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Inevitable Logic of the Path of Socialist Political Development with Chinese Characteristics

Submit Time:13-03-2018 | Zoom In | Zoom Out

Author:Dong Zhenhua | Source:Guangming Daily (January 31, 2018)


As pointed out in the report to the National Congress of the Communist Party of China, "the path of socialist political development with Chinese Characteristics is the logical outcome of the evolution of history, theory and practice as the Chinese people have long engaged in struggles since the advent of modern times." The splendid achievements made by the socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era speak volumes about how important the Chinese road for the world. It tears down the myth that the Western road is "the only correct one that can be applied universally," and convincingly demonstrate that every country must put in place the democratic political system that fits their own national context. The entry of socialism with Chinese characteristics into a new era means the socialist road, theory, system and culture with Chinese characteristics all have kept growing constantly, thus blazing a new path for other developing countries to modernize themselves, giving a brand new option to the countries and nations that wish to gather their pace of development without compromising their independence, and offering Chinese wisdom and a Chinese approach to solving the problems facing mankind.  

1. Historical inevitability of the path of socialist political development with Chinese characteristics 

In the past, China also tried to pursue the Western democracy in a bid to realize the nation's salvation. Some examples in this regard include the attempts to introduce the constitutional monarchy in the late Qing dynasty as well as the presidential system and multi-party system in the wake of the Revolution of 1911. However, none of these efforts managed to solve the problems facing the country back then. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China ("Party" or "the CPC"), China never ceased to explore and improve the path fit for its democratic political development throughout the course of revolution, construction, reform and development. To be specific, we have been consolidating and improving the system of people's congresses and developing the system of community-level self-governance, thus making the content-rich and multiple-layered people's democracy where the people are the masters of the country a reality; we have been upholding and improving the system of Party-led multiparty cooperation and political consultation with a view to developing the broadest possible patriotic united front, mobilizing all available forces, and pooling the wisdom of the masses; we have been upholding the basic strategy that every dimension of governance is based on laws, especially the Constitution, so as to keep to the rule of law for the country, the government and the society; we have put in place and improved the systems to apply checks and oversight over the exercise of power and the system to punish and guard against corruption, so as to make sure Party and state organs and officials can exercise their power according to legitimate authority and procedures. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, we have introduced more sound democratic policies, rolled out more diversified democratic forms, and lifted democracy to a higher level, thus guaranteeing the people can efficiently exercise their power as masters of the country, and attaining the coordinated progress in order, efficiency and democracy. Deeply rooted in the basic context of China, democracy with Chinese characteristics, spearheaded by the basic principle that marries the democratic theory of Marxism with the actual conditions of the country, draws upon the instructive achievements mankind has made in political civilization, and absorbs the democratic elements contained in the traditional Chinese culture and policies. The fruitful democratic form has politically prepared China for the great rejuvenation, and provided strong policy guarantee for the realization of China Miracle.  

As the socialist undertaking with Chinese characteristics keeps developing, the socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics will continue to advance with the times, ward off the mistakes China and other countries have committed in the past, and stick to the socialist road in the light of its actual conditions. In the face of the notable success the Chinese democracy had secured, Francis Fukuyama who used to assert "the end of history" had to make revision to his assertion, by saying "the objective facts prove that the Western liberal democracy may not mean the end of revolution of the human history. With the rise of China, the 'end of history' conclusion is subject to further deliberation and improvement. A seat in the treasure house of human thoughts needs to be reserved for the traditional Chinese culture."  

Over the four decades since the introduction of reform and opening up policy, the Chinese economy and society have changed beyond recognition, and China ascended to an influential big power across the world. All of these are the achievements made by China through its practice along the road of socialist political development with Chinese characteristics. At the same time, they also give full expression to the strong vitality and superiority of the Chinese political system in modern China, and tear down the myth that the Western democracy has universal value. The success secured by the Chinese road fully attests that what kind of political system and course of development one country adopts should be ultimately determined by its basic conditions, both historically and culturally. Only deeply rooted in and well nourished by the soil of a country, can the democratic system be reliable and well-functioning.  

2. Theoretical inevitability of the path of socialist political development with Chinese characteristics 

Theoretically, only the democracy capable to boost productivity development and people's wellbeing is the genuine democracy. The Chinese democratic politics is the effective system to serve that purpose. Just as Comrade Mao Zedong noted, "Democracy as such sometimes seems to be an end, but it is in fact only a means. Marxism teaches us that democracy is part of the superstructure and belongs to the realm of politics. That is to say, in the last analysis, it serves the economic base." Therefore, whether being able to boost productivity development and people's wellbeing is the ultimate yardstick for judging whether a country adopts the democratic system that is appropriate, reasonable and superior. The reason for the Chinese democratic politics to boost productivity development and people's welling more effectively than its counterparts lies in its unique system advantages.  

Through conducting the correct centralization based on democracy and rolling out wise guidelines, policies and major decisions, the CPC Central Committee and Chinese government can unify the will of the Chinese people, substantially incorporate resources available across the society, put in place the related policies and decisions with efficiency, as a result of which power constraints are avoided remarkably. To the opposite, individualism bred by the Western democracy almost denies the dialectically effective unification between democracy and centralization. Just as pointed out by Charles Taylors, one of major advocates of communalism, atomism overemphasizes that individuals and their rights are superior over society and deems the latter as the tool to attain personal purposes. In his view, all versions of liberalism that is based on the contract theory and utilitarianism that is derived from individualism since the 17th century can be brought into the scope of "atomism." The Western democracy is built on atomism and dedicated to cultivating atomist citizens. So it is inevitable for atomist citizens to trigger power constraints.  

While guaranteeing the extensive democratic rights, China can unify opinions of all related parties properly, balance the interests of different sources, exercise power collectively, make scientific decisions, make sure the will and interest of people can be realized, maintain the social fairness and equality, pool together the advice, wisdom and strength of different groups, strengthen the vitality of our Party and country, gather scattered forces to tackle with great challenges together, and foster the great synergy to propel China towards further development and progress. The Western democracy seems to belong to the entire people. However, it is the democracy of capital in essence, which is cut for the Western capitalist system. In response to this, Engels ever put it succinctly that "the modern State is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie," "the modern State, again, is only the organization that bourgeois society takes on in order to support the external conditions of the capitalist mode of production against the encroachments as well of the workers as of individual capitalists," and "the modern State, regardless of its form, is essentially a capitalistic machine, the ideal collective capitalist." Currently, the phenomenon that the politics is kidnapped by interest groups in Western countries is thick on the group, and the lobby has outgrown into a system. Also in this sense, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair indicated in an article published in the New York Times that "Thus you have the curious paradox of modern leadership: There has to be reform to satisfy rising public demands, but the public can be easily mobilized to oppose these reforms." Under this circumstance, it gets the world wondering how the Chinese people are mobilized in the country's construction and development drive.  

It is because that the socialist democratic system with Chinese characteristics has met the overall requirements raised by the Chinese history and basic reality for the political system, managed to sustain the stable development of the national economy over the long term, lifted the socialist productivity to a higher level, conformed to the fundamental interests of all Chinese people, and demonstrated prominent system advantages in promoting economic and social development.  

3. Realistic inevitability of the path of socialist political development with Chinese characteristics 

Economy and politics constitute a dialectical unity. It is impossible for economy to develop without the matching politics. In essence, the reform of the political system aims to adapt itself to the economic foundation and productivity development, and better serve and promote the development of productivity, thus propelling the entire society towards constant advancement. Guided by the principles of upholding the Party leadership, making sure the people are the masters of the country, advancing law-based governance in all areas, and upholding democratic centralism, the socialist democratic politics with Chinese characteristics keeps developing itself, and contributes to the rapid growth of the Chinese economy and society. Therefore, the path of socialist political development with Chinese characteristics is of realistic inevitability from the perspective of practice.  

Upholding the Party leadership, the democratic politics with Chinese characteristics offers the fundamental political guarantee for China's harmony, stability, and coordinated development. In a country like China with more than one billion population, the most dreadful thing is sinking into a state of disunity. To unify such a huge population is a task which can be accomplished by no one but the Communist Party of China. Under the leadership of the Party, China accomplished eye-catching strides in democratic political development over the past four decades since the introduction of the reform and opening up policy, especially the 18th CPC National Congress. Thanks to the democratic mode, China has really listened to public voices and amassed public intelligence, secured political stability and made sound decisions, and realized economic flourish and social prosperity, all of which displays the strong vitality of the Chinese democratic politics. Ensuring the people run the country comes as the essential and core requirement of the socialist democratic politics with Chinese characteristics. By doing so, China is able to constantly gather strength as needed by the socialist undertaking with Chinese characteristics. At the same time, China has established and upheld a set of democratic political systems which encompass the system of people's congresses, the system of Party-led multiparty cooperation and political consultation, the system of regional ethic autonomy, and the system of community-level self-governance, as a means to make sure the people can run the country in a real sense. The root cause for the socialist democratic political system with Chinese characteristics to make "good governance" a reality lies in that our Party and country always bear in mind the fundamental interests of all Chinese people, and thus are capable of aspiring their wisdom, strength and initiative. As Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out, "The Chinese dream is both the dream of the Chinese nation and the dream of every Chinese." It is impossible for China to accomplish such spectacular successes in its reform and opening up drive without the active participation and selfless contribution of the Chinese people. Law-based governance is a basic policy the Party pursues to lead the people and run the country. It provides legal guarantee for the advancement of the socialist undertaking with Chinese characteristics. Law-based governance and building China into a socialist country based on the rule of law constitute the basic guarantee and mission of the socialist democratic politics with Chinese characteristics. Democracy and law-based governance serve as two primary goals China must score while developing its socialist political culture. The two supplement with each other and are interwoven closely. In the absence of democracy, law-based governance will become a river without headwaters; without law-based governance, democracy will have nothing to rely on. The systems of democratic centralism are the fundamental organizational system and leadership system that our Party and country adopt, the scientific and well-functioning democratic system, and the most superior system available for our Party and country. Besides, the systems of democratic centralism also determine that the relations between central and local governments and those between the superior and the subordinate cannot just guarantee the uniform leadership on the central level but also give appropriate autonomy to the local level. At the same time, such relations can guarantee the instructions given by the superior can be executed as exactly as they are and the initiative of the subordinate or the masses can be brought into full play.  

The success in the Chinese road fully attests that there is neither universal political system nor universal democracy as claimed by the Western world. Instead, every country should choose the political development path that is fit for their historical and cultural traditions, social backgrounds, and economic developments. As pointed out by the 19th National Congress, "No two political systems are entirely the same, and a political system cannot be judged in abstraction without regard for its social and political context, its history, and its cultural traditions. No one political system should be regarded as the only choice; and we should not just mechanically copy the political system of other countries." The socialist political system with Chinese characteristics is a great creation made by our Party and people in the light of the Chinese actual conditions. We are totally confident and capable of making the most of the superior and distinguished socialist democratic politics, and will do our bit to the progress of human political civilization with our Chinese wisdom. 

(Author's affiliation: The Party School of the Central Committee of CPC)

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