As President Biden prepares to host a “summit for democracy
” this week, China has counterattacked with an improbable claim: It’s a democracy, too. No matter that the Communist Party of China rules the country’s 1.4 billion people with no tolerance for opposition parties; that its leader, Xi Jinping, rose to power
through an opaque political process without popular elections; that publicly calling for democracy in China
is punished harshly, often with long prison sentences.
“There is no fixed model of democracy; it manifests itself in many forms,” the State Council, China’s top governing body, argued in a position paper it released over the weekend titled “China: Democracy That Works.”
It is unlikely that any democratic country will be persuaded by China’s model. By any measure except its own, China is one of the least democratic countries in the world, sitting near the bottom of lists ranking political and personal freedoms.