By Zhong Sheng
The Chinese Foreign Ministry recently issued a report titled “The State of Democracy in the United States” on its website. The 15,000-word report, enumerating facts, statistics and the observations of experts, takes stock of the alienation and three malaises of democracy in the U.S. It came right on time for all the people that care about human progress.
Democracy is a fruit of the development of human civilization, and a common value shared by all humanity. However, over the years, the U.S., despite the structural flaws and problematic practice of its democratic system, has claimed itself as the “model of democracy.” It has incessantly interfered in other countries’ internal affairs and waged wars under the guise of “democracy”, creating regional turbulence and humanitarian disasters. What the country has done is a humiliation to democracy, a word that should sound delightful.
The dust raised by the assault on the Capitol has not been totally dispelled, and the desperate plea of George Floyd is still resonating. From Iraq to Libya, and from Syria to Afghanistan, the awful mess created by the U.S. export of “democracy” is still hurting the world.
However, the U.S. turns a blind eye to such facts and is shamelessly planning the so-called Summit for Democracy, trying to act a “godfather of democracy” and provoke separation and confrontation with ideological differences.
The issuance of “The State of Democracy in the United States” is particularly necessary as it reveals the hypocritical and hegemonic essence of the U.S. democracy.
The report helps the world better understand democracy. It clearly explains what democracy is and who should define it. Democracy is not an adornment or publicity stunt; rather, it is meant to be used to solve problems faced by the people. To judge whether a country is democratic, it is important to see whether its people run their own country. There is no perfect system of democracy in the world, nor is there a political system that fits all countries.
Democracy is sacred and should not be privatized, labeled or politicized. People from all countries enjoy the right to achieve democracy in a way that fits their own national conditions. Whether a country is democratic should be judged and determined by its own people, not by a minority of self-righteous outsiders.
The report uncovers false information about the U.S. democracy which was previously sugarcoated by American politicians. Indeed, the American-style democracy is not as good as what they have claimed.
The U.S. brand of democracy, under a fancy disguise, is haunted by three malaises. Its system is fraught with deep-seated problems; the U.S. democratic practices are messy and chaotic; and the U.S. export of its own democracy is leading to disastrous consequences.
Whether the U.S. is still a democratic country? That’s a question raised by many around the world, including Americans. Obviously, the U.S. democracy has long been knocked off its pedestal and is no longer a model for the world. The U.S., resorting to the “value-based diplomacy” under the guise of the so-called democracy and making international relations ideological, is posing threats against world peace and democracy.
The report helps the world seek common ground while reserving differences. Diversification is a trend of the world, and there are more than one way to achieve democracy. All countries need to rise above differences in systems, reject the mentality of zero-sum game, and pursue genuine multilateralism. All countries need to uphold peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, which are common values of humanity. It is also important that all countries respect each other, work to expand common ground while shelving differences, promote cooperation for mutual benefit, and jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind.
Any attempt to push for a single or absolute model of democracy, use democracy as an instrument or weapon in international relations, or advocate bloc politics and bloc confrontation will be a breach of the common values of humanity. When all countries can live and thrive in diversity, the world will be a better place.
The U.S. is no longer a “beacon of democracy,” but it refuses to accept that. Opinionated selling of the so-called American democracy will only cause more troubles for the world and traumatize democracy. The U.S. should take extra lessons of democracy. Just as the report says in the beginning, it is hoped that the U.S. will improve its own system and practices of democracy and change its way of interacting with other countries. This is in the interest of not only the American people, but also the people of other countries.
(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy and international affairs.)