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China should follow own course in political reform

Updated: 2011-04-02 15:12

By Wei-wei Zhang (peopledaily.com.cn)

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First, it should take the road of gradual reforms. There is no such thing as a perfect plan. The central government should take into consideration the actual conditions of the country, proceed step by step, conduct experiments and encourage the people to make innovations. It is like groping forward by feeling for stones to cross a river.

As long as we do not stop moving, we will finally find the stones and cross the river, meaning that we will definitely form a relatively sound new democratic system in the end. Like economic reforms, China does not have a road map, but rather a compass. Under the established general directions and strategies, China should encourage each region to carry out bold explorations and experiments so as to gradually find a way to democracy that is in line with both China's contexts and the conditions of its people.

The second is domestic demand. The reforms should start by meeting China's effective demand and only the reforms driven by effective domestic demand can be relatively stable. Effective domestic demand means the actual domestic demand based on the ideas, culture and conditions of the people in a country, which is the greatest inherent driving force. Presently, China's greatest domestic demand is the development of an anti-corruption system, an intra-Party democratic system, a service-oriented government and a society under the rule of law.

The third is livelihood. This means that China's key task is to improve the livelihood and the development of democracy should pragmatically focus on enhancing the public standard of living in both level and scope, enabling the government to provide the common people with better services and making the people lead safer, more free and more well-off and dignified lives.

A key reason behind the failures of democratic experiments in many developing countries lies in that the countries advanced democracy by simply copying Western-style democracy, resulting in the idleness of the political machine, endless domestic friction and worse instead of better lives for the common people. Naturally, such democratic experiments cannot go far.

China can explore a new type of democratic system that is derived from Chinese culture and absorbs strong points from other democratic systems, which will subsequently overtake Western democratic system in terms of both quality and effectiveness. This will also be an important opportunity for China to make contributions to mankind. As "a civilization-type state," China should never decline to assume such responsibility.

The author Wei-wei Zhang is a professor at the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations (GSD) and visiting researcher at Chunqiu Comprehensive Research Institute.


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