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Democracy with Chinese Characteristics

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Democracy with

Chinese Characteristics

Highlights of white paper, titled “China: Democracy That Works,” released by the State Council Information Office.

For many years, the world has been fed with a unilateral view of democracy. The narrative has been based on notions that true democracy can only come from the West, which has, for long, assigned itself the role of “civilizing” other societies.
The champion of Western liberal democracy is, of course, the United States. The US has wielded the carrot- and-stick approach in its perennial quest to democratize other countries, setting conditions for those who wish to relate closely with it. Fortunately for hapless countries, this coercion is gradually backfiring. The cracks were exposed by President Donald Trump whose four-year term was laden with drama, as he ran roughshod over the country’s democratic structures and institutions. The January 06 Capitol attack was a watershed moment for the country’s democratic evolution!
Indeed, the folly of liberal democracy as espoused by the West is now becoming evident. Western countries are falling by their own sword, with increasing social and economic vices threatening the countries with implosion. The licentious freedom particularly in the West has plagued the superpower with endemic vices, including gun violence, violent crime and drug addiction among the youth.
However, countries like China have disabused the West of the notion that its democracy is a one-size-fits-all system where everybody must play ball. On December 4, China released a white paper, titled “China: Democracy That Works,” describing its own version of democracy. The document says the Communist Party of China has developed what is called a whole-process people’s democracy as a key concept, to translate democratic values into effective institutions and concrete actions. The essence of people’s democracy is the people’s status as masters of the country. The white paper also explains China’s democratic institutional framework, as well as its concrete and pragmatic practices. It points out that democracy is not a democratic decoration, but should address the issues that concern the people. It also emphasizes that democracy is the right of the people in every country, rather than the privilege of a few nations. The white paper says whether a country is democratic or not is judged by its own people, rather than by outsiders. The white paper also points out that democracy has many forms, and says China’s democracy is thriving with other countries in the history of world civilization. China is ready to contribute its experience and strength to global political progress through cooperation and mutual learning. Below are some highlights of the paper.

The writer is a member of staff.

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