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Democracy comes in various forms, experts say

By JIANG CHENGLONG | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-03-23 17:39

Democracy, the form of which varies in different countries based on their national conditions, should not just focus on elections and electoral methods use to select leaders, but also consider how these leaders serve the people, experts said on Wednesday in a global forum on democracy held in Beijing.

Each country and region has a unique historical background and cultural development, said Humphrey Moshi, an expert on Chinese studies at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, while attending the 2nd International Forum on Democracy: the Shared Human Values.

Western democratic systems, which mainly focus on domestic politics, attach much importance to their elections, he said.

However, as the expert pointed out, democracy in the United States, which is typical seen in Western countries, has still been unable to resolve the problems of poverty, discrimination and homelessness in the country over the past 100-odd years.

China, where democracy has maintained a balance between politics, the economy and society, has outperformed Western countries during the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of economic growth and saving lives, he said.

Yan Yilong, deputy dean of Institute for Contemporary China Studies at Tsinghua University, said that Western democracy centered on competitive elections is only one form of the political system.

The problem with that form of democracy is that a government can be elected through legal procedures, but cannot operate from the perspective of common people, or won't properly represent public opinion during its actual work after the elections, according to the scholar.

But China's whole-process people's democracy considers not only the selection of officials, but also the processes of making decisions, policy implementation and supervision, he said, taking China's recently closed Two Sessions as an example in which many topics related to the livelihood of ordinary people were discussed.

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