Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Chinese Communists Criticize US Democracy Ahead of Biden Summit

BEIJING (AP) – The Chinese Communist Party challenged American democracy on Saturday, sharply criticizing next week’s Global Democracy Summit by President Joe Biden and extolling the virtues of its system of government.

Party officials wondered how a polarized country that failed in its response to COVID-19 could lecture to others, and said attempts to force others to copy the Western democratic model were “doomed to fail.”

The harsh rhetoric reflects the growing clash of values ​​that has come to the fore as China becomes a world power. The question is whether the United States and other leading democracies can peacefully coexist with a powerful authoritarian state that is at odds with the Western model that triumphed at the end of the Cold War.

The pandemic has exposed flaws in the American system, said Tian Peiyang, deputy director of the Communist Party’s Research Bureau. He blamed the high U.S. death toll from COVID-19 on political wrangling and a divided government from highest to lowest.

“This kind of democracy does not bring happiness to voters, but disaster,” he said at a press conference on the release of a government report on what the Communist Party calls its form of democracy, which is firmly under the control of the party.

Neither China nor Russia are among the roughly 110 governments that have been invited to Biden’s two-day virtual Summit for Democracy, which starts Thursday, and will focus on strengthening democracy, protecting against authoritarianism, corruption and human rights.

The involvement of Taiwan, a self-governing democracy that China says should be under its rule, has further angered Beijing.

Relations between the US and China remain strained despite a virtual summit between Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping last month. The American president has repeatedly highlighted his differences with China in his broader call for the United States and its allies to demonstrate that democracies can offer humanity a better path to progress than autocracies.

The Communist Party has ruled China alone since 1949. She claims that differing views are reflected through advisory bodies and elected village and local committees, but suppresses much of the public criticism through censorship and sometimes arrest.

The party argues that strong central leadership is necessary to maintain stability in a sprawling country torn by divisions and wars for centuries.

“In such a large country with 56 ethnic groups and more than 1.4 billion people, if there is no party leadership … and we support the so-called democracy of the West, it will be easy to screw things up and democracy will work. – on the contrary, – said Tian.

China has been accused of mass imprisonment, torture and other human rights abuses as it tightens control over ethnic communities in its remote western regions of Tibet and Xinjiang. The party denies the charges and claims it is stamping out extremism and separatist movements.

The recent difficulties faced by some Western democracies have given the leaders of the Communist Party more confidence in their system as they try to turn China into a global power. State media frequently cite the chaos of the US Capitol revolt following the last presidential election. The report released on Saturday said that “today’s world is facing the challenges of over-democracy.”

Chinese officials often accuse the United States and others of using democracy as a front to try to quell China’s rise, an accusation repeated at a press conference by Xu Lin, vice minister of the party’s information department.

“The United States calls itself the ‘leader of democracy’, organizes and manipulates the so-called Summit for Democracy,” he said. “In fact, it suppresses and hinders countries with different social systems and development models in the name of democracy.”

Xu called it undemocratic that others are demanding their own form of democracy, claiming that they themselves have a controversial reputation.

“Their internal governance is flawed, but they point the finger at other democracies and criticize them,” he said. “Is this the democracy they advertise?”


Associated Press author Amer Madhani of Washington DC contributed to this report.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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