Apples or bananas, which tastes better?
Published: Feb 23, 2023 12:14 PM
A woman visits an exhibition themed

A woman visits an exhibition themed "Forging Ahead in the New Era" on October 2, 2022. The exhibition at the Beijing Exhibition Hall focuses on the great achievements made with the endeavor of the CPC and the country over the past decade. Photo: Li Hao/GT

Apples and bananas are both common fruits. But when poked with the question "Which one tastes better?", you are more likely to find it tricky to give a clear-cut answer. This is all natural! As apples and bananas contrast with each other in an obvious way, different people may have their own preferences. There is no single rule to apply.

The king of all fruits never exists. Likewise, in politics, a one-size-fits-all model of democracy for the whole world does not exist. It comes in many forms. Assessing the world's myriad political systems against a single yardstick and examining diverse political advancement in monochrome is, itself, inherently undemocratic.

As true as everyone loves having fruits, democracy is a value shared by all humanity. It is also an ideal that the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese people have always upheld. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has remained committed to the path of socialist political advancement with Chinese characteristics, worked to ensure that the Party's leadership, the people's position as masters of the country and law-based governance form an indivisible whole. The CPC has embarked on a democratic path of developing whole-process people's democracy.

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. The latest election of new deputies to the county- and township-level people's congresses in 2022 is a vivid illustration of whole-process people's democracy in practice, during which over 2.6 million new deputies were elected by over one billion voters casting one vote each. Among the deputies, frontline workers, farmers and people with special skills took up a bigger share, showing the broadness of the deputies of people's congresses and the extensive political participation by the 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. It is real, effective, and successful democracy. In the past decade, close to 100 million poor rural residents in China have been lifted out of poverty, a miracle unseen anywhere in the world. China's life expectancy has reached 78.2 years, its per capita disposable annual income has risen from 16,500 yuan ($2,397) to 35,100 yuan. More than 42 million housing units in run-down urban areas and more than 24 million dilapidated rural houses have been rebuilt, marking a significant improvement in housing conditions in both urban and rural areas.

China's whole-process people's democracy is not the kind that wakes up at the time of voting and goes back to dormant afterward. Instead, it ensures that the people have the full right to know, to participate, to express, and to supervise. It means that the people participate in every part of democracy. The just-concluded 20th CPC National Congress openly solicited opinions on the work related to the National Congress from the entire Party and society. More than 8.5 million suggestions and comments in various areas were collected, laying an important foundation for the success of the congress.

While bananas are abundant in tropical regions, cooler climate is more hospitable for apples' growth. Which type of fruits could grow and glow is mainly decided by the local environment. In the same vein, democracy should also be molded by the conditions on the ground. Transplanted democracy does not work. Since its founding over a century ago, the CPC has keenly realized, by reviewing the gains and losses of political development at home and abroad, that China's political civilization and political system must be deeply rooted in China's society. It will not work for China to copy the political systems of other countries, which may even ruin the country's future.

Democracy is not an exclusive patent of Western countries and should not be defined and dictated by Western countries. Democracy is, at its core, all about the people running the country. The electoral democracy that some Western countries are proud of is an election ruled by capital and a game of capitalist groups. It is the "democracy" of the rich. It is not real democracy.

To this, the CPC and the Chinese people have always had a clear head. China firmly opposes the delusion of some political thoughts in Western countries, including so-called "constitutionalism," the power rotation among multiple political parties and "the separation of powers." China is eager to learn what lessons it can learn from the achievements of other cultures and welcome helpful suggestions and constructive criticism. However, China will not accept sanctimonious preaching from those who feel they have the right to give lectures.

Both history and reality have fully proved that China's whole-process people's democracy fits in well with its national conditions. It enjoys the support of the people. Recent surveys conducted by institutions in the West, including Harvard University, found that more than 90 percent of Chinese respondents are satisfied with their government. According to a survey released by Edelman, the world's largest public relations consultancy firm, as many as 91 percent of Chinese interviewed in 2021 said they trust their government. This is rarely seen in the world and fully shows that China's whole-process people's democracy has the broad support of the Chinese people.

No fruit is absolutely superior to other fruits. No country has a perfect democratic system, and there is always a need for development and improvement. China is willing to work with the international community, on the basis of equality and mutual respect, to explore better democratic systems, which are suitable to each country's own condition and independently chosen by its people. After all, the people who eat apples and bananas have a direct feeling and say on which fruit is good or bad.

The author is an observer on international affairs. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn