China and summit for democracy | By Dr Mehmood-ul-Hassan Khan


China and summit for democracy

THE US-schemed and sponsored Summit for democracy has now been virtually commenced. It has once again divided the world into two distinctive poles.

The US government did not invite China and Russia to participate in the Summit for democracy. Even Pakistan did not participate.

Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi called Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and expounded on China’s position on the so-called “Summit for Democracy held by the United States.

He labelled the US Summit for Democracy as hegemonic show to defend its dominant position in the world in the name of democracy. The Summit for Democracy commenced on 09 December.

On its day the Biden-Harris Administration has made clear that renewing democracy in the United States and around the world is essential to meeting the unprecedented challenges of our time. But actions should speak louder than words.

President Biden stated on the International Day of Democracy, “No democracy is perfect, and no democracy is ever final. Every gain made, every barrier broken, is result of determined, unceasing work.”

On 04 December 2021 even before the US-sponsored Summit for Democracy China held an international forum on democracy and issued a white paper called “China: Democracy That Works” which upheld Chinese model of democracy.

However, unfortunately, US has once again used the Cold War mindset to maintain its hegemony. On its part, Chinese Foreign Ministry criticized the American style of democracy.

Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said that the US is “monopolizing the definition of democracy to the advantage of certain countries.

Le termed democracy a common value of the entire humanity and on the contrary the US is instigating ideological confrontation along the line of ‘democracy versus authoritarianism. It seems that the US is using its dominant position on the international right of speech to set the international agenda to pressure China and Russia while forming “small circles” with its allies.

Moreover, the US always uses democracy to label countries that do not follow a US recognized democratic system as imagined enemies so as to intimidate its allies to offer their political interests in exchange for protection from the US.

Thus it has been politically centred instead of people orientation. The world is diversified and dynamic and has different forms of democracy.

Even the EU has different form of democracies. Therefore, no country is able to judge another country’s democratic system. Ironically, in recent times, the US is not functioning as a democracy it is functioning as an autocracy.
According to basic definition of democracy, it is a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

Conversely, autocracy is a government of the one%, by the one%, for the one%. The American democracy nowadays serves the minority composed by the elite and a few wealthy people with capital.

The US government is under money politics where money controls debates and decision-making. Thus it is an autocracy instead of democracy.

The US history has been full of shameful deeds which it committed on the name of democracy and tradition of invasion and intervention in the name of democracy in other countries was reminiscent of the times of colonialism when empires in Europe imposed their will, religions and customs in whichever territory they could seize in name of civilizing the uncivilized.

As the self-appointed architect and keeper of international system, the US believes it has the right to act unilaterally whenever and wherever it wants.

So, successful governance is not about transporting an abstract set of rules and perceivers from one country and applying it to an entirely different environment and sort of circumstances somewhere else.

Democracy means respecting the culture and traditions of a country, allowing governance to grow and flower in its own indigenous conditions.

Chinese’s State Council Information Office white paper termed democracy as a common value of humanity and an ideal that has always been cherished by the Communist Party of China and the Chinese people.

In this connection, the Party has led the people in realizing people’s democracy in China in the last one hundred years.

The Chinese people now truly hold in their hands their own future and that of society and the country. So, the people’s status as masters of the country is the essence of people’s democracy, it said.

By narrating the different shades and aspects of Chinese democracy the white paper highlighted that the Chinese whole-process people’s democracy integrates process-oriented democracy with results-oriented democracy, procedural democracy with substantive democracy, direct democracy with indirect democracy, and people’s democracy with the will of the state.

The white paper termed the Chinese democracy as a model of socialist democracy that covers all aspects of the democratic process and all sectors of society.

It labelled it a true democracy that works and rooted in history, culture and tradition, it takes diverse forms and develops along the paths chosen by different peoples based on their exploration and innovation.

Furthermore, while highlighting the salient features of Chinese democratic model the white paper noted that democracy is not a decorative ornament, but an instrument for addressing the issues that concern the people. Democracy is the right of the people in every country, rather than the prerogative of a few nations.

Even Chinese President Xi Jiping has showcased Chinese model of democracy and labelled it people’s centric.

The Chinese democratic model involves complete institutional procedures which is well-coordinated and comprehensive institutional procedures serve to put into place diverse, open and well-organized democratic channels to ensure that the Party’s policies and the State will are integrated with the people’s aspirations and that the people are masters of the count.

China did not duplicate Western models of democracy, but nurtured its own. Chinese democratic model has fuelled the development of the country and driven the revitalization of the nation.

Chinese democracy depends on the free will of the people having a combination of electoral democracy and consultative democracy and is applied through a combination of elections, consultations, decision-making, management and oversight.

It covers the economic, political, cultural, social, eco-environmental and other fields. The Chinese people widely exercise their right to vote in elections and undertake extensive deliberations before major decisions are made. Democratic consultation is a special feature of democracy in China.

Democracy stands for consensus and holistic approach but US show of hegemony goes on. Democracy is neither the international brand of Coca Cola which must have same ingredients nor the queen of happiness having which all sorrows diminish.

It has always been the system of governance which makes the difference. The robust socio-economic transformation of China reaffirms that it has better governance system.

The US governance has been based on fault lines which tends to divide instead of developing the society.

The US sugar coating of so-called democratic persuasions is a politically motivated scheme of arrangement which always prefers its own vested interest on pure humanity.

The US COVID-19 handling is the prime example of its arrogance which badly divided the world inter-developed and under-developed bracket due to which even its own people have suffered.

—The writer is Director, Geopolitics/Economics, Regional geopolitical expert of China, CPEC & BRI.