Voice
Democracy Summit: Undemocratic mentality and practices
By Shakeel Ahmad Ramay  ·  2021-12-10  ·   Source: China Focus

Democracy in essence is guarantor of inclusiveness, equal opportunities, and respect for diversity. It strives to ensure dignity and peaceful coexistence. Thus, democracy is considered the fundamental human right and need of every human being to grow and live in a peaceful environment. Human history and historical events also point towards the same direction.

Although it is universal good, every nation and society defines democracy according to their own beliefs and values. The nations try to mold the democracy to serve the people in the context of national conditions, values and beliefs. Along human history, we can find many models of democracy including Greece model, Roman model, Islamic model, and Chinese model of democracy.

However, in the present world, the Western model of democracy revolves around the concepts and theories which were originated from Western values and norms. It has been presented as the most “sophisticated” form of democracy which cares for inclusiveness, equal opportunities, and respect for diversity. The West has been insisting rather than compelling other nations to buy the Western brand of democracy, which is not a healthy or fair practice. They have started to categorize nations on the basis of Western standards. Recently, they have initiated a campaign to malign other nations in the name of democracy. Although the concepts and theories follow the historical values and norms, the practices vary according to the needs and preferences of the Western world. It does not cater for the needs and values of other nations.

Afghan children play at an internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, on November 20, 2021. (Photo/Xinhua)

Nowadays, economic dimension has become the most prominent feature of Western democracy at the cost of society. Economic interests have become so powerful that the Western world does not hesitate to attack nations under the disguise of democracy. The United States in collaboration with its allies has launched numerous attacks on different countries by means of economic sanctions and wars. The list of wars is long and scary. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria are the most recent examples. Owning to these wars, millions of people in these countries have become refugees and been left to starve. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people have been killed during the process of “the US helping build democracy”.

On the other side, economic sanctions have been used to reach the desired purposes. Economic sanctions can be seen as a slow poisoning. When using economic sanctions on people’s livelihood, the West does not care for any democracy of the people who suffer from it leave alone the human rights, rights of women and children. We can find many examples from reality and still many countries are under western economic sanctions. Western powers also use economic sanctions to contain the rise of any other nation.

Howbeit, the worst side of Western-style democracy is that it does not tolerate any other type or model of democracy and China is the latest example in this respect. China has its own model of democracy, which has been built on the concepts and theories of inclusiveness, equal opportunities, respect for dignity and prosperity of society. China calls it “whole-process people’s democracy”, which is different from the Western electoral democracy. China defines it as: it is a continuous process and involves every individual of the society without any discrimination on ethnicity. The goals of Chinese whole-process democracy are to achieve good governance, equality and dignity of people and prosperity of society. China puts the prosperity and well-being of people as a fundamental human right. These features are the essential ingredients of democracy, but the West is not satisfied with this.

Aerial photo taken on August 26, 2021 shows a view of Xincang Village of Haining City in Jiaxing, east China’s Zhejiang Province. (Photo/Xinhua)

They are not in a mood to accept it as democracy. The West terms it as autocracy or authoritarian system to label it on the opposite side of democracy. China once a poverty-ridden country is now a poverty-free country with better living standards for Chinese people. China is also leading the race for innovation and stepping forward to common prosperity. It is now the second-largest economy and leading the path to the fourth industrial revolution. It is on the way to becoming the largest economy in the world and this is the real problem for Western countries.

They feel China is a threat to their centuries-long hegemony and their control over the world. They feel China is helping developing countries to break the shackles of poverty and debt trap woven by Western countries and institutions. The Western countries are unable to compete with China. Thus, they have introduced the slogan of democracy to contain the rise of China. The US once again is leading the campaign. Biden administration has called the “summit on democracy”. The structure and agenda of the summit show that it is against the basic spirit of democracy for multiple reasons.

Photo taken on April 14, 2020 shows containers at the Lianyungang Port in Lianyungang City, east China’s Jiangsu Province. (Photo/Xinhua)

First, it is exclusive. Washington only invites a limited number of countries. The exclusion of other systems and countries means that it does not care for diversity. Second, business elites have been specially invited but common people are missing from the invitation list. Besides, business community is predominately from the selected countries. Third, civil society has been invited but again from the selected countries. Civil society from poor countries is not represented properly. Fourth, it seems that the focus will be on the economic interests of the private sector and democracy and human rights will only be used as a smokescreen. Fifth, it is targeting China in the name of democracy, but the real objective is to contain the rise of China. It is against the spirit of equal opportunities and respect for the dignity of other nations.

Thus, it is expected that the summit will polarize the world and new blocks will emerge. It is a bad sign, as the world direly needs cooperation and joint efforts to tackle the issues of pandemic, climate change, food insecurity, shortage of water, and energy. It is well-established fact that no country will be able to tackle these issues alone. The sane voices across the world are demanding the US and its allies to leave these ugly practices and join hands with all countries of the world.

China is a strong advocate of cooperation and unity and has put forth the idea of building the community with a shared future for mankind. It will be a win-win proposition that is needed at this point of time. Let’s hope sanity will prevail for the good.

The author is Chief Executive Officer of Asian Institute of Ecocivilization, Pakistan.

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