We are pleased to republish this report from CGTN concerning the very important remarks made by President Xi Jinping at the recent conference on the work related to China’s system of People’s Congresses, which are China’s principal method of governance operating at every level from the national to the village.
President Xi described this as “whole-process people’s democracy”, noting that they are the organisational form of the state power of the people’s democratic dictatorship. He pointed out that democracy is not an ornament only for decoration. The key question, he said, is whether the people run the country – meaning not only voting but participating. Democracy needs not only to be judged on the promises made during an election but also on their fulfilment.
Xi’s remarks provide an important insight into the nature of socialist democracy in China and the ways in which it is being broadened and deepened. They are also an extremely important contribution to international political debate and should be widely noted and studied. Whilst he diplomatically avoids mentioning any other country by name, his unmistakable critique of the limitations of bourgeois democracies and the hollow promises of their leaders will surely strike a chord with many. Despite their undoubted popular resonance, the conclusions that flow from this analysis are too often overlooked by the leading sections of the working class movement in the imperialist countries. It is long overdue for this political deficit to be addressed.
Chinese authorities on Thursday vowed to uphold and improve the people’s congress system and continuously enhance whole-process people’s democracy.
“The whole-process people’s democracy in China not only has a complete set of institutions and procedures, but also full participation and practices. It is the broadest, most genuine, and most effective socialist democracy,” Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, said while addressing a central conference on work related to the people’s congresses, held on Wednesday and Thursday in Beijing.
“The system of people’s congresses is an important institutional vehicle for realizing whole-process people’s democracy in China,” he added.
The people’s congress system is the fundamental political system of China, the organizational form of state power of the people’s democratic dictatorship in China, and the system of government of the country.
The National People’s Congress (NPC) is the highest institution through which the Chinese people exercise their state power.
A key institutional guarantee
The people’s congress system has provided an important institutional guarantee for the Chinese people, led by the CPC, to create the miracles of fast economic growth and long-term social stability over the past 60 years, particularly over the four decades of reform and opening-up, Xi said.
He called the people’s congress system a great creation in the history of political systems as well as a brand new system of great significance in the political history of both China and the world.
Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, the CPC Central Committee has continued to innovate the theories and practice of the system of the people’s congresses, Xi said.
Noting that institutional advantage is vital for a country to seize its strategic initiative, Xi said both history and reality show that a country will be stable if it has a steady system, and a country will be strong if it has a sound system.
He stressed efforts to fully enforce the Constitution and safeguard its authority and sanctity, and to improve the Chinese socialist system of laws so that good laws are in place to promote development and ensure good governance.
He also noted that the people’s congresses should properly and effectively exercise their power of oversight in accordance with the law, and deputies to the people’s congresses should fully exercise their duties.
While the people’s congresses should enhance self-building, the overall leadership over the people’s congresses by the Party should also be enhanced, Xi said.
Democracy not an ornament for decoration: Xi
President Xi pointed out that democracy is not an ornament only for decoration, but to be used to address the issues that the people really care about.
The key to a country’s democracy lies in whether the people run the country, depending on if the people have the right to vote and more importantly, whether the people have the right to broad participation, said Xi.
He also noted democracy depends on what verbal promises the people have received during the election process, and moreover, it depends on how many of these promises have been fulfilled after the election.
Judging whether a country is democratic, according to Xi, should also look at what political procedures and rules are stipulated by the systems and laws. “More importantly, if these systems and laws are implemented well,” he said.
Xi also called for focusing on whether the rules and procedures for the operation of power are democratic while stressing the key lies on if the power is really monitored and restrained by the people.
“If the people are awakened only at the time of voting and go into dormancy afterward; if the people only listen to smashing slogans during election campaigns but have no say afterward; if the people are only favored during canvassing but are left out after the election, such a democracy is not a true democracy,” said Xi.
Democracy not a special right reserved for an individual country: Xi
President Xi stressed that democracy is a right for the people of all countries to enjoy, not a special right reserved for an individual country.
The judgment on whether a country is democratic or not should be made by their people, not by the handful of others, he said, adding that whether a member of the international community is democratic or not should be judged by the international community together, not by a self-righteous minority.
“There are many ways to achieve democracy, and there is no one-size-fits-all model,” Xi pointed out.
It is undemocratic in itself to use a single yardstick to measure the world’s various political systems and examine the rich political civilization of mankind with a monotonous eye, he added.