Editor’s Note: As China’s most important political rallies approach, the Two Sessions, now is a good time to take a look at China’s political system. Yang Zhusong, an assistant researcher at the Institute for Contemporary China Studies at Tsinghua University, gives his take on the comparative advantages of the Chinese political system over others in the world. This is “Points for Stability”, the first article in the “Advantages of the Chinese Political System” series.
Two conditions are required for a system to operate continuously and efficiently. First, it must come from the specific environment in which it operates rather than being a simple replica from elsewhere. Second, it must be able to respond to changes in the external environment in a timely manner and carry out necessary and sensible reforms. This requires that a diet has adequate self-awareness, be able to clearly identify where the effectiveness of its own system is coming from, and then indicate what can and cannot be changed in the future. reform of the system.
China has a fairly solid political system. “China’s socialist political system has proven to be feasible, efficient and vital because it has developed on the social soil of the country,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping, adding that “the key to the development of socialist democracy is to expand rather than weaken our advantages and characteristics. . “
What are the comparative advantages of this system over American democracy? Here we will try to find the answer in different aspects.
First, the provision of national products of public welfare to the people guarantees good national order. These products and services are essential to promote and protect the well-being of all citizens nationwide. Although many of them are invisible and intangible, everyone needs them all the time. If a political power cannot establish a national order or finds it difficult to maintain the existing order for a long time, then it is impossible for it to maintain its dominant position or to make progress in national governance.
The “stability” of the national order concerns all aspects of politics, economy and society, of which political stability is most fundamental. Political stability is reflected not only in the institutionalization of the country’s political activities, but also in the continuity of the dominant ideology, development goals, development plans and major national and international policies.
For developing countries like China, if political instability leads to regime change, economic and social stability will also cease to exist. It is not difficult to understand why countries that experienced the “color revolution” inevitably plunged into a chaotic situation marked by soaring prices, scarcity of essential supplies, frequent violent conflicts and a state of life and life. of precarious property.
Among the great powers and political parties of the world, the Chinese Communist Party, in particular, cherishes the stability of the political order. Historically, due to the foreign invasion, China before 1949 experienced long-term political turmoil and frequent wars, which made it difficult to revive its economy and improve the means of subsistence of the population, leaving the Chinese with indelible tragic memories.
In reality, the ultra-large population of 1.4 billion means that a stable political order is more difficult to achieve in China. The one-party system of government determines that the mission of establishing and maintaining order can only be undertaken by the Chinese Communist Party.
From a theoretical point of view, the ability to establish and maintain effective internal order can be seen as a nation’s “coercive capacity”, which is the most important of all national capacities. However, strong and effective state capacity is a higher priority than the rule of law and democratic accountability in a country’s political development process.
From the above three aspects, we can see that the underlying logic of the Chinese political system is to ensure the provision of public welfare products to its people. In order to better maintain national order. On the one hand, the Chinese Communist Party has increased its investment in national defense to build a strong army to deal with external provocations, while on the other hand, China continues to build a strong ruling party and improve the ability of the Party to govern in order to be competent. for the arduous task of governing China as an emerging economic power.
In contrast, in many countries of the world today, unrest and conflict have become the norm, and a stable political and social order has become elusive.
In North America, although Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States, the electoral process and a series of policies put in place since coming to power exacerbate tensions and conflicts between different groups in American society.
In Western Europe, the rise of right-wing populists caused by the arrival of refugees in France, the Netherlands and other countries has had an impact on their political elections. Several countries have also been troubled by the movement of “yellow vests” and large-scale riots as well as by terrorist threats from “Islamic State”.
There are also many countries where military coups and interference in politics have long been commonplace. Some countries are even torn apart by warlords and have gone through years of civil wars. Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria are still mired in bloody terrorism after previous regimes were overthrown by the United States, and people’s livelihoods have become the war’s biggest casualty.
Looking around the world, it is heartwarming to see China stand out as a stable and secure nation.
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