China Leadership Monitor

Democracy Is a Good Thing

Friday, October 5, 2007

Over the past several months there has been a vigorous discussion about democracy in China. Some of this discussion has been undertaken by well-connected, policy-oriented intellectuals, while other parts of the discussion have been conducted by liberal intellectuals who appear to have little policy impact. The Chinese Communist Party leadership, including Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, has, in general terms, endorsed continuing to implement various forms of “inner-party democracy.” Although such calls should be welcomed, they come at an odd time—just as the change of leading cadres at the local levels has come to a conclusion. The discussion on democracy may promote more experimentation at the local level, but the Party center has been firm on the importance of “democratic centralism” and “scientific socialism”—not democratic socialism.