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China issues 1st white paper on democracy
Updated: 2005-10-19 10:48

The Information Office of China's State Council issued Wednesday a white paper on China's political democracy (full text) , vowing to actively push forward the reforms of its political system although, it said, tremendous achievements had been scored in this regard.

The white paper, issued by the Information Office of China's State Council, or the cabinet, is the first of its kind in China, giving a detailed account of the inception, development and contents of the socialist political democracy and the principles the country will abide by.

The document, titled Building of Political Democracy in China, also points out the problems the country has to overcome and major steps to be taken in the reforms of its political system.

The socialist political democracy "is the apt choice suited to China's conditions and meeting the requirement of social progress," said the white paper.

Such democracy has enabled the Chinese people, who account for one fifth of the world's population, "to become masters of their own country and society, and enjoy extensive democratic rights, " the white paper says.

In building socialist political democracy, China has always adhered to the basic principle that the Marxist theory of democracy be combined with the reality of China, it says.

In the process, China has also borrowed from the useful achievements of the political civilization of mankind, including Western democracy, and assimilated the democratic elements of fromChina's traditional culture and institutional civilization.

"Therefore, China's socialist political democracy shows distinctive Chinese characteristics," says the white paper.

Such characteristics are as follows:

-- China's democracy is a people's democracy under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

-- China's democracy is a democracy in which the overwhelming majority of the people act as masters of State affairs.

-- China's democracy is a democracy guaranteed by the people's democratic dictatorship.

-- China's democracy is a democracy with democratic centralism as the basic organizational principle and mode of operation.

The white paper says the CPC's leading status was established gradually in the protracted struggle and practice of the Chinese people in pursuing national independence, prosperity and a happy life.

"It was a choice made by history and by the people," the document notes.

Over the past 20 years and more, great progress has been made in China's practice in building a socialist democratic political system, the white paper says, providing a list of the achievements.

It points to the fact that the system of the people's congresses, the system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC, and the system of regional autonomy for ethnic minorities -- all important components of China's democratic system -- have been continuously improved and developed.

The democratic rights of people at the grassroots level in urban and rural areas have been constantly increased, and the citizens' basic rights are respected and guaranteed.

The CPC's capability to rule the country in a democratic mannerhas been enhanced further, while the government's capability to administer the country in a democratic manner has been strengthened noticeably.

"Major aspects of China's politics, economics, culture and social life are now within the purview of the rule of law," says the white paper.

"Despite the tremendous achievements scored in building a socialist political democracy, the CPC and the Chinese people are clearly aware of the many problems yet to be overcome," the document notes.

The major ones include: the democratic system is not yet perfect; the people's right to manage state and social affairs, economic and cultural undertakings as masters of the country in a socialist market economy are not yet fully realized; laws that have already been enacted are sometimes not fully observed or enforced, and violations of the law sometimes go unpunished.

The white paper also admits that "bureaucracy and corruption still exist and spread in some departments and localities."

It also points out that the mechanism of restraint and supervision over the use of power needs further improvement and the concept of democracy and legal awareness of the whole of Chinese society needs to be further enhanced.

"There is still a long way to go in China's building of political democracy, which will be a historical process of continuous improvement and development," says the white paper.

According to the document, at present, and for a period in the days to come, the CPC and the Chinese government "will actively and steadily push forward the reform of the political system."

They will also stick to and improve the socialist democratic system, strengthen and improve the socialist legal system, reform and improve the methods of leadership and rule of the CPC, reform and improve the government's decision-making mechanism.

The white paper also stresses the importance of the reform of the system of administrative management, the reform of the judicial system, the reform of the cadre and personnel system, andthe restraint and supervision over the power.

According to the white paper, China's building of political democracy will abide by the following principles:

-- Upholding the unity of the leadership of the CPC, the people being the masters of the country and ruling the country by law.

-- Giving play to the characteristics and advantages of the socialist system.

-- Being conducive to social stability, economic development and continuous improvement of the people's life.

-- Facilitating the safeguarding of national sovereignty, territorial integrity and state dignity.

-- Being in accord with the objective law of progress step by step and in an orderly way.

The white paper consists of 12 parts, including the people's congress system, the system of ethnic regional autonomy, grassroots democracy in urban and rural areas, and respecting and safeguarding human rights.

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