Recently, democracy is being widely discussed around the world. Democracy comes so diversely as the world is differently coloured. There is an old Chinese saying: “People don’t need to wear the same shoes, they should find what suit their feet. Governments don’t have to adopt the same model of governance, they should find what benefits their people.” We cannot assess the myriad political systems in the world against a single yardstick, which is by itself undemocratic. But certain countries try to monopolise the definition and judgment of democracy, use democracy as a banner to divide the world into opposing camps. Its true intention is to advance hegemony under the guise of democracy. It is, as a matter of fact, a betrayal of democratic spirit and much less true democracy. Here I want to share some views on democracy.
Democracy is a common value of humanity, instead of a patent to be claimed by any one country. The Communist Party of China (CPC) is faithful, active, and exemplary in pursuing, exploring, and practicing democracy. Since its establishment 100 years ago, the CPC always upheld the banner of people’s democracy and led the people in realising people’s democracy in China, a country with a feudal history dating back several thousand years which descended into a semi-feudal and semi-colonial society in modern times. In the early 1930s, the CPC established the congress of workers, peasants and soldiers in Ruijin, capital of the Chinese Soviet Republic.
During War of Resistance against Japanese aggression, illiterate peasants, led by the CPC, would vote for their ideal candidates by casting beans as ballots. When the People’s Republic of China was founded, the people’s democratic dictatorship was adopted as the governing system, and the system of people’s congresses was instituted as the governing structure, which ensured the organic unity of the leadership of the CPC, the running of the country by the people, and law-based governance and realised the conformity of the guidelines of the CPC, the will of the state, and the expectations of the people.
The Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the CPC adopted the Resolution on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century, which systematically reviewed the successful experience and major achievements over the development of socialist democracy. Recently, when casting his vote for people’s congress deputies at a polling station in Zhongnanhai electoral district in Xicheng district, Beijing, President Xi Jinping reiterated the importance of furthering the nation’s whole-process people’s democracy to better ensure that the people run the country.
The whole-process people’s democracy covers all aspects of the democratic process and all sectors of society. Under it, people exercise their democratic rights not only in regular elections, and but also through involvement in decision-making on major public affairs important to the economy and people’s lives. This democracy is conducted not only by means of elections, but also through democratic consultation, decision-making, management, scrutiny, and other mechanisms of governance. It is not only a political activity; it also relates to economic, cultural, social and other fields. Indeed, it has become an integral part of daily life and work.
Since 2016, more than one billion registered voters have elected close to 2.5 million deputies to county and township level people’s congresses. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, public opinion has been solicited on 187 draft laws. Over 3 million submissions have been made by 1.1 million people, and many important suggestions from these submissions have been adopted. When drafting the 14th Five-Year Plan, the Chinese government also sought advice of the public. On the internet alone, the government received more than one million pieces of opinions and suggestions.
According to the latest authoritative international survey, the Chinese people’s overall satisfaction toward the CPC and the Central Government exceeds 95 per cent and 98 per cent respectively. It is fully proven by both history and reality that China’s model of democracy fits in well with its national conditions. It successfully integrates process-oriented democracy with results-oriented democracy, procedural democracy with substantive democracy, direct democracy with indirect democracy, and people’s democracy with the will of the state. It is real, effective, and successful democracy.
Beyond democracy within the Party and throughout China, the CPC has vigorously promoted democracy in international relations. Shortly after the founding of the PRC, the CPC advocated that the five principles of peaceful coexistence as the norms for countries to follow in establishing and building relations with each other. As the world is facing changes unseen in a century, China actively promote the building of a new model of international relations based on mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation, and holds that all countries, large or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal.
Major country should behave as it is, make the future of humanity their priority, and shoulder greater responsibility for world peace and development. Certain big country wants to lecture others on the democracy issue in the world, and however domestically it’s deeply troubled by political polarisation, wealth disparity, social division, racial divide. Internationally, it imposed its own model of democracy on other countries through forces which only led to conflict and chaos in many countries and firmly opposed by the peace lovers around the world.
China and Nepal both are developing countries with ancient civilisations, and take a similar stance on democracy. We are glad to see that since establishing the federal democratic republic system in 2008, Nepal promulgated the new constitution based on its own national conditions, successfully held the three-tier elections, and made continuous efforts to improve the democratic system so as to achieve prosperity of the country and the happiness of its people. On international arena, China and Nepal both oppose interference in other countries’ domestic affairs by certain countries, and commit to safeguard the national sovereignty, promote democracy in international relations and jointly deal with the common challenges including COVID-19 and climate change, facing the humanity.
Democracy is not an ornament for decoration and should be used to solve the problems which the people want to solve. We are willing to work together with countries which stand up for justice in the world including Nepal to uphold true democracy and oppose pseudo-democracy. Let us jointly build a community with a shared future for humanity, continuously elevate our capacity and efficacy to ensure the people’s well-being, and make democracy thrives like an evergreen tree.
(The author is the Chinese Ambassador to Nepal.)