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China's Communists Bash US Democracy   12/04 08:41

   China's Communist Party took American democracy to task on Saturday, sharply 
criticizing a global democracy summit being hosted by President Joe Biden next 
week and extolling the virtues of its governing system.

   BEIJING (AP) -- China's Communist Party took American democracy to task on 
Saturday, sharply criticizing a global democracy summit being hosted by 
President Joe Biden next week and extolling the virtues of its governing system.

   Party officials questioned how a polarized country that botched its response 
to COVID-19 could lecture others, and said that efforts to force others to copy 
the Western democratic model are "doomed to fail."

   The harsh rhetoric reflects a growing clash of values that has been thrust 
into the spotlight as China rises as a global power. The question is whether 
the United States and other leading democracies can peacefully co-exist with a 
powerful authoritarian state whose actions are at odds with the Western model 
that emerged victorious at the end of the Cold War.

   The pandemic exposed defects in the American system, said Tian Peiyan, the 
deputy director of the Communist Party's Policy Research Office. He blamed the 
high COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. on political disputes and a divided 
government from the highest to the lowest levels.

   "Such democracy brings not happiness but disaster to voters," he said at a 
news conference to release a government report on what the Communist Party 
calls its form of democracy, which is firmly under party control.

   Neither China nor Russia are among about 110 governments that have been 
invited to Biden's two-day virtual "Summit for Democracy," which starts 
Thursday and will address strengthening democracy, defending against 
authoritarianism, corruption and human rights.

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

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

   The Communist Party has ruled China single-handedly since 1949. It says that 
various views are reflected through consultative bodies and elected village and 
residents committees, but silences most public criticism with censorship and 
sometimes arrest.

   The party argues that strong central leadership is needed to maintain 
stability in a sprawling country that has been riven by division and war over 
the 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 uphold the so-called 
democracy of the West, it will be easy to mess things up and democracy will 
work the opposite way," Tian said.

   China has been accused of mass incarceration, torture and other human rights 
violations as it enforces control over ethnic communities in its remote western 
regions of Tibet and Xinjiang. The party rejects the accusations and says it is 
rooting out extremism and separatist movements.

   The recent difficulties faced by some Western democracies have given 
Communist Party leaders more confidence in their system as they try to build 
China into a global power. State media often cite the chaos of the insurrection 
at the U.S. Capitol after the last presidential election. The report issued 
Saturday said "today's world is facing challenges of excessive democracy."

   Chinese officials frequently accuse the U.S. and others of using democracy 
as a cover to try to suppress China's rise, a charge echoed at the news 
conference by Xu Lin, the vice minister of the party's publicity department.

   "The U.S. calls itself a 'leader of democracy' and organizes and manipulates 
the so-called Summit for Democracy," he said. "In fact, it cracks down and 
hampers countries with different social systems and development models in the 
name of democracy."

   Xu called it undemocratic for others to demand their form of democracy, 
saying they have a mixed track record themselves.

   "Their domestic governance is messed up, but they point fingers at and 
criticize other democracies," he said. "Is this the democracy they advertised?"

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