On December 2, 2021, Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng attended the “No. 7A Salon – A Dialogue on Democracy” held at Xianhe Hall of Beijing International Club and delivered a speech. Other participants include Assistant Foreign Minister Hua Chunying, Chinese and foreign experts and scholars, responsible persons of the foreign mainstream media in Beijing and senior journalists.
Le Yucheng said, this year marks the 100th birthday of the Communist Party of China (CPC). For 100 years, China has never stopped its efforts to pursue and advance democracy. After the founding of the People’s Republic, China’s democracy has stepped into a new stage, and made steady and historic progress. In particular, since the 18th CPC National Congress, the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has deepened the knowledge on the laws of democracy, and proposed the important concept of “whole-process people’s democracy”. This is a major innovation on the people’s democratic system. Socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics is now in a new era.
Le Yucheng said, China’s whole-process people’s democracy is not for the few or an interest group. It is for the majority and the whole Chinese people. China’s whole-process people’s democracy is not a show, or a formality. It truly makes the people happy, and improves their well-being. China’s whole-process people’s democracy is not the kind that wakes up at the time of voting and goes back to dormant afterwards. Instead, it ensures that the people have the full right to know, to express, and to supervise. It means that the people participate in every part of democracy. Both history and reality have fully proved that China’s model of democracy fits in well with its national conditions. It enjoys the support of the people. It is real, effective, and successful democracy. China is indeed a true democratic country. However, some in the West claim that although China has created many miracles of long-term stability, rapid development and poverty reduction, and the CPC has the universal support of the Chinese people, yet China is still a country without democracy or human rights. This actually reveals their hostile mindsets and intentions, namely, democracy is just a tool to repress anyone who disagrees with them and to contain the development of other countries.
Le Yucheng stressed that transplanted democracy does not work, and countries should not be lectured about how to build their own democracy. For democracy to succeed in a country, it must take deep roots in that country, and make its own people happy and satisfied. A one-size-fits-all model of democracy for the whole world does not exist, and there is no democratic system that can claim to be perfect or superior to others. If you look at China’s path to democracy in modern times, you will see that China suffered a lot and paid a heavy price by simply copying the models from other countries. If you look at the world, be it in Afghanistan, Libya or Iraq, democracy imposed through color revolutions all ended in catastrophe. And at the end of the day, it is the innocent people that bear the brunt.
Le Yucheng said, now, our world is going through a pandemic and changes unseen in a century. Humanity faces unprecedented risks and challenges. Now more than ever, the world needs to come together and respond collectively. A certain country is putting together the so-called democracy summit as a self-styled leader of democracy and points fingers at other countries’ democratic systems. It claims it is doing this for democracy, but this is in fact the very opposite of democracy. It will do no good to global solidarity and cooperation nor promote global development. In essence, democracy needs to keep in mind what policies people want; what their needs are; and how to make their lives better. Democracy is not to be put on a pedestal. It is not about grandstanding. And it should not be out of touch with the general public. I hope all countries return to what democracy is really about, get in touch with the people, care more about people’s livelihood and do more to improve their lives.
Eric Li S. M, Vice Chairman of China Forum, Center for International Security and Strategy, Tsinghua University; Zhang Weiwei, Dean of China Institute, Fudan University; Kishore Mahbubani, Distinguished Fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore; Martin Jacques, former Senior Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies, Cambridge University; John Ross, former Director of Economic and Business Policy for the Mayor of London and other Chinese and foreign experts and scholars participated in the dialogue, held in-depth discussions on what is true democracy and who defines democracy, and exchanged views with foreign journalists.
The No. 7A Salon – A Dialogue on Democracy is hosted by China Public Diplomacy Association and co-sponsored by China Forum, Center for International Security and Strategy, Tsinghua University.
/// nCa, 20 December 2021 (originally published by MFA China)