Online Side-event of the 49th Session of the Human Rights Council “Practise Democracy Based on National Conditions, Respect the Right to Choose a Democratic Model” Successfully Held

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 On March 23, United Nations Association of China (UNA-China) hosted an online side-event of the 49th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council entitled Practise Democracy Based on National Conditions, Respect the Right to Choose a Democratic Model. Mr. WANG Chao, President of Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs and President of UNA-China addressed the opening session. Vice-President and Director-General of UNA-China Ms. HU Wenli chaired the meeting and made concluding remarks. Former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan Amb. Riaz Hussain Khokhar, President of Center for New Inclusive Asia Mr. Koh King Kee, Associate Professor of Universidade Estadual Paulista of Brazil Mr. Marcos Cordeiro Pires, Senior Fellow of Center for China and Globalization, Former Vice President of ABC News Mr. Harvey Dzodin, President of Washington Institute for Peace and Development, Former Senior Professional Staff Member of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Mr. Clifford A Kiracofe, Deputy Director of Institute of Philosophy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) Prof. Feng Yanli, Professor of Department of Culture and History Studies, National Academy of Governance Mr. Liu Dongchao, Director of Unit of Marxism Phylogeny, Academy of Marxism, CASS Prof. Sun Yingshuai, Founder and Chairman of One Country Two Systems Youth Forum,Former Political Assistant to the Secretary for Development of HKSAR Government Dr. Henry Ho Kin-chung attended the meeting and delivered keynote speeches.  

        In his opening speech, President WANG Chao said that democracy is the common value of all mankind, but the practice of democracy is rich and diverse. No democratic system in the world is perfect, and there is no political system model applicable to all countries. What kind of democratic form and path a country chooses depends on its own economic foundation, productivity development level, cultural and historical environment. The establishment of democratic systems and the development of democratic processes in all countries have their historical and national characteristics and have their own unique values. Whether a country is democratic or not should be judged by the people of the country. It should be measured by the practical effect and people's feelings, rather than by a few outsiders. The international community should conduct exchanges and dialogues on democracy on the basis of mutual respect and equality, so as to jointly make greater contributions to the progress of all mankind.
        President WANG Chao stressed that the whole-process people's democracy is a great creation of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in uniting and leading the people to pursue, develop and realize democracy. It is a practice of the people running the country. It condenses the historical experience of the CPC's hundred years of development, has a profound practical foundation and broad development prospects. It is wholeheartedly supported by the people and proved to be workable and effective in China. Moreover, it integrates process democracy with results-based democracy, procedural democracy with substantive democracy, direct democracy with indirect democracy, and people's democracy with the will of the state. It is a full-chain, all-dimensional and all-encompassing democracy. China's achievements in development and the exploration and practice of the value of democracy have expanded and brought forth new understandings and recognition of democracy, enriched and developed human political civilization, provided reference for and injected confidence in other countries in their pursuits of development path suitable for their national conditions. It is China's new contribution to democratic theory and democratic politics.

        The participants said democracy is a historical concept, which is closely related to the political, economic, cultural and religious conditions of various countries, and is still being explored and improved. There is no universal democratic template in the world. Every country has the right to independently choose and formulate its own form of political power organization, governance and operation. The promotion of democracy should be based on the principles of respecting the sovereignty of all countries and non-interference in their internal affairs. The whole-process people's democracy ensures the extensive participation of people from all walks of life in social governance and decision-making, and conforms to the reality of Chinese society. Therefore, it is more representative and dynamic. China has made unprecedented achievements in development, poverty reduction, human rights and the response to COVID-19. China is a well-deserved winner in developing democracy and promoting human rights.
        Western style democracy is far from an insurmountable standard. Since the establishment of modern western democratic system, political rights have been linked to certain identities such as wealth and class. Its inherent defects such as inadequate representation, unfair distribution of representation, aggravated division, deliberation without decision, winner-take-all and money politics have been constantly exposed. To equate election politics and party politics with democracy is to oversimplify the definition of democracy. Acts such as monopolizing the definition of democracy and imposing Western-style democratic system on other countries by means of regime subversion have greatly undermined the democratization of international relations. Inciting ideological opposition is political manipulation. The opposition between so-called "democracy" and "authoritarianism" is a continuation of the Cold War mentality and bloc politics. It aims to artificially divide the international community into opposing groups, greatly damages the common interests of mankind and is doomed to a dead end. The United Nations advocates the spirit of inclusiveness and upholds multiculturalism. The UN should be supported in playing a central role and always be at the core of the rules-based international order. To this end, the UN should continue to reform and play a strengthened role in respecting differences and promoting equity and justice.

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