Democracy is not only a system of government, but also a way of life. China has attached great importance to the people’s livelihood and incremental reform, and pursued innovated democracy suitable to its national conditions in a pragmatic manner.
The social unrest caused by Russia’s “shock therapy,” Latin America’s “radical reform,” or certain African countries’ copying of the U.S. political system proves that slavish imitation of Western democracy will lead to turmoil. Democracy takes various forms according to different national condition, and good democracy should first suit a country’s national conditions. China has attached great importance to the people’s livelihood and incremental reform, and pursued suitable democracy through gradual innovation in a pragmatic manner.
Over the past 10 years, China has adopted an open and transparent cadre selection system, amended the election law to give National People’s Congress deputy quotas to urban and rural residents based on the same population ratio, and steadily promoted intra-Party democracy, electoral democracy, deliberative democracy, and grassroots democracy.
The Chinese government has constantly improved the public hearing system, gradually disclosed information about government affairs, enhanced public awareness of the rights to know, to participate, to express, and to supervise, encouraged citizens to participate in political affairs in an orderly way, and actively responded to public concerns.
The country has also made small but significant progress in some aspects such as microblogging. China’s political landscape has enjoyed promising changes when ordinary citizens began expressing their opinions and supervising the government through 140-character microblogs, and when government agencies began disclosing their expenditure and other information and handling official business on the Internet.
Democracy is not only a system of government, but also a way of life which meets people’s needs. Admittedly, as public awareness of the rights to know and participate as well as the rule of law increases, democracy in China has not reached the level many people expect. However, the country is making steady progress in improving its democracy.
U.S. futurist Doris Naisbitt calls the Western political system “horizontal democracy,” and China’s top-down and bottom-up democratic process “vertical democracy.” This is just one perspective of international observers on China’s democratic process, and the Chinese-style democracy has a richer and wider definition. The Chinese-style democracy is suitable to China’s national conditions and cultural background, and will better promote the country’s modernization process.