By Li Laifang
As crises and chaos swamp Western liberal democracy, it may be instructive to examine the "Chinese democracy" and ask how the system which sets the current standards for development and progress measures up.
The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is a good chance to analyze the unique socialist organization from historical and global perspectives.
Every five years CPC delegates meet to draw up the strategy for both Party and country in the lustrum to come. This year, the primary objective is "Xiaokang," the first centenary goal.
A mere three years into the future, the establishment of a moderately prosperous society in 2020 will be the culmination of 100 years of work by the CPC.
The second century goal to commemorate the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 will see the fulfillment of the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.
The CPC consulted with eight other non-Communist parties and prominent figures without party affiliation in August when opinion and advice were canvassed on a draft report to the congress.
This well-established practice of institutional consultation is just one of the ways the CPC ensures the democratic nature of decision-making.
This CPC-led multiparty cooperation and consultation system, an entirely new type of political system inaugurated in 1949, is very different from the two-party and multiparty systems in Western countries or the one-party system practiced in some others.
Unlike competitive, confrontational Western politics, the CPC and non-Communist parties cooperate with each other, working together for the advancement of socialism and striving to improve the people's standard of living.
The relationship maintains political stability and social harmony and ensures efficient policy making and implementation. As the leading party, the CPC takes advice from other parties on major policies, plans, revisions to the law and other matters, allowing members of other parties to hold official posts.
Institutionalized consultative democracy is important in China, whose basic political systems also include the people's congresses and self-governance at the grassroots level such as village committees.
The Chinese system leads to social unity rather than the divisions which come as an unavoidable consequence of the adversarial nature of Western democracy today.
Endless political backbiting, bickering and policy reversals, which make the hallmarks of liberal democracy, have retarded economic and social progress and ignored the interests of most citizens.
The Constitution of the People's Republic of China states that "the multiparty cooperation and political consultation system under the leadership of the Communist Party of China shall continue to exist and develop for a long time to come."
In parliamentary or presidential politics, parties obtain their legitimacy in turn through ballot boxes, causing frequent regime change and often a complete about-face in policy. What progress has been made is often lost and inefficiency reigns.
At 96 years old, the CPC with 89 million members represents the interests of the majority of the people and is dedicated to serving the people, with people-centered development deeply rooted in Party culture.
The diversity of the Party is clearly demonstrated by the extensive representation of different walks of life among the more than 2,200 delegates to the national congress.
As parties in the West increasingly represent special interest groups and social strata, capitalist democracy becomes more oligarchic in nature. The cracks are beginning to show, with many eccentric or unexpected results in recent plebiscites.
Under the leadership of a sober-minded, forward-looking CPC, Chinese-style democracy has never been healthier and China has absolutely no need to import the failing party political systems of other countries.
After several hundred years, the Western model is showing its age. It is high time for profound reflection on the ills of a doddering democracy which has precipitated so many of the world's ills and solved so few. If Western democracy is not to collapse completely it must be revitalized, reappraised and rebooted.
The CPC has led the nation to unparalleled growth and staggering achievements, particularly in the reduction of poverty. It may be fairly described as a transformational miracle, bringing prosperity and optimism that were unimaginable a mere four decades ago.
After five years of intensive reform, an unprecedented anti-corruption campaign, and the maturation of rule of law, a confident CPC, remaining true to its founding tenets, is set fair to keep the country on the right course "for a long time to come."