Delivering democracy that works for people

Each country has its own societal structure and preferences, which compels it to search for indigenous political systems in accordance with its own needs.

Thus, a single system, developed by a handful people, cannot be considered universal. The same is true for the Western liberal democratic model, and it should not be used as a yardstick.

Every country has the right to develop its own model to help it achieve good governance and ensure the welfare of its people.

As President Xi Jinping said, “it is in itself undemocratic to use a single yardstick to measure the rich and varied political systems and examine the diverse political civilizations of humanity from a monotonous perspective”.

China has developed its own democratic system — a whole-process people’s democracy — under the leadership and guidance of the Communist Party of China. It is the outcome of longtime practices and the modern evolution of ancient Chinese civilization.

Whole-process people’s democracy has four distinctive characteristics.

First, it is inclusive in its nature for the development and implementation of policies and actions. It keeps the people at the center for each and every policy and engages them extensively.

Second, there is continuity of interaction among all stakeholders. As President Xi also pointed out, “If the people are awakened only for voting but enter a dormant period soon after, if they are given a song and dance during campaigning but have no say after the election, or if they are favored during canvassing but are left out in the cold after the election, such a democracy is not a true democracy”.

Xi provided new impetus to consult all segments of society on a regular basis. It is the responsibility of the CPC and government to ensure the continuity of interaction among stakeholders all year long and year after year. It is entirely the opposite of the Western democratic system, under which politicians consult with people during election days and present their slogans to attract votes. Afterward, if people are not happy with government policies, they usually have to wait until the next election.

Third, the whole-process model revolves around core socialist values, which are designed to keep the system people-centered, accountable, inclusive and transparent. This is in line with the spirit and goal of the CPC that leadership is here to serve the people, not rule the people.

The key values for the people to sustain their position and grow within the system are collectivism, merit, capacity, selflessness and integrity. These values are compulsory for all the members of the CPC and government officials.

Fourth, the CPC is the vital pillar, sole designer and guarantor of whole-process people’s democracy. The CPC acts on behalf of the people and makes sure that the system delivers on its promises in regard to the welfare of the people, rule of law, security and a dignified living environment. It is the driving philosophy and force of the CPC.

Keeping people’s welfare at the center is crucial to the whole-process democratic system. In addition, the CPC also provides quality leadership to run the system and provides the continuity and support to achieve long-term goals.

China’s model of whole-process people’s democracy is based on the people’s will, quality governance, equal participation, and opportunities to grow and move up the ladder of leadership, as well as inclusiveness and continuity, and offers a strong mechanism for accountability.

The author is CEO of the Asian Institute of Eco-civilization Research and Development in Pakistan. 

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.