Diplomats appreciate China's whole-process democracy

China Daily Updated: 2024-05-06

A number of diplomats have appreciated China's extensive level of participation and diverse platforms to fulfill democracy, underscoring that every democratic model should be respected.

They made the remarks during a recent visit to a Legislative Outreach Office in Beijing's Chaoyang district, where they observed a fundamental step in lawmaking and met with deputies to people's congresses.

The district has established 43 such offices — which act as a bridge between the public and lawmakers — to more efficiently solicit opinions and suggestions on legislation from all walks of life.

During their visit in late April, the ambassadors and diplomats from 36 countries witnessed the collecting of opinions on the Law on Deputies to the National People's Congress and Local People's Congresses, and discussed how the office works with legislators at national, provincial, city and county levels.

Anne Lafortune, the ambassador of the Seychelles to China, said she was impressed by China's diverse ways for people to express their opinions.

Regarding the visit as a good platform to learn firsthand about China's legislation process, she pointed out that the process shows the commitment of the Chinese government to meet the needs and aspiration of the grassroots people.

"Also, I was impressed by the different ways for people to be able to voice their opinions, such as through deputies, online platforms or calls, which reflects China is committed in making sure its people's voice can be heard," she added.

Michael Campbell, Nicaragua's ambassador to China, expressed his excitement to have an opportunity to see China's whole-process people's democracy at the grassroots level, saying that he was impressed by the diversity of participants in making laws.

On that day, those who exchanged opinions on the bill were not only officials from the standing committee of the district's people's congress and NPC, China's top legislature, but also included deputies from universities, hospitals and law firms.

"Everybody was debating on the same bill that will eventually go to the upper level," he said. "By the time the bill reaches the national level, it already has the opinions and suggestions from all walks of life. So when it's finally approved, everybody is willing to implement it."

He highlighted the importance of diversity in promoting democracy, adding that greater participation of each sector, such as women and young people, makes decisions more creative in policies, regulations and norms.

In March, Campbell was invited to attend the annual full session of the NPC, where he read multiple work reports by China's central leadership.

"I can see that these reports actually came from the grassroots level."

He noted that the "Western model of democracy" is not the only definition of democracy, stressing "each country has to decide what is most appropriate for them based on their cultures, traditions and needs".

One of the most important things about China is that it respects the democratic models of other countries, he said, while Western democracy is promoting interventionism, warmongering and false narratives.

Lafortune from the Seychelles said that she was aware of China's whole-process people's democracy, but has never seen it up close as she did during the visit.

She emphasized that every country can see its own way to approach democracy, adding that "China is moving forward, and its democratic model, obviously, works for it."

Abu Bakarr Karim, the ambassador of Sierra Leone to China, said that what impressed him most was the level of expertise in China's legislation, adding that he would like to communicate with legislators in his country about his observations and discuss whether they can learn more from it.

China has people's congresses at the national, provincial, city, county and township levels, with about 2.77 million deputies elected to the five levels of legislative bodies in 2022, according to a release from the NPC Standing Committee.

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