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Understanding China’s Whole-Processed People’s Democracy
——Signed Article by Chinese Ambassador to Seychelles H.E. Mme GUO Wei on the white paper “China: Democracy That Works”
Chinese Embassy in Seychelles
2021-12-31 15:06

Recently, the Nation, one of the largest-selling newspapers in Seychelles, published a signed article by Chinese Ambassador to Seychelles H.E. Mme GUO Wei on the white paper “China: Democracy That Works”, entitled Understanding China’s Whole-Processed People’s Democracy, sharing her views on what is China’s whole-process people’s democracy, how to understand democracy of different forms, and what China’s democracy means to the world. The full text is as follows:

Democracy is a common value of humanity, and it is also an important idea that the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese people have always adhered to. On 4th December, 2021, the Chinese government released the white paper “China: Democracy That Works”, which comprehensively expounds the major ideas, standards, the core essence of and China’s major contributions to the whole-process people’s democracy proposed by President Xi Jinping. In order to help Seychellois friends better understand China’s democratic development model, I would like to share my views on what is China’s whole-process people’s democracy, how to understand democracy of different forms, and what China’s democracy means to the world.

(I) What are China’s views on democracy and what is the whole-process people’s democracy?

Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC was convened in 2012, President Xi summarised the practice of China’s democratic political construction and put forward the great idea of whole-process people’s democracy. It has became the guiding ideology of the Party and the state. Its main points are as follows:

The most basic criterion for democracy is whether people have the right to participate extensively in national governance, whether people’s demands can be responded to and satisfied. In China, The people participate in the management of state affairs, social affairs, and economic and cultural affairs; they provide opinions and suggestions for the design of national development plans at the highest level, and also contribute to the governance of local public affairs; they take part in democratic elections, consultations, decision-making, management, and oversight; they express their aspirations and demands through channels such as the people's congresses and the CPPCC, and through platforms like social organizations and the internet. China has ensured that its people have channels to express their aspirations, wishes and demands on issues ranging from important national strategies and policies to social governance and basic necessities of life, enabling their voices to be heard and their requests to be answered. Democracy in China gives full expression to the guidelines of the CPC, the will of the state, and the expectations of the people, uniting the Party, the government and the people behind shared goals, interests and aspirations. This generates a huge cohesive force that translates into one of China's great institutional strengths – the ability to pool resources to accomplish major initiatives.

Democracy is not a decorative ornament, but an instrument for addressing the issues that concern the people. Whole-process people’s democracy in China is not about formality, but democracy that really makes people happy and benefits people’s livelihood. Since the Party's 18th National Congress in 2012, China has led the people to address major risks, such as achieving a strategic success in the fight against the Covid-19 epidemic. China's economy has maintained long-term, stable, and rapid growth, and people's lives have significantly improved. China has established the world's largest social security system. The number of people covered by basic medical insurance has surpassed 1.3 billion, and the number of those covered by basic old-age insurance has now exceeded 1 billion. China has completed the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects. The entire country has shaken off absolute poverty and embarked on the road to common prosperity.

Whether a model of democracy works should be tested in actual practice and judged by the people. Whether China's model of democracy is successful should be judged by its people. It all boils down to whether the people can enjoy a good life. Surveys have shown that the level of public satisfaction with the government has remained above 90 percent for many years. This provides unequivocal evidence of the efficacy and vitality of democracy in China. The Chinese people will continue firmly on the path they have chosen to achieve greater democracy.

(II) How to correctly view the difference between Chinese and Western democracy? 

There are no identical political systems in the world, neither is there a political model that fits all. Countries with different histories, cultures and national conditions may choose different forms of democracy. Countries can borrow from the successful experience of others and develop forms of democracy suited to their own modernization process, but they should not simply duplicate other systems or models. The model that suits best is always the most appropriate. Only democracy rooted in a country's unique social environment has proven to be reliable and effective, and can thrive and progress. External interference and "democratic transformation" bring nothing but endless trouble. 

Democracy is the right of the people in every country, rather than the prerogative of a few nations. Whether a country is democratic should be judged by its people, not dictated by a handful of outsiders. Whether a country is democratic should be acknowledged by the international community, not arbitrarily decided by a few self-appointed judges. There is no fixed model of democracy; it manifests itself in many forms. Assessing the myriad political systems in the world against a single yardstick and examining diverse political structures in monochrome are in themselves undemocratic.

It is of vital importance for China to choose a path to democracy suited to a vast country with a large population. China draws on each and every political achievement of other countries, but does not imitate any of their models of democracy. China welcomes all constructive suggestions and well-intentioned criticism, but rejects any form of overbearing lecture. China never seeks to export the Chinese model of democracy, nor does it allow any external force to change the Chinese model under any circumstances. China must devise the most suitable form of democracy in accordance with its characteristics and realities – a basic principle China adheres to for developing democracy.

(III) What does China’s democracy mean to the world?

Democracy manifests itself in two dimensions: On a national level, it refers to the people's status as masters of their own country; on an international level, it refers to the democratic relations between nations.

China is a faithful and exemplary actor in pursuing, exploring and practicing democracy. It endeavors to increase democracy both within its own territory and between nations. At a time of momentous change of a scale unseen in a century, China champions peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit. China proposes to build a global community of shared future, and presses for a new model of international relations based on mutual respect, fairness and justice, and win-win cooperation. At a time of intense global competition in the economic, scientific, technological and other fields, China regards other countries as partners rather than rivals – it does not engage in cold war, confrontation, control or manipulation, but rather promotes mutually beneficial exchanges and cooperation.

China has actively developed global partnerships. It works to establish a framework of major-country relations that is generally stable and balanced. In developing relations with neighboring countries, it applies the principles of amity, sincerity, inclusiveness, mutual benefit, and the policy of promoting friendly and neighborly ties. In strengthening cooperation with other developing countries, China pursues the greater good and shared interests, and applies the principles of sincerity, affinity, good faith and real results. China has strengthened exchanges and cooperation with countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative and shared the gains with them, expanding the initiative into more regions and turning it into a well-received global public good.

Political systems vary from civilization to civilization, and each has its own strengths. All countries should uphold the principle of nondiscrimination, respect others' models of democracy, share experience with others, explore their own paths, and contribute their due share to human progress. The Chinese people are willing to work together with all other peoples around the world to carry forward the common values of humanity – peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom. In a spirit of mutual respect and following the principle of seeking common ground while setting aside differences, we will add new elements to the world's political structure and advance towards a global community of shared future together.

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