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Think tank praises China's democracy

People-centered, highly inclusive system helps 'curb division in society'

By XU WEIWEI in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2024-03-05 09:13

Shakeel Ahmad Ramay

China's practice of whole-process people's democracy as exemplified by the two sessions emphasizes people's welfare and inclusive consultation for scientific decision-making, the head of a Pakistani think tank said.

"China's whole-process people's democracy does not discriminate on the basis of religion, gender or class," said Shakeel Ahmad Ramay, CEO of the Islamabad-based Asian Institute of Eco-civilization Research and Development. "It ensures delivery of services and livelihood opportunities to every citizen on an equal basis."

In an interview with China Daily ahead of the two sessions, which are the annual meetings of China's National People's Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Ahmad said the deep consultative mechanism helps "curb division in society and paves the way for peaceful coexistence, liberty and a prosperous society".

China's whole-process people's democracy has several distinctive characteristics that set it apart from Western models, he said.

Ahmad noted that first of all, the Chinese model of democracy is people-centered and highly inclusive. The nation's decision to eliminate absolute poverty and its success in that endeavor is one of the best examples.

Furthermore, the development of a five-year plan may start two to three years before its finalization, he said. The Communist Party of China and government agencies both welcome input from all sectors, including the scientific and research community, think tanks, political parties and the general public.

Consultation often starts at the lowest level and culminates at the highest. After compiling feedback, a draft is formed and shared with the NPC, the CPPCC and the CPC's Central Committee, Ahmad noted.

The final draft is also discussed with other political parties as well as experts who are political advisers, he pointed out.

The Chinese government has also shared drafts of plans on the internet to collect even more opinions from the public, Ahmad noted. Once all the suggestions are taken into account, the plans are finalized and put forward for implementation.

A prime example of inclusivity that Ahmad cited is the structure of the CPPCC. It gives opportunities to all political parties of China, including the CPC, and professional organizations and representatives from all sectors of society to play a role in the decision-making and support policy implementation at all government levels, from the county and township levels to the central government.

Despite some differences between the parties in respect to their ideologies, "they are unanimous in steering the people's welfare and development", Ahmad said.

Moreover, elections of officials are deeply rooted in society and start from the lowest level, usually on the basis of recommendation and selection by various social organizations.

For example, at the village level, people have candidates represent them. These representatives elect delegates at a higher level, who in turn elect representatives for congresses at different levels, and the NPC elects the top leadership.

"In this way, all communities and ethnicities participate" in electing the leadership and making decisions related to the State and their respective areas, Ahmad said.

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