confident and capable of giving full play to the characteristics and advantages of socialist democratic politics, and making contributions which are full of Chinese wisdom to the progress of human political civilization by developing new achievements in the whole-process people’s democracy. Meanwhile, China will continue to uphold the democratization of international relations, oppose the dictatorship of “democracy”, and advocate that all countries follow a democratic path that suits their own national conditions and the needs of the people, and jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind in a spirit of mutual respect and learning.

For reference, I would like to share with readers the white paper titled "China: Democracy That Works." released by China's State Council Information Office on 4 December 2021. (http://www.news.cn/english/2021-12/04/c_1310351231.htm)


(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


Related Stories