Is China able to pursue democracy? Can the Communist Party of China (CPC) broaden democracy under the system of multiparty cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC? Is democracy something solely defined by the West?
No political institution around the world could label itself perfect. Although the least defective mechanism in human history, democracy in every country is in process. Therefore, democracy is rather an attitude and something out of self perception.
Unlike the world's most modern democracies, the Chinese people were suppressed several times by outsiders with surpassingly sophisticated gunboats and cannons. The inward-inclined Chinese at that time, long feeling insecure and victimized, were understandably wary of any dose that Western countries attempted to feed us. Good idea and sincere behavior from outside may not always be seen as they are.
While one nation is evidently left over by the rest of its peers, the people would not easily take what others uphold, particularly when pushing democracy is used as a tool of penetration.
The economic miracle in the consecutive three decades empowers China to pursue political freedom with much more resources at hand. Aspiration for democracy is not what we use for make-up. Every country would have its uniqueness to develop democracy based on its own history, culture and conditions. The unique process of democratic advancement in various countries could hardly be oversimplified to a few modes. Even Western democracies have experienced agonizing unique processes.
Hu Jintao said at the 17th CPC National Congress to "deepen political restructuring," betraying the urgency sensed by the CPC that ossified political arrangements often impede further economic ambitions. Anyhow, few countries in the developed world had so many challenges as China does, a vast land, the world's biggest population with a substantive chunk of poor people and yet to be reached national unity, just name a few. China has a much shorter history of the modern republic and crammed into only three decades the industrial revolution on which both the United States and the United Kingdom spent over a century.
Considering the uniqueness of each democracy and the time- consuming process of breeding democracy, it's unwise to copy existing foreign democracies. Democratizing China in Western style is not a cure-all for problems in China. After China successfully integrated market economy into the socialist pattern, which in orthodox definition requires common ownership of the means of production, why don't we believe China could also create a new way leading to a successful socialist democracy?
Democracy should not be a political slogan for toppling something, and it is mundane and what people feel in their day-to- day life. Although still in rapid transformation, market economy is fervently embraced by the Chinese, most of whom now enjoy unprecedentedly decent livelihood. The government conceded from most aspects of people's life. People are free to travel and study abroad, purchase cars, own real estates, trade publicly-listed stocks, choose their jobs and lifestyle, and grumble on blogs, which was so incredible in a country where only a decade ago citizens were required to report their marriages, divorces and family plans to the government.
Consciously transforming its role from a strictly-knitted revolutionary organization to a competent ruling party, the CPC is now blazing trails in testing what the most effective method is in democratizing Chinese politics. The CPC proclaims it represents not only the working class but also all the outstanding forces, a significant drive to diversify itself to a cover-all plural one. Hu said to widen intra-Party democracy, which the CPC believes is a guarantee for a better application of democracy in the country. Increasingly enlarging loss margins have been introduced in various CPC elections, including the ongoing voting for the all- powerful CPC central committee this weekend. Multiple candidates and contested campaigns in direct elections are also being institutionalized at grassroots levels. All constituencies are now much better represented.
China was lagged far behind by leading economies in the contemporary time. The Chinese have to resort to a path which is different from conventional development. Among the defects Western democracies also have, the foresighted democratic principles designed by founding fathers could still not effectively prevent tiny but extremely powerful interests groups from trampling on the majority. While having a long way to go, the CPC is now trying to improve the democratic centralism, which has been proved, partly by the economic miracle gained by the nation, quite effective to enrich Chinese and keep the country on a stable track.
Modern Chinese are aspiring to achieve the biggest economic and social goals at the lowest cost. The Chinese-style democracy we are now promoting will have high chances to give an answer.
(Xinhua News Agency October 20, 2007)