China’s whole-process people’s democracy works

The United States’ bipartisan consensus to contain China likely will continue after the midterm elections. As tensions between the US and China boil down to a clash of ideologies, the West, especially the US, has weaponized “democracy” and portrays China’s political system as “autocracy”. Many young people in Hong Kong have been misled by the West’s anti-China propaganda and have turned their backs on the motherland. But it is time for them to wise up to the merits and strengths of China’s whole-process people’s democracy amid rising geopolitical tensions.

Over the years, China has undergone drastic changes in its national strength, emerging as the second-largest economy in the world with international influence. Many Western politicians and the mainstream media, due to ideological bias, keep besmirching China’s political system, assailing it for its “lack of democracy and freedom of speech”. The China hawks in Washington have been trying their very best to demonize China, with various “authoritarian” labels. Notably, their definition of “autocracy” is any system other than those of the West.

Chinese-style democracy works well, especially in counties and communities with electoral democracy as the fundamental element and consultative democracy as a complementary feature

Obviously, the narrow view of “democracy” promoted by the West doesn’t hold water. The Communist Party of China has successfully challenged the notion that Western-style democracy is the only one that enjoys legitimacy — by practicing a fruitful whole-process people’s democracy that takes into consideration China’s historical and cultural traditions. China’s State Council stressed that “there is more than one way to practice democracy” in a white paper issued last year. General Secretary Xi Jinping noted in the 20th Party Congress report the efficacy and effectiveness of China’s whole-process people’s democracy.

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Chinese-style democracy works well, especially in counties and communities with electoral democracy as the fundamental element and consultative democracy as a complementary feature. Both electoral democracy and consultative democracy are framed under China’s Constitution and other constitutional legislation. 

More important democratic demands are to be realized by deputies to the higher-level People’s Congresses through discussions on State affairs. Li Mingxia, a deputy to a municipal People’s Congress, was impressed by her experience in annual meetings, in which the deputy secretary-general responded to more than 10 questions she raised one by one in a survey of public interest litigation. 

This effectively highlights the positive results achieved through consultative democracy, as an alternative to electoral democracy, being the provision of an institutionalized platform that facilitates rational communication between the people’s representative and the relevant authorities. 

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The ideological confrontation between China and Western countries has become apparent over the years, reaching its peak in recent years. The West, led by the US, insists on adopting a cold war mentality and spreading the “China Threat” theory. 

To break the West’s containment strategy, a priority for China now is to make its voice heard in the global discourse on democracy. The white paper titled “China: Democracy That Works” released by the State Council Information Office on Dec 4, 2021, continues to have the effect of promoting the democratic model with Chinese characteristics. 

The publication serves as a starting point for the further research and formulation of theories on democracy with Chinese characteristic for many scholars in politics and diplomacy. This achievement undoubtedly represents a great step on the path toward pushing the Chinese model into the mainstream of global academic research and study on political ideology and breaking the monopoly of Western models in the field of political ideology. 

Research in 2015 revealed that 68 percent of the international community learns about China via Western media, and only 22 percent do so via Chinese media. China has enhanced its global influence through cultural exports over the years, and it is time to utilize these well-constructed platforms. 

Unlike traditional media, new online multimedia has been flourishing, with TikTok being the best illustration. It is crucial to cultivate a group of compound media talents who can not only master internet media technology but who also have strong political and communication literacy. 

The use of media to tell the stories of Chinese-style democracy well using audiovisual products that persuasively explain the achievements of China’s whole-process people’s democracy is the best way to respond to the West’s attacks on China’s political system and to counter demonization. 

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China’s democratic system closely adheres to its national conditions and historical and cultural background, providing the strongest basis for it to stand as an effective system. The rapid and remarkable elevation of China’s productive forces and social civilization is, in itself, the best proof of its strength, which has already enhanced confidence in and gained recognition of the country among its global friends, most recognizably, countries taking part in the Belt and Road Initiative. Hong Kong people should always be reminded of the accomplishments of our country and have full confidence in its system, and not be led by the nose by the West. 

The author is a young commentator for The Arete.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.