David Ferguson: China’s political system is aimed at modernising the country
The National People’s Congress is the core of the country’s political system
David Ferguson, a senior translation editor from Foreign Languages Press, spoke about the authorities’ efforts to modernise China at the Understanding China conference organised by the China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy.
The expert’s commentary is quoted by the South African internet portal
DepiMedia, a partner of TV BRICS, with reference to the CGTN Opinion Section special project:
The People’s Congress is the core of China’s political system, and most people in the West are completely unaware of how it works. Initially, at the local constituency level, citizens elect elect electors who participate in a second round of elections at the provincial level, and party affiliation is not required.
The country has universal suffrage where everyone has the right to vote and it is a secret ballot. Everyone in China has the right to vote in the first level of people’s congresses. And then each subsequent level of congress is also elected by the lower level.
It’s a very good system because it means that the people who vote for the higher level members are the ones who see the candidates on a daily basis and who can best judge their abilities and qualities.
Structurally, the National People’s Congress is very representative. It does not bypass representatives from different localities, different ethnic minorities, all walks of life and social groups.
Another element of fundamental importance is the legislature. The purpose of the legislature is to translate the strategic thinking of the Communist Party of China (CPC) into actual bills and laws.
One of the most important aspects of this process is that every Chinese citizen has the constitutional right to participate in the discussion of proposed laws, to make suggestions, and to comment on them. The legislature is obliged to take these opinions and suggestions into account. Moreover, some proposals put forward by individual citizens have already been adopted during the legislative process.
One of the key words of this year’s National People’s Congress is continuity. Continuity is one of the strengths of the Chinese system, which manifests itself in stability, order and long-term planning.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has set the achievement of the second centennial goal of turning the country into a great, modern socialist state as the main task for the future, and many measures, initiatives, strategies and policies are already being implemented.
With regard to the people’s democratic process, the structure of the National People’s Congress is a key factor.
These strengths of China’s political system will help the country achieve Chinese modernisation. The five concepts of development – cooperative, green innovation, coordinated and open development – are important for this.
Rural revitalisation also plays a very important role. Previously, China had an important strategy to fight poverty. This meant raising the living standards of 100 million people who were still living in absolute poverty. And clearly, China has completed this grand project.
As a small example of how local governments are working to implement Chinese modernisation in rural China, the Chinese government has set up a whole network of e-commerce outlets in villages. In the past, farmers in remote villages could produce excellent products but had no access to markets. Now, through these e-commerce centres, they can reach out to the whole of China and even international buyers, and product delivery can be ensured through improved logistics and infrastructure.
Green development also plays a role. For example, one company is building small solar power plants in villages across China, connecting them to the national grid and paying for the electricity. Solar power plants are also useful in rural areas, as the area under the panels is very convenient for growing mushrooms or raising livestock.
Rural revival is the next step after poverty alleviation in China’s modernisation drive, which aims to ensure the country’s further development and prosperity.
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