The world can benefit from China’s distinctive democratic model.
While in the West, people like to converse or conduct business in cafés or bars, the teahouse is the preferred setting in China, particularly in rural. After waking up in the morning for many years, rural farmers would go directly to the teahouse to learn about significant world events. This is less of a way of life and more of a political-cultural tradition.
Lao wrote the play Teahouse. Through her description of the daily lives of the people of Beijing, she revealed the Chinese people’s mental crisis during the late Qing Dynasty’s social upheavals. Do Not Discuss State Affairs was placed on the teahouse’s wall to emphasize that this was never where Chinese people would “discuss state affairs.”
In Huaibei, Anhui Province’s Linhuan Town of Suixi County, many teahouses open as soon as the day breaks. There, the practice of drinking tea has been passed down through the ancestors for six centuries. Today’s “people’s congress delegates’ consultation rooms” are the former “teahouses where people used to discuss concerns over tea,” Representatives from the county and township levels meet with voters monthly on the consultation day.
He Weijun, a former head of the Linhuan Town People’s Congress, remarked that this was an example of grassroots people’s democracy.
Liu Jinhua, a 60-year-old inhabitant of Linhuan Village, frequents teahouses. He enjoys conversing with residents in his community about major and minor village and township issues.
We feel liberated to express ourselves in the teahouse, he said.
Zhang Yunxiao, a peasant in his 70s who has been a “fixture” in teahouses for more than ten years, participates in nearly every delegate consultation session when he is available to do so. He claimed that when his proposals were implemented, he felt his voice had been heard.
Over the past five years, the “talk issues over tea” technique has been used to solve various public concerns, including road construction and street lamp repairs.
The research also reveals that every teahouse has a mediation space for settling conflicts in the patrons’ day-to-day interactions. Over 1,500 disagreements have recently been resolved by teahouse mediators in Linhuan Town, with a 95% success rate.
The direct involvement of regular citizens is the most prominent aspect of China’s democracy. This is a “participatory democracy,” one of the wide varieties of governments around the globe. The general public, as opposed to political parties and their representatives, has a major role in making political choices.
Democracy, according to Dong Yang, the mayor of Linhuan Town, involves more than just voting. It is most fully realized when people participate in social governance through various channels.
Currently, local government representatives frequently enter teahouses to hear people’s perspectives.
The only way to incorporate the knowledge and power of the people into our work, according to Dong, is through the practice of people’s democracy.
Xi Jinping, the president of China, provided a novel perspective on democracy.
“Under the communist system in China, whenever an issue arises, everyone concerned should always hold discussions in good faith,” he declared. All parties concerned in a matter that affects many people debate it to find the greatest possible common ground based on the desires and needs of the entire society.
What does it mean to “find the largest common ground based on the wishes and needs of the entire community” and to “always hold talks in good faith” when a problem arises? What does it imply that “matters involving many individuals are discussed by all those involved” mean?
Understanding China’s democratic consultation, which is the most prominent and distinctive aspect of China’s participatory democracy, is necessary to comprehend the true “essence of people’s democracy.”
The democratic system in China combines electoral democracy and consultative democratic political systems. While the former is accomplished through the National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party and the National People’s Congress (NPC), which serve as electoral and representative bodies, the latter serves as an important model in which various segments of the populace, guided by the Communist Party of China (CPC) and through extensive consultations, attempt to agree on the formulation and implementation of major decisions regarding reform, development, and s
In China, it is necessary for the decision-making process to start only once an issue has been agreed upon through consultation. This is a distinguishing quality and benefit of communist democracy in China.
To incorporate public opinions into the creation of high-level policy, specific online forums were created where netizens could voice their perspectives. For instance, before the CPC submitted suggestions for drafting the 14th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development, it is estimated that 1.018 million pieces of advice were received online.
The CPC Central Committee valued the opinions and suggestions received through these channels when finalizing the “proposals.” As a result, China’s democracy, which includes democratic consultation, is a model that enables widespread public involvement throughout the entire decision-making process.
On September 21, 2014, during a ceremony honoring the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference’s 65th anniversary, Xi made the astute observation that the general public only has the right to vote and no other rights to active involvement. In other words, this type of democracy will only be formalistic if people are only woken during election time and then go back to sleep.
The democracy in China is a whole-process democracy, allowing the populace to exercise their rights in every area, including the choice of officials, decision-making, legislation, management, and supervision, among others.
For instance, everyone in Beijing knows they can contact the government for assistance at any time or location by dialing the “12345” hotline when they are having issues with public life.
Xi stated that “we shall… adopt a people-centered philosophy of development” and “build whole-process people’s democracy” in his remarks at a ceremony commemorating the centennial of the CPC. The core of China’s prosperity is the notion that the people are the true rulers of their nation.
Every human being shares the value of democracy. Is China a democracy, though? The solution is revealed through history.
The establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 heralded the final transition of the nation from the rule of feudal despotism, which had been in place for several thousand years, to a people’s democracy and represented the uprising of one-fourth of the world’s population.
Where were those nations that accused China of being undemocratic when the Chinese people, led by the CPC, were engaged in violent battles for people’s democracy? They never supported the democratic uprising of the Chinese people, instead siding with the tyrannical reactionary rulers.
Furthermore, they even gave money and guns to the reactionaries so they could massacre the Chinese. Such nations and their politicians have no business discussing China’s democracy. The 1.4 billion Chinese people have the greatest right to do so.
Democracy has no predetermined structure, just as a Chinese stomach cannot adjust to cold milk and an American cannot use chopsticks. China’s whole-process democracy, with its distinctive appeal, is workable on Chinese territory. It guarantees that people are in control of their destinies and the country they live in. For the rest of the world, China stands out as a special example of democracy. (Li Junru, a former vice-president of the CPC Central Committee’s Party School, contributed.)
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