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On Democracy, the People Know the Best: Le Yucheng

  • Diplomatic Correspondent
  • 2nd December, 2021 11:10:36 PM
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On Democracy, the People Know the Best: Le Yucheng

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Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Le Yucheng alleged that a few countries are abusing democracy as a cover and taking democracy as a political tool for selfish gains.

Le Yucheng joined distinguished scholars and officials on Thursday for a dialogue on democracy in Beijing.

In his speech titled "On Democracy, the People Know the Best," Le explained China's whole-process people's democracy and called out attempts by some countries to divide the world in the name of democracy.

“Recently, democracy is being widely discussed around the world. This should have been a good thing. But a very few countries are using democracy as a cover: they twist its essence, and willfully set its standards. They even take democracy as a political tool for selfish gains, and build small blocs to create division and confrontation in the world. This obviously runs against the spirit of democracy,” he said.

Addressing a dialogue at Beijing International Club on Thursday, he claimed that Chinese people are enjoying better democracy in the true sense of the term.

He discussed ideals of democracy, ground situation and China’s position.

Replying to a query, he said “The first question I’d like to answer is: Is China a democracy or not? Some in the West claim that there seems to be no democracy in China, and that the Communist Party of China is just authoritarian and autocratic. In their eyes, although China has created many miracles of long-term stability, rapid development and poverty reduction, and the government has the universal support of the Chinese people, yet China is still a country without democracy and without human rights.”

Mindsets and intentions, namely, democracy is just a tool to repress anyone who disagrees with them and to contain the development of other countries and this actually reveals their hostile attitude, he opined.

Some major portions of his speech are as following:

# After the founding of the People’s Republic, China’s democracy has stepped into a new stage, and made steady and historic progress.

# Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has deepened the knowledge on the laws of democracy, and proposed the important concept of “whole-process people’s democracy”. This is a major innovation on the people’s democratic system. Socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics is now in a new era.

# China’s whole-process people’s democracy is not a show. It has also built the world’s largest social security system and healthcare system, covering more than 1.3 billion people. 

# Around 600,000 communities across China are keeping up to speed everyone’s for 15 consecutive years, a number equivalent to the population of a mid-sized country. So far, 1.08 billion Chinese have been fully vaccinated against COVID. And community workers in the Jobs are the most important part of people’s well-being. More than 10 million new jobs were created each year million proposals. All major law-making decisions in China are the result of a democratic process. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the public has been called on to comment on 187 draft laws. Around 1.1 million comments were collected, with more than 3 million suggestions. When drafting the 14th Five-Year Plan, the Chinese government also asked the public for advice. This is an important way of China’s democratic practices. People here have the full right to know, to express, and to supervise. It means that the people participate in every part of democracy. China’s whole-process of people’s democracy is not the kind that wakes up at the time of voting and goes back to dormant afterwards.

The 1.4 billion Chinese people enjoy greater democracy, freedom, prosperity and better lives. Both history and reality have fully proved that China’s model of democracy fits in well with its national conditions. It enjoys the support of the people. It is real, effective, and successful democracy. China is indeed a true democratic country. That muddy path in the early 20th century has become a broad, straight road leading in a country, it must take deep roots in that country, and make its own people happy and satisfied. China’s success in democracy highlights an important lesson: transplanted democracy does not work, and countries should not be lectured about how to build their own democracy. In other words, for democracy to succeed for the whole world does not exist, and there is no democratic system that can claim to be perfect or superior to others. And that is also true with the diverse world with so many countries. As the saying goes that personality is shaped by the environment, democracy should also be moulded by the conditions on the ground. No two leaves in the world are completely the same. Likewise, a one-size-fits-all models of democracy the rich plains in the northeast and the dry yellow northwest, the wet south and the immense grasslands north.

Different soils produce different crops and cultures. It is said that “language dialects change every ten miles, and folk customs differ every 100 miles”. Even on the Chinese territory, there are many different features.

If you look at China’s path to democracy in modern times, you will see that we suffered a lot and paid a heavy price by simply copying the models from other countries. If you look at the world, be it in Afghanistan, Libya or Iraq, democracy imposed through color revolutions all ended in catastrophe. And at the end of the day, it is the innocent people that bear the brunt doing this for democracy. But this is in fact the very opposite of democracy. It will do no good to global solidarity and cooperation or promote global development. It fingers at other countries’ democratic systems. It is putting together the so-called democracy summit. Our world is going through a pandemic and changes unseen in a century. Humanity faces unprecedented risks and challenges. Now more than ever, the world needs to come together and respond collectively.

According to the WHO, more than 80 countries are still unable to vaccinate 40 percent of their adults by the end of this year. Democracy is not to be put on a pedestal. It is not about grandstanding. And it should not be out of touch with the general public. In today’s world of uncertainties, fighting COVID-19 remains a top priority. In essence, democracy needs to be in touch with the people. It needs to keep in mind what policies people want; what their need is really about, get in touch with the people, and do more to improve their lives. 

In addition to COVID-19, we also face many other challenges including climate change, inflation, energy security, and refugees and migrants. The clock is ticking for all countries to work together to find a solution. Let us return to what I hope would be useful and meaningful for your discussions. I wish this dialogue a full success. Thank you.