Recently, the United States held a so-called “Summit for Democracy”, drawing the ideological line and turning democracy into a tool and a weapon. It sought to thwart democracy under the pretext of democracy, incite division and confrontation, and divert attention from its internal problems. It attempted to preserve its hegemony over the world, and undermine the international system with the United Nations at its core and the international order underpinned by international law. This move by the United States goes against the trend of the times, and has been widely opposed by the international community.
I.The US is not a “beacon of democracy”, and the American-style democracy has deviated from the essence of democracy.
The American-style democracy is full of malaises. Problems like money politics, identity politics, partisanship, political polarization, social division, racial tension, and wealth gap are getting worse. The American-style democracy is a money-based game for the rich. Ninety-one per cent of congressional elections are won by candidates with greater financial support. It is “one person one vote” in name, but “rule of the minority elite” in reality. The general public are wooed when their votes are wanted but get ignored once the election is over. The check and balance has become “vetocracy”, with partisan interests put above national development. The flaws of such an electoral system are self-evident, including the rampant use of gerrymandering to manipulate the division of electoral districts that compromises fairness and justice. The dysfunction of the American-style democracy is a fact that cannot be covered up -- the Capitol riot that shocked the world, the death of George Floyd that sparked mass protests, the tragic mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the harsh reality of the rich becoming richer and the poor poorer.
Is American democracy good? Let’s hear out the American people. Surveys show that 72 per cent of Americans believe that democracy in the United States has not been a good example for others to follow in recent years, and 81 per cent of Americans believe that there are grave domestic threats to the future of American democracy.
Does American democracy work? Let’s hear out the people of the world. Surveys show that 44 per cent of respondents across the world regard the United States as the biggest threat to global democracy. Even in US allies, most of the people there see American democracy as a “shattered, washed-up has-been”, and 52 per cent of respondents in the European Union believe the democratic system in the United States does not work.
II.A country’s path to democracy should be chosen independently by its own people, rather than imposed from outside.
As a common value of humanity, democracy is the right of people in all counries. It is not a prerogative of a small number of countries. Whether a country is democratic or not should be decided by its own people, not by a handful of finger-pointing outsiders. A country’s democratic system and its path to democracy should be chosen independently by its own people in light of their national reality. Nothing works better than the most suitable.
China promotes its democracy in accordance with its national conditions and realities. China’s democracy is people’s democracy. Its essence and core is that the people are the masters of the country. China practices whole-process people’s democracy under the leadership of the Communist Party of China. It combines electoral democracy with consultative democracy, and integrates all links of democracy, including democratic election, democratic consultation, democratic decision-making, democratic management, and democratic oversight. It covers economic, political, cultural, social, ecological and all other fields, so that the people’s wills are represented and their voices heard in every aspect of political and social life. Whole-process people’s democracy integrates process-oriented democracy with results-oriented democracy, procedural democracy with substantive democracy, direct democracy with indirect democracy, and people’s democracy with the will of the state. It covers all aspects of the democratic process and all sectors of society. It is the most broad-based, real and effective socialist democracy. China’s democracy has contributed to the country’s development and social progress, and delivered a happy life for the Chinese people. China has completed the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects. With the eradication of absolute poverty, the 1.4 billion Chinese people are now marching toward common prosperity. China has made the biggest advance in individual freedom in thousands of years, and the creativity of the hundreds of millions of Chinese people has been fully unleashed.
III.Stoking division and confrontation in the name of democracy is to backpedal in history, and will bring nothing but turmoil and disaster to the world.
For a long time, the United States has been imposing its political system and values on others, pushing for the so-called “democratic reforms”, abusing unilateral sanctions and inciting “color revolutions”, which have caused disastrous consequences. Democracy has become a “weapon of mass destruction” used by the United States to interfere in other countries’ affairs. As US media commented, if there is one country that is still seeking global hegemony, coercing other countries and defying rules in the 21st century, it must be the United States. Since 2001, the wars and military operations waged by the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria have claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, caused millions of injuries, and displaced tens of millions of people. The fiasco in Afghanistan has shown that imposing American democracy on others simply does not work. Till this day, the United States is still trying to divide the world into “democratic” and “non-democratic” camps based on its criteria, and openly provoke division and confrontation. Such practices will only bring greater turmoil and disaster to the world, and face strong condemnation and opposition from the international community.
Facing the impact of COVID-19 and major changes unseen in a century, countries have become more interconnected and interdependent. The international community needs more than ever to strengthen solidarity and cooperation based on the norms governing international relations represented by the UN Charter. China stands ready to work with all countries to promote peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, which are common values of humanity, and advance democracy in international relations. We should choose solidarity over division, dialogue over confrontation, and democracy over hegemony. We should firmly reject and oppose all forms of pseudo-democratic and anti-democratic practices and political manipulations under the cover of democracy, and make tireless efforts toward the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.