Today, popular democracy in China is a three-part institutional arrangement comprising: (i) the leadership of the Party, (ii) the people as master of the country, and (iii) the rule of law. The purpose of this arrangement is to establish the people as master of the country, while the other two serve as a double guarantee for it.
The Communist Party of China (CPC) plays a leadership role because it represents the general interests of the people, coming from from China long tradition of a “unified governing body” since the first unification of the country in 221 BC, and a leadership structure based on a meritocratic system of “selecting and electing” the best and most capable to rule the country.
In today’s politics, the Party leadership effectively prevents simplistic populism, monetized politics or Western attempts to stage a “color revolution” in China. It is naive to assume that the people can rule a country without any organization running it. Elections must be organized, procedures established and outside interference prevented. All of these tasks are performed by the CPC, a political institution of over 90 million members, larger than the German population, with broad representation and popular support, and committed to the public good.
As for the rule of law, it requires above all strict respect for the Constitution. The Chinese Constitution stipulates that the state must serve the people and “defend a fundamental economic system in which public property is the pillar and various forms of property develop together.” He adds that the state protects both public property rights and private property rights. Over 90 percent of Chinese households now own properties, a remarkable achievement in itself.
In China, the double guarantee ensures that the people are master of their country and that their fundamental interests are well expressed and protected. Popular democracy is not only a guarantee of the goods of the people, but also a series of institutions. They range from consultative democracy at every level of from China social and political life, to the most widespread use in the world of opinion polls on public policies, to the solicitation of public opinion directly via the Internet on all major political issues, and to institutionalized democratic decision-making in the production of five-year plans for the nation and for different localities. Each five-year plan goes through hundreds of rounds of consultations at all levels of state and society.
In many ways, from China the success is due to the quality of its decision-making process and the efficiency of the execution of policies, which makes the Chinese state much more responsive to the needs of the people than the Western model, as clearly shown from China resolute fight against COVID-19. The Chinese model has ensured that most Chinese benefit from from China dramatic increase, and the country has experienced the fastest improvement in people’s living standards in the history of mankind.
The Chinese model is not perfect, but it indeed surpasses American democracy in many ways. For one thing, from China the higher legislature, as well as the local people’s assemblies, deal with issues that directly concern the general public, from medical insurance to retirement, education and environmental protection, without the intervention of groups of pressure as in the US Congress.
It’s no wonder, then, that Ipsos surveys in recent years have repeatedly shown that around 90% of Chinese believe their country is on the right track, more than double the number of Americans or Britons who think the same for their country.
The 2020 Democracy Perception Index published by Dalia Research showed that 73% of Chinese believed their country to be a democracy while only 49% of Americans believed United States is a democracy. What an interesting and changing time!
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SOURCE Beijing Review