Chinese democracy meets peoples’ needs


China has demonstrated that "socialism with Chinese characteristics" can bring huge economic and social benefits to the Chinese people and those beyond.

The world is still adjusting to the 21st century reality of a unique system of governance practiced by 18.47 percent of the world's population producing economic and social miracles unequaled in human history, and greatly contributing to global economic growth.

The governance model also makes the Chinese government accountable to the people

China's unique system of governance has helped the country's GDP to increase from a paltry 367.9 billion yuan in 1978 to 121 trillion yuan ($17.44 trillion) in 2022.China's governance system has created the world's largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity and the second-largest economy in nominal GDP terms according to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The World Bank has said that over the past 40 years about 800 million people have been lifted out of poverty in China. "China has contributed close to three-quarters of the global reduction in the number of people living in extreme poverty," the World Bank said.

How did China's system of governance achieve such miracles?

Socialism with Chinese characteristics focuses on serving the Chinese people and facilitating their economic and social development. The Communist Party of China has more than 96.7 million members, and for more than 100 years of its existence, it has been the vanguard of the Chinese people, leading them toward a better future.

In fact, a survey by Harvard University published in 2020 found that the percentage of the Chinese people supporting the CPC increased 86 percent to 93 percent during the 13-year study.

How did this happen?

The CPC leads one of the most advanced and successful forms of representative governments in the world: socialism with Chinese characteristics and whole-process people's democracy.

The word "democracy "comes from the ancient Greek words "demos "meaning "people" and "kratos" meaning "rule", that is, people's rule. And the constitutions of both the US and China say sovereignty lies with "the people", so the over 330 million people in the US and the more than 1.4 billion people in China both need representatives in the government for it to operate.

However, a big challenge of practicing "democracy" is selecting "the people's" representatives and making them accountable to the people. Achieving the goals of a government of the people and for the people is very difficult. But China's government system can do so, because it is effective and designed to integrate representative and responsible governance with accountability to the people.

China's governance system has succeeded because the Party, the National People's Congress (the country's top legislature) and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (China's top political advisory body) work together to serve the people and the country. More important, the system is designed to meet the needs of all the people, not just the rich and powerful, and uses a process to select, train and evaluate the performance of officials of the Party, the NPC and the CPPCC National Committee.

While the CPC holds a national congress every five years and the CPC Central Committee holds at least one plenary session every year to take stock of the political, social, economic and other developments, and make key decisions on important issues, the NPC and the CPPCC National Committee hold their annual sessions in the first quarter of the year to deliberate economic, social, diplomatic, educational, scientific and technological and other important issues and make important decisions.

Each of the three organizations — the CPC, the NPC and the CPPCC — has some members or delegates that are also delegates and members of one of the other organizations, and come from all walks of life and across the social, religious and ethnic divide.

China's governance model benefits from having diverse sources of information and good feedback, which help the country's leadership to identify the Chinese people's needs, and listen to people's policy suggestions and take action accordingly, if they are valuable or helpful. The governance model also makes the Chinese government accountable to the people.

This is something Americans will not readily understand. And perhaps they need a long time to adjust to the 21st century reality of China being a highly successful socialist country with a unique system of governance, designed to serve the people.

But since global economic growth and the global financial system's viability, to a large extent, depend on the US and China, and the way they deal with each other, the world's two largest economies should learn to coexist peacefully and continue contributing to global development.

Only when the US and China build mutual trust and the American people, especially politicians, accept that a country can be an economic powerhouse despite having a non-Western form of government and political system can the two sides help boost the global economy and enrich international relations.

The author is chairman of the America China Partnership Foundation.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.