2nd int'l forum on democracy concludes in Beijing
By Lu Dong
People's Daily app

A general view of the venue for the Second International Forum on Democracy: The Shared Human Values in Beijing, China, March 23, 2023. (Photo: People's Daily/Lu Dong)

Beijing (People's Daily) - An international forum on democracy has concluded in Beijing on Thursday after world experts and scholars held in-depth discussions on the subject.

The second edition of the forum named "International Forum on Democracy: The Shared Human Values" opened in the Chinese capital on Wednesday with about 200 senior politicians and scholars from over 100 countries, regions and international organizations taking part in the event and criticizing hegemonic narratives on democracy.

Running from March 22 to 23, the forum explored the essence of democracy from five perspectives: democracy and sustainable development, democracy and innovation, democracy and global governance, democracy and the diversity of human civilization and democracy and the path to modernization.

Li Shulei, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, made a keynote speech during the opening ceremony.

Noting that democracy is a relentless commitment of the CPC and the Chinese people, Li said that whole-process people's democracy is the essence of a Chinese path to modernization. He also emphasized that China does not only promote democracy in its domestic affairs, but also stay true to democratic principles in international affairs as Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the concept of building a community with a shared future for mankind ten years ago.

An agenda booklet is displayed at the Second International Forum on Democracy: The Shared Human Values in Beijing, China, March 23, 2023. (Photo: People's Daily/Lu Dong)

Attendees agreed that democracy is a shared value of mankind and a significant symbol of the progress of human civilization but no form of democracy is superior to another.

They hold the consensus that there is no universal formula of democracy and that countries around the world should develop democratic politics suited to their own national conditions.

"The more the United States talks about democracy on the basis of values, the complex between China and the United States will become more acute," former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama warned while addressing the forum via video link.

He was referring to the China-US tensions when making the remarks and called for efforts to overcome differences in values and return to a state of "friendship and love."

A view of the venue for the Second International Forum on Democracy: The Shared Human Values in Beijing, China, March 23, 2023. (Photo: People's Daily/Lu Dong)

Yonas Adaye Adeto, commissioner of Ethiopian National Dialogue commission, told a parallel session that democracy is diverse and context-specific and "one-size-fits-all" approach does not work when it comes to democracy as a system of governance.

He then, from an African perspective, noted the fundamental differences between African culture and Western culture, saying that the meaning of democracy in Africa is embedded in the continent's theory of knowledge and underscored the need to discard a biased view on societal structures of African countries.

According to a polling report on China's democratic practices and modernization that was launched during the closing ceremony of the forum, among 9660 respondents distributed in 23 countries across the world, as many as 94.3% of them believe each country should choose democracy and modernization models that suits its national conditions. A total of 88.3 percent of respondents think that Chinese democracy is important for strengthening national and global governance as the concept pf whole-process democracy finds a widespread echo worldwide, the report showed.

The forum's closing ceremony also announced the launch of a joint research project on democracy, a global youth group on democracy and a global think tank network for democracy studies website.

The event was hosted by the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council Information Office, and co-organized by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the China Media Group and the China International Publishing Group.

The first edition of the forum was held from December 4 to 15, 2021.