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China's political system enjoys an edge

By Lyu Jia | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-15 07:12

China's political system enjoys an edge

Red flags on the Tian'anmen Square and atop the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. [Photo/Xinhua]

In the years immediately after the Cold War, Western scholars were quite confident that Western-style "democracy" would eventually triumph over all other political systems, with Francis Fukuyama's book, The End of History and The Last Man, being a case in point.

Yet the past decade has revealed many deficiencies in what the Western scholars claimed to be a faultless political system. Western-style democracy, in fact, has failed to solve the social, economic and political problems of even the Western countries.

In contrast, socialism with Chinese characteristics is propelling China toward realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.

China's democratic system under the leadership of the Communist Party of China is perfectly suited to the country's present conditions and cultural traditions. Unlike Western political parties that represent the interests of only part of the people, the CPC represents the working class along with the rest of the Chinese people.

China is the only ancient civilization that has continued to evolve without a break for more than 5,000 years. And the CPC has inherited-and has been promoting-the cultural traditions of that civilization with the aim of serving the nation and its people. And contrary to some Western scholars' prophecy during the Cold War, China is rising steadily while the West remains mired in all kinds of troubles.

Socialism with Chinese characteristics has succeeded in elevating China, economically, spiritually, culturally and strategically, for three main reasons.

First, socialism with Chinese characteristics has long-term construction goals. Western governments tend to implement short-term policies after assuming office, not because they are shortsighted, but because their political systems impose administrative limitations on them.

Since the introduction of the reform and opening-up policy in 1978, China has achieved unprecedented economic growth, greatly improved people's living standards and continued to modernize the country's infrastructure. In contrast, a majority of Western countries' economic growth and infrastructure development slowed down. This makes the comparative advantages of socialism with Chinese characteristics obvious.

Second, China's economic growth over the past decades has been the fastest in the world. As the architect of and the force behind socialism with Chinese characteristics, the CPC has made economic construction its priority while encouraging the entire society to work for economic development.

In Western countries, some farsighted politicians do draft good, beneficial policies, but these policies often face endless debates because they involve too many interests. In the United States, for example, the federal government was even shut down briefly during the Barack Obama presidency, because the Democratic and Republican parties could not reach a consensus on the budget. In such a situation, how can a government govern efficiently?

And third, the CPC can strike the right balance between the interests of the Chinese people and the people in the rest of the world. More than two and a half decades after the Cold War, the world continues to face threats, such as the widening North-South gap, the refugee problem and terrorism. In many Western countries, populism is so rampant that the people there have not only refused to allow refugees into their countries but are also demonizing them. And their politicians have failed to resolve the issue because they don't want to antagonize their voters.

The CPC has a long-term perspective on nation building. Instead of considering the narrow interests of only China, it balances national and international interests. President Xi Jinping's concept of a "community of shared destiny for humankind" has been incorporated in a United Nations resolution, while the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative offers a win-win solution to all. China has already become a major defender and promoter of globalization.

In other words, socialism with Chinese characteristics may not be a perfect system, but it has proved superior to other political systems, and has served the people much better than Western-style democracy.

The author is an associate professor of Marxism studies at Tsinghua University.

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