17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
Democracy Is an Attitude

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. Democracy, the least defective mechanism in human history, is in process in every country. Democracy is rather an attitude and something out of self perception.

Unlike the world's most modern democracies, China suffered several foreign invasions and occupations by force in the history. 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 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 processes.

Hu Jintao announced at the 17th CPC National Congress to "deepen political restructuring," betraying the acknowledgment of the CPC that ossified political arrangements will impede further economic ambitions. Anyhow, few countries in the developed world face 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 modern republic, and is merely in the third decade of industrial revolution, compared with over one century in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Considering the uniqueness of each democracy and the time-consuming process of breeding democracy, it's unwise for China to copy existing foreign democracies. Democratizing China in Western style is not a cure-all for problems in the nation. After China successfully installed the market economy of socialist pattern, which in orthodox definition requires public ownership of the means of production, why don’t we believe China could also create a new way leading to a sound socialist democracy?

Democracy should not be a political slogan or a means of overthrow. It is mundane and should be felt by people in their day-to-day life. Chinese people have gladly embraced market economy, seeing remarkable improvement in life. The government has conceded from most aspects of citizen'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 Internet. These were all unthinkable in China only a decade ago, when 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 finding the most effective method in democratizing Chinese politics. The CPC proclaims it represents not only the working class but also all other progressive social forces, a significant drive to diversify itself into a multiplex party. Hu has pledged to widen intra-Party democracy, which the CPC believes is a guarantee for a better application of democracy in the country. Bigger 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.

While having a long way to go, the CPC is 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.




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