A voter casts his ballot at a voting booth to elect new deputies for the local people’s congress in Beijing, capital of China, November 15, 2016. (Xinhua)
Democracy is an important concept that the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese people have always insisted on. At a central conference on work related to people's congresses, Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and President of China, grasped the law of democratic political development and the practice of people’s democracy in China, expounded the CPC’s basic views on democracy and the major concept of whole-process people’s democracy, and stressed the need to continue to develop this specific type of democracy to consolidate and develop a lively, stable and united political landscape.
Democracy is a shared value of all human beings. How to translate democratic values and concepts into scientific and effective institutional arrangements and into concrete and realistic democratic practices requires a focus on the organic unity of history and reality, theory and practice, form and content, and finding the right institutional mechanism, ways and means. The political system is used to regulate political relations, establish political order, promote national development and maintain national stability, and cannot be abstractly judged in isolation from specific socio-political conditions. Xi pointed out in 2014 that the evaluation of whether a country's political system is democratic and effective mainly depends on whether the country can conduct leadership transitions in an orderly manner according to the law, whether all people can manage state and social affairs as well as economic and cultural undertakings according to the law, whether the people can express their requirements freely, whether all sectors of society can participate effectively in the political life of the country, whether national decision-making can be scientific and democratic, whether talents from all walks of life can enter the state leadership and management system through fair competition, whether the ruling party can achieve leadership in state affairs in accordance with the Constitution and laws, and whether the exercise of power can be kept under effective restraint and supervision.
Democracy is not an ornament to be used for decoration; it is to be used to solve the problems that the people want to solve, Xi further stressed. The key to a country’s democracy lies in whether the people are really in charge of its affairs, depending on whether they have the right to vote and, more importantly, whether they have the right to participate in governing the country extensively; depending on what verbal promises the people have received during the election process and, more importantly, how many of these promises have been fulfilled after the election; depending on what political procedures and rules are stipulated by institutions and laws and, more importantly, whether these institutions and laws are implemented. We have to see whether the rules and procedures for the operation of power are democratic and, more importantly, whether power is really monitored and restrained by the people. If the people are awakened only at the time of voting and go into dormancy afterwards, if they listen to smashing slogans during election campaigns but have no say afterwards, if they are favored only when canvassing but are left out after the election, such a democracy is not a true democracy. Democracy is the right of all people, not the exclusive right of a few. Whether a country is democratic or not should be judged by the people of that country, not by a minority of outsiders pointing fingers. The international community should be the judge of whether a country is democratic or not, not a handful of countries. There are many ways to achieve democracy, and there cannot be one size to fit all. To use a single yardstick to measure the world’s various political systems and examine the political civilization of humanity with a monotonous vision is, in itself, undemocratic.
The CPC has always held high the banner of people's democracy and always adhered to the following basic views: First, people’s democracy is the life of socialism; without democracy, there is no socialism, no socialist modernization, and no rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Second, the people as masters of the country is the essence and core of all socialist democratic politics. The development of socialist democratic politics is to reflect the will of the people, protect the people’s rights and interests, and stimulate their creative vitality, with the institutional system ensuring the people’s primacy. Third, the road for the political development of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the right way that conforms to China’s national conditions and ensures that the people are the masters of their own house. It is the inevitable result of the historical logic, theoretical logic and practical logic of the long struggle of the Chinese people since modern times, and is the inevitable requirement of adhering to the essential attributes of the Party and practicing the fundamental purposes of the Party. Fourth, the exercise of the people's rights through elections and voting and full consultation among the various parties within the people before major decisions are made, so as to reach agreement on common issues as far as possible, are two important forms of socialist democracy in China, which together constitute the institutional characteristics and advantages of socialist democratic politics in China. Fifth, the key to developing socialist democratic politics is to give full play to the characteristics and advantages of China’s socialist democratic politics, to continuously promote the institutionalization, standardization and routinization of socialist democratic politics, and to provide a more perfect institutional guarantee for the Party and the country to flourish and enjoy long-term peace and stability.
The amalgamation of all aforementioned basic views creates a profound summary of socialist democratic politics in China, enriching and expanding the political, theoretical and practical connotations of socialist democratic politics with Chinese characteristics, and charting the course for political development of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
People’s democracy is a style of whole-process democracy. People’s democracy on the whole is a vivid practice and the essential approach for the people to be the rulers of their own country. Since its coming into being, the CPC has made it its original aspiration and mission to work for the happiness of the Chinese people and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and has undertaken the unremitting exploration and struggle for the realization of its goals. Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, the CPC Central Committee, with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, has insisted on the organic unity of the Party’s leadership, the people’s primacy and the rule of law, improved the system of the people as the masters of the country, extended the people’s democracy and continuously developed and perfected its whole process.
Facts demonstrate that Chinese socialist democratic politics bears strong vitality. To establish a firm confidence in a socialist system with Chinese characteristics, first of all, we must have confidence in the socialist political system with Chinese characteristics, and enhance the confidence and determination to take the road of the political development of socialism with Chinese characteristics. On the way forward, we should continue to promote the socialist democratic politics, develop a socialist political civilization, and continuously advance the whole process of people’s democracy. Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, and by following the path of socialist political development with Chinese characteristics, people’s democracy in its entirety will continue to improve and develop, and become increasingly vibrant, making contributions packed with Chinese wisdom to the progress of human political civilization, and building the cornerstones of democracy for the realization of the two centenary goals and national rejuvenation.