A screen showing a live news broadcast from Chinese President Xi Jinping to the National People’s Congress at a bus depot in Beijing, China on March 5, 2021. (Photo: Qilai Shen / Bloomberg via Getty Images)
The design of the Chinese political system fully embodies the philosophy of people-centered governance and demonstrates the distinctive features of socialist democracy. There is a fully process, consultative and consensual democracy based on the principle of democratic centralism.
His Excellency Chen Xiaodong is the Chinese Ambassador to South Africa.
On July 1, 2021, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will celebrate its centenary. The CPC is a century-old party with the most membership in the world as well as outstanding achievements. Its centenary is not only a major event for the Chinese people, but also a major event that attracts the attention of the whole world.
June 2, 2021, Daily Maverick published an article by J Bradford DeLong titled “China’s Centralization Policy: Why Xi Jinping’s Strategy Will End in Tears,” in which the author attempted to interpret the Chinese political system according to the national conditions of the United States. It is therefore not surprising that an erroneous conclusion was drawn.
The historical perspective is conducive to better understanding, especially for a country with a long history and rich culture like China. To read China properly, it must be placed in the historical context of a civilization that lasted more than 5,000 years; the struggle of the Chinese people for more than 180 years since modern times; the 100-year-old devoted efforts of the CCP; more than 70 years of development of the People’s Republic of China; and especially those over 40 years since the reform and opening up. Making irresponsible remarks about the Chinese political system based on a few historical fragments only ends up making a fool of itself.
A country’s political system can only be reliable, efficient and supported by its people if it conforms to national conditions and draws on the good practices of others. Since modern times, China has tried constitutional monarchy, restoration of monarchy, parliamentary system, multi-party system and presidential system one by one. Not all of them provided a prescription for the country and the population to emerge from the crises. It was only after the CCP led the Chinese people through long and arduous explorations that we found a system that suits China’s own national conditions, the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
It is under this system that China has achieved the miracle of rapid economic development as well as long-term social stability, which is rarely seen in the world. Like the seeds of a pomegranate, all the ethnic groups in China embrace and help each other. More recently, we have successfully faced the Covid-19 pandemic and achieved a decisive victory in the fight against poverty. Almost 100 million rural residents living below the current poverty line in China have been lifted out of absolute poverty together, contributing more than 70% of the total poverty reduction in the world during the same period. The Chinese people now enjoy more human rights and dignity than ever before.
It is under this system that China has become the second largest economy in the world. In 2020, China’s GDP topped around $ 14.7 trillion, accounting for over 17% of global GDP. China was also the first to control the pandemic and fully resume work and production. China last year became the only major economy in the world to record positive economic growth.
The design of the Chinese political system fully embodies the philosophy of people-centered governance and demonstrates the distinctive features of socialist democracy. There is a fully process, consultative and consensual democracy based on the principle of democratic centralism. Take the 14th Five-Year Plan as an example: During the drafting process, the Chinese government solicited opinions and advice through all channels, including over a million suggestions online.
The regional system of ethnic autonomy practiced in Xinjiang and Tibet, among others, is essential to guarantee the right of ethnic minorities to their own governance and management of local affairs. The system not only takes full advantage of local advantages, promotes the development of local economy, culture, education, science and technology, but also ensures centralized and unified leadership of the country.
The same is true for the “One country, two systems” practice. Within the framework of “One country, two systems”, “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong”, “Macao people administering Macao” are practiced with a great deal of autonomy. This system gives the government of the Special Administrative Region (SAR) independent executive, legislative and judicial powers, including that of final decision. The objective is to support compatriots from Hong Kong and Macao to better administer and develop the SAR.
These are the people who have a say in whether their own country’s systems are good or not. According to a poll conducted by the Ash Center at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Chinese satisfaction with the CCP and the central government is 93.1 percent. As China continues to show excellent performance in responding to Covid-19, this satisfaction rate continues to increase. It is evident that China’s current political system is not only a choice of history but also the choice of its people.
The most essential characteristic and the greatest strength of the Chinese political system is that it supports the leadership of the CCP. To rule a country like China with a population of 1.4 billion, there has to be strong, centralized leadership and effective government, or the country will be a loose pile of sand. It is also the secret of China’s development miracle.
The CCP has won the steadfast support of the Chinese people as it is committed to pursuing happiness for the Chinese people and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation since its founding 100 years ago. The CPC has always put people at the top of its priorities. As an old Chinese saying goes, rulers cannot survive without the support of the people.
As a party dedicated to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, the CCP shows even greater vigor and vitality on the occasion of its 100th anniversary. But this is only the starting point where the CCP will lead the Chinese people on a new journey towards the second centennial development goal.
We welcome the constructive advice and suggestions made by people all over the world on China’s development, and indeed all are invited to celebrate the centenary of the CCP together. DM