Two sessions begin, showcase China’s ‘institutionalized substantial democracy’

The fourth session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference opens at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 4, 2021. (Photo by Zhang Wujun/People's Daily)

China has formally entered the annual “two sessions” time Thursday as the country’s top political advisory body Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) kicked off. The National People’s Congress (NPC), the top legislative body, started Friday.

Having successfully completed the 13th Five-Year Plan in 2020, China is set to release the 14th Five-Year Plan and Long-Range Objectives through 2035 at the meetings.

The most important annual political event of China also attracted great attention worldwide, but as always, some foreign media described the NPC as a “rubber stamp” legislature as they hold onto the belief that the NPC is unable to realize so-called “checks and balance” function as in the Western system, but Chinese experts said that these Western journalists and observers need to do some homework. Otherwise, one day they will regret their ignorance.

Zhang Weiwei, a professor and director of the China Institute of Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Thursday that the two sessions have shown that China has an institutionalized substantial democracy, and its performance, especially in last year, was way better than the Western democratic system in terms of fighting the virus and development.

“This system, in normal times, can ensure the country to carry on a huge task, and in the emergency period, it’s able to unite the country with 1.4 billion people to overcome the unprecedented challenge,” Zhang Weiwei said.

But in Western democratic system, which most Western media and politicians stubbornly believe is the only correct path to the modernization, different parties found they are extremely difficult to reach an agreement, and even after the agreement has been reached, the head of the government could just overthrow it easily, said Song Luzheng, an expert on politics at the Fudan University.

Zhang Weiwei said that if you read the government work report delivered by Chinese premier at the NPC annual session every year, and compare it to the state of the union address delivered by US President at the US Congress every year, “you will learn what is substantial democracy and what is democracy in name only.”

The CPC, China’s ruling party, will mark its 100th anniversary this year, and in the past century, the Party did make mistakes and some of them even led to tragedies. But today, China under the leadership of CPC, has grown to be the second biggest economy in the world and able to perform better than Western countries in many fields, and its people are living in a country with a safer society and better development than many other countries.

“If the system of democratic centralism in China is just a rubber stamp, how could the CPC and China get the outstanding self-correction ability, and eventually found a more suitable path for China’s modernization, instead of copying the systems of others?” said Song.

Source: Global Times

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