US money democracy game for few, merely in name: scholars
Published: Dec 03, 2021 05:01 PM Updated: Dec 03, 2021 11:58 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

A country's democratic model and political path are determined by the country's history, economic and social development, and there is no democratic path that is applicable worldwide, Chinese scholars said at a symposium on Friday, criticizing the US for utilizing the concept for its political interests.

Academics at the symposium shared the consensus that the US democracy has been decaying. Evidence has been mounting that proves how "democracy" is controlled by plutocrats, becomes the game of very few elites and remains mere in name but fails to achieve effective and orderly governance.

Some 100 academics and students in relevant disciplines attended the symposium held by the Human Rights Research Institute and School of Politics and Public Administration at Northwest University of Political Science and Law (NUPSL). 

Yang Zongke, president of the university and director of the institute, said in his speech that the standard of democracy mustn't be whether it conforms to a certain format, but should be whether the people are the masters of their own country. 

The US democracy is a game of a few political elites at the core but has to be disguised as democracy for common people to gain legitimacy. The US cannot fix the contradiction and decadence in democracy can't be avoided, experts said. 

A poll on Americans aged 18-29 by Harvard Kennedy School's Institute of Politics (IOP) revealed Wednesday that only 7 percent of young Americans view the US as a "healthy democracy"  and 52 percent believe that democracy is either "in trouble" or "failing."

Commenting on the poll, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Friday's routine press conference that US democracy is money democracy, a trick to fool the people domestically and a tool to impose hegemony abroad. 

Multiple keynote speakers at the Friday symposium touched on problems plaguing American society, which are vivid examples for Zhao's remarks, including rampant gun violence, racism and increasingly polarized party politics, chaotic and weak governance. An iconic incident is the storming of Capitol in January 2021. 

Professor Tong Dezhi from Tianjin Normal University pointed out that Western capitalism in economy and democracy in politics are contradictory in nature and lead to plights in practice. Capitalism emphasizes property rights and efficiency, while democracy requires citizen rights and equality. In this sense, movements like Occupy Wall Street, Black Life Matters are inevitable.

From history angle, US political system was elite republican when the nation was founded, and has evolved to mass democracy. But the democracy has been reduced to the right to vote in practice, which only leads to economic, social and political inequality, experts said. 

US democracy is facing the inherent crisis of legitimacy caused by dysfunction of its representative democracy model, which focuses on format but ignores effects, they said. 

In the model, Democrats and Republicans take power in turn. Presidents are elected by Americans but neither represents interests of the people; That's the root cause of neither Donald Trump nor Joe Biden can tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chang An, executive director of NUPSL's Human Rights Research Institute, pointed out that the symposium centers on the quality of democracy. In addition to the format of democracy, we must also pay attention to the quality of democracy and the effectiveness of democratic systems. 

Western democracy is capital-oriented and inherently flawed. Oligarchy, racial oppression, human rights disasters, and hegemony in foreign policy can hardly be called democracy, Chang said.