Party aims to shepherd democracy in China

Source:Global Times Published: 2011-7-5 21:30:00

Ye Duchu (叶笃初)

Editor’s Note:

The Communist Party of China (CPC)celebrated its 90th anniversary on July 1. Chinese President Hu Jintao gave a speech in which he highlighted issues about young people, Party transformation, and “passive corruption.” What’s the future of the Party? Does it have a democratic element? How does “passive corruption” differ from the usual kind? People’s Daily online (PD) talked to Ye Duchu (Ye), a senior party expert with the Party School of the Central Committee of the CPC, on these issues.

PD: What was President Hu trying to convey when he mentioned young people frequently in his speech to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Communist Party of China?

Ye: A party needs to take in young members to maintain its vitality as the veteran members are aging. Young and middle-aged Party members account for more than 60 percent of Party membership at present. Youngsters, brimming with vigor, could be schooled to be young Party leaders. 

Usually, a promising party should be charming enough to draw the attention of the young. One of the most important reasons why some parties in the world failed to maintain their long-term supremacy was owing to a lack of young members. 

It is a great tragedy to a party if not a single young person is willing to join it. Fortunately, it has never happened to CPC. It is still strengthening its standards in absorbing new members and making all-out efforts to meet various needs of the young. 

PD: What’s your take on the transformations in crucial areas? Does that indicate that the Party will forward the reforms?

Ye: The Party and the government should assume their respective roles. It is also a part of the continuing political restructuring. 

The people’s congress, the political consultative system and the established socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics are also a part of the restructuring project. 

The rule of law means that both the government and the Party should observe the laws. We never ignore its importance but there are actually a sea of difficulties to address. It’s the same with economic and cultural restructuring. 

Even though sometimes we have enough experience and are ready to carry forward the reform, it is still wiser to wait and see the possible side effects beforehand. Heading for reform is often right, but we need to ensure its safety in case of any setback. 

A truly beneficial reforming policy should not be achieved at a great expense. Some socialist countries paid too high a price for their reforms. A party that wants to serve the public interests should certainly take the cost into consideration. 

PD: President Hu mentioned that there were differences between socialist democracy guided by the CPC and Western democracy. How do you view this? 

Ye: Western democracy usually features a two-chamber system and multiple parties. Various parties rotate or compete for the top government position. China’s democracy, characterized by the leadership of the Party and the participation of other parties, was framed owing to its specific historic terms and traditions. It is the choice of history as well as of the people. 

Deng Xiaoping once said that he expected that China could boost its economy at a much faster and more stable speed than that of the West. Separately, in political sphere, Deng also hoped that China could avoid the weakness in West-style democracy. The key point lies at serving the public interests. 

Soliciting political insights, practical demands and feasible strategies from the masses are more than mere slogans. The process, however, needs to be detailed and standardized. 

According to my own experience, social democracy shepherded by the Party has its own advantages. We need to further develop it, which needs more time and tests. 

The Party also strives to speed up its internal democracy, which is expected to spur social democracy. The Party has actually made great progress in its internal democratic construction via the grass-roots elections. 

A great number of county-level organizations have adopted the direct election method so that the voices of more citizens can be heard. Nevertheless, China is a huge country and the Party has an overwhelming number of members. It takes time, anyway. 

Whether the social democracy promoted by the Party could be better than that of the West depends on the criterion used. Different judgments could yield different results. Moreover, some areas are not suitable for comparison. 

PD: Is passive corruption a comparatively isolated phenomenon or deeply rooted? Was there any reason President Hu particularly mentioned it in the speech?

Ye: Passive corruption has been on the agenda since reform and opening-up began. The meaning of the “passive corruption” Hu mentioned this time is more extensive. 

To be brief, corruption is an extreme condition among Party leaders, but there are also a flock of people idling away their time on their duty. Some of them try to avoid troubles whenever possible. Such phenomenon is often not regarded as a form of corruption. 

Generally speaking, passive corruption means those who dodge conflicts and do not fulfill their duty at work. Some of them even personally profit from the public interest. 

The two phenomena are different in degrees, but are the same in essence. Passive corruption is more threatening as it is harder to spot and could escape the punishment of the Party discipline. 

Once violating the laws, Party members are supposed to be dealt with by the Central Committee for Discipline Inspection of the CPC. 

Besides, those who are no longer qualified to be Party members are forcibly removed from their posts by the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee. 

Discipline violators who are not regarded as having committed a crime will be supervised while keeping their position.

Passive corruption is to be guarded against via disciplinary and organizational means, as well as legal and administrative ones, if necessary.

Posted in: Dialogue

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