Democracy, China, and Xi Jinping
President Xi Jinping said “democracy is not a decoration” yesterday as he delivered a speech to the government’s political advisers on his approach to developing China’s consultative political institution.
Speaking at the 65th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Xi called for building a practical political system to embody “consultative democracy”, one that included all levels of society.
“Democracy is defined not only by people’s right to vote in an election but also the right to participate in political affairs on a daily basis,” Xinhua quoted Xi as saying. “Democracy is not a decoration … it’s for solving people’s problems.”
Democracy in China
A new political science study that’s gone viral finds that majority-rule democracy exists only in theory in the United States — not so much in practice. The government caters to the affluent few and organized interest groups, the researchers find, while the average citizen’s influence on policy is “near zero.”
“[T]he preferences of economic elites,” conclude Princeton’s Martin Gilens and Northwestern’s Benjamin I. Page, who work with the nonprofit Scholars Strategy Network, “have far more independent impact upon policy change than the preferences of average citizens do.”
Interview with Now-President Xi Jinping, Summer, 2000
(Xi Jinping at the time was 47 years old and governor in the Fujian province and Yang Xiaohuai was the editor of Zhonghua Ernü).
Xi Jinping: Welcome here. I have previously said no thank you to personal interviews innumerable times. We all have different tasks. If you do not mention everybody, then you are only emphasizing yourself. You can also put it differently: When we are all doing our duty within our respective area of responsibility, then it is the community that creates the results. Therefore it makes no sense mentioning the individual. That is the reason why I have refused giving personal interviews. There are also people who write autobiographies. I do not do that either.