Understanding China's whole-process people's democracy at 'two sessions'
Whole-process people's democracy, a creation of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in leading the people to pursue, develop and realize democracy, embodies the Party's innovation in advancing China's democratic theories, systems and practices.
China's ongoing "two sessions," the annual gatherings of the National People's Congress (NPC) and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), offer observers a window into the idea and practice of whole-process people's democracy, which has become a buzzword in China's political arena over the past years.
During roughly a week, nearly 3,000 NPC deputies and around 2,000 members of the CPPCC National Committee perform their duties including the deliberation of various legislative items and the review and discussion of a series of work reports, in a bid to garner the common ground and convergence of interests of the Chinese people.
As a creative concept in the new era, whole-process people's democracy derives from the rich legacy of the CPC's democratic practices since its founding. One of the most illustrative examples is the CPC's innovative way of mobilizing rural people to exercise their voting rights by casting beans as their ballots during the revolutionary era.
The concept has two key phrases: "whole process," and "people's democracy."
"People's democracy" is the life of socialism. The essence of socialist democracy is that the people are the masters of the country. It is stipulated in China's Constitution that all power in the country belongs to the people, and Chinese people participate, in accordance with law and in various ways and forms, in the governance of state, economic, cultural, and social affairs.
"Whole process" means that the people engage in democratic elections, consultations, decision-making, management, and oversight according to the law.
During the "two sessions," national legislators and political advisors bring with them people's expectations for a better life as well as issues of public concerns, so that the public will of the 1.4 billion people is incorporated into the top-level design of national development.
They engage in in-depth deliberations and heated discussions, focusing on a wide range of topics such as income distribution, education, medical care, housing, elderly care, and child care.
In 2021, the NPC adopted the amendments to relevant laws that concern its organization and working procedures, with "whole-process democracy" being written into law.
At this year's sessions, the draft amendment to the Organic Law of the Local People's Congresses and Local People's Governments is submitted for deliberation. Adopted in 1979, the law will go through its sixth amendment, in which a people-centered philosophy of development and whole-process people's democracy are highlighted.
Democracy is not an ornament, but it is about solving problems for the people. Whether a country is democratic or not, practice speaks the loudest and the people of that country have the biggest say.
Practice has proved that the whole-process people's democracy in China is the broadest, most genuine and most effective socialist democracy. It is rooted in China's history and culture, suited to China's national conditions, and is able to solve China's problems.
While there is no one-size-fits-all democratic model and each country can blaze its own path, China's whole-process people's democracy will surely enrich the political civilization of humanity.
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