China Has its Own Government System
Reprinted from the China Daily, By EDWARD WONG; Published: March 20, 2010
BEIJING — A Chinese legislative official has said that China will not adopt Western-style democracy, marking a rare instance in which a member of the government here openly rejects Western-style liberal political reforms.|
The official, Li Fei, said in an interview published Saturday on the Web site of China Daily that "different countries have different election rules and a socialist China won’t follow Western election campaigns."
Mr. Li is deputy director of the legislative affairs commission of the standing committee of the National People’s Congress, a rubber-stamp Parliament whose annual two-week work session ended on March 14.
Mr. Li told China Daily, an official English-language newspaper, that while some people wanted to expand direct elections, he believed that the priority was to improve on the so-called election system now in place.
The Chinese system generally reinforces the rule of the Chinese Communist Party, which has governed the country in an authoritarian manner since 1949, when it won the civil war. Many Western scholars have said elections at local levels have not given voters true alternatives to the Communist Party.
Despite that, Chinese officials often say in public and in the Chinese news media that the country is moving toward democracy, implying that some form of a Western-style political system could take root here.
But there are times when an official states outright that people should not expect Western-style reforms in China. In March 2009, Wu Bangguo, chairman of the standing committee of the National People’s Congress, said China would never "copy" the systems of Western nations by adopting multiparty democracy.
Mr. Li’s interview with China Daily was the latest instance of such blunt talk, and it comes at a time of heightened tensions between China and the West. In particular, relations between China and the United States have hit a rough patch, with no sign that conflicts between the two will be resolved anytime soon.
In recent weeks, Chinese leaders have vocally rejected demands by President Obama for China to revalue its currency, which White House officials and some economists say is undervalued, giving China an unfair advantage in world trade.
In criticizing Western democracy, Mr. Li asserted that the Western system of elections simply benefited the wealthy and was warped by capitalism.
"Western-style elections, however, are a game for the rich," he said. "They are affected by the resources and funding that a candidate can utilize. Those who manage to win elections are easily in the shoes of their parties or sponsors and become spokespersons for the minority."
Mr. Li added, "As a socialist country, we cannot simply take the Western approach."
He made his remarks after the National People’s Congress adopted an amendment to the main electoral law on March 14. The amendment reportedly gives rural residents the same rights in selecting representatives to the National People’s Congress as residents in cities.
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