Foreign experts hail China's democracy path; 'inspiring for other developing countries'
Published: Mar 20, 2024 09:17 PM
The Third International Forum on Democracy: The Shared Human Values is held in Beijing on March 20, 2024. Photo: Qian Jiayin/GT

The Third International Forum on Democracy: The Shared Human Values is held in Beijing on March 20, 2024. Photo: Qian Jiayin/GT

Nearly 300 politicians, scholars and experts from around the world on Wednesday shared their thoughts on democracy at an international forum, during which they highly praised China's achievements on a democratic path with Chinese characteristics, while many also expressed their opposition toward certain countries weaponizing democracy for their own political purposes.

The forum, titled "The Third International Forum on Democracy: The Shared Human Values," was held in Beijing on Wednesday. It provided a platform for participants from Western countries and the Global South to engage in candid, in-depth discussions on how countries can navigate their unique paths to democracy.

Li Shulei, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the forum. He said that democracy stands as a crucial symbol of the advancement of human civilization, and that the CPC has led the Chinese people to embark on a democratic development path with Chinese characteristics.

Li emphasized that during the 2024 two sessions that wrapped up in mid-March, deputies and political advisors nationwide made proposals and suggestions covering various aspects of economic and social development, representing the voices of the people from all walks of life. These proposals will be carefully considered and integrated into the policymaking process, Li said.

China will continue to improve its democratic system and broaden democratic channels, Li said. In recent years, China has actively utilized online platforms to allow a large number of netizens to express their opinions and participate in the decision-making process. "We have received over 1.6 million online suggestions to the drafting of this year's Government Work Report, and many of these suggestions have been fully reflected in the report," Li noted.

Li further stated that democracy is a common value for all humanity, aiming to safeguard and enhance global consensus, and democracy should not be used as a tool by certain countries to serve their own political purposes. He emphasized that some countries are interfering in the future of other countries under the guise of promoting "democracy and freedom," which goes against the spirit of democracy.

"China fully respects the right of people in all countries to independently choose their own development path, and is against countries creating divisions and spreading prejudices in the international community under the guise of democracy. China is always ready to work with other countries to build international relations based on mutual respect and win-win cooperation," Li noted.

Politicians and scholars from various countries including Italy, Egypt, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, UK and Pakistan were invited to give speeches or share thoughts on democracy, with many appreciating China's efforts to promote a path which could be inspiring for other developing countries, while others expressed concerns over the US-led West using democracy as a tool to exercise hegemony.

"China supports the diversity of democratic practices, and sees the connection between the realization of people's wishes and the level of social development that can support these wishes," said Ong Tee Keat, former deputy speaker of the Lower House of the Malaysian Parliament. He noted that this is especially important for countries previously colonized by Western powers, and they should prioritize the basic survival needs of their own people.

Essam Sharaf, former prime minister of Egypt, said that China is working hard toward modernization with Chinese characteristics, and now China is calling on other countries and friends to join hands and cooperate through global initiatives to create a better future together.

Massimo D'Alema, former prime minister of Italy, noted that the risk the West faces is the end of the most glorious era of democratic principles, the "one person, one vote" era, a fact that gives way to the new rule of "one dollar, one vote."

"According to the US and its allies, democracy is often seen as a political tool used to destabilize countries that do not align with US policies. Rather than interfering in the internal affairs of other nations, the US should reflect on its own democratic system," Muhammad Asif Noor Farooqi, director of the Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies from Pakistan, told the Global Times at the forum.

The third "Summit for Democracy" conference kicked off on Monday in Seoul. Analysts have been slamming it as an increasingly evident "clown show" which paints a long-have-been bankrupt American portrait in the eye of the world.