Rights are indispensably accompanied with duties
Another goal of Xi Jinping’s mass line education practice campaign is that he wants to guide the masses of the people to perform their duties of supervision in more actively exposing malpractices, making criticism and putting forward suggestions. In pursuing democracy, particular stress is often laid on people’s rights but their duties were often neglected.
Xi Jinping is wise in advocating that the education campaign will not only grant people the rights of democratic supervision but also teach people to perform their duties of supervision. If in spite of the democratic rights of supervision people have, people have no sense of responsibility to exercise their democratic rights or turn a blind eye to the corruption they personally see, what is the use to have their rights? Corruption, the despotism that turns CCP into people’s enemy and the four malpractices would remain unrestricted.
It reminds me of China’s feminist forerunner and heroic democratic fighter Ms. Qiu Jing. When she mobilized women to fight for equal rights, she said that women had to perform equal duties if they wanted equal rights. She personally set an example for them. She died bravely for China’s democratic revolution along with male revolutionaries.
Western Democracy Declines due to People’s Neglect of Duties
In the course of overthrowing autocracy and striving for democracy, priority certainly has to be placed on people’s democratic rights. However, as soon as democracy has been established, people shall be taught to be aware that they have democratic duties as well as democratic rights. The prosperity of a democracy is the result of people not only exercising their democratic rights but also performing their democratic duties. Otherwise, there will be the Diet Coke culture mentioned by Latin American international political expert Moises Naim in his book The End of Power. Just as people want sweetness without calories, they want rights without responsibilities, benefits without costs, consumption without savings and a safety net, infrastructure and quality education without taxes.
For a time, some Western democracies were in economical difficulties precisely due to the pursuit of such a democracy.
Perhaps due to one-sided stress on rights, in a Western democracy, people vote for their interests instead of out of their duties for their country. As people’s interests vary, in quite a few democracies, no party can win a majority in parliament so that a major party has to cooperate with one or two minor parties in forming a government, resulting in difficulties in reaching consensus even in the ruling cabinet. A Western democracy is usually a split democracy due to various differences in people’s interests.
Chinese Democracy Excels in Stressing Both Rights and Duties
In China’s socialist democracy, both people’s rights and duties are stressed. As people have the same sense of duties, there is unity in the nation. People are making united efforts in achieving their common goal to realize their China dream of the grand rejuvenation of their motherland.
It is generally accepted that Western democracy is declining. US great efforts for regime changes by whatever means have failed to spread its democracy. China’s socialist democracy, however, is rising. China has lifted most people out of poverty and set a target to eliminate poverty by 2021. It provides medical, retirement and unemployment insurance for almost every citizen and has built lots of subsidized housing for those who cannot afford it on their own.
Western media and politicians are fond of describing China as an autocracy, but china, in fact, is a democracy, a better democracy than Western democracy. Chinese people have full freedom of speech to criticize the government. For example, Bloomberg’s report “China’s Slowdown Is Fraying Nerves” describes Chinese netizens’ brutal commentaries on a government call to improve the ethics and conduct of the Chinese scientific community. There is a clause in the call that asks affluent developed regions not to use big compensation packages and bidding wars to recruit talent, especially from China’s Rust Belt.
As a call to improve ethics, it certainly is not “prohibiting affluent developed regions from using big compensation packages and bidding wars to recruit talent, especially from China’s Rust Belt” as Bloomberg tries to make readers believe. However, netizens’ brutal commentaries on the Internet as reported by Bloomberg precisely proved that Chinese people have the freedom of speech to criticize the government.
Bloomberg may be censored as it published fake news on the basis of netizens’ commentaries, which were general opposition in order to advocate market economy and freedom of employment in disregard of residence. The government call does not oppose market economy or such freedom. It only gives the advice to improve ethics and keep some talents in less-developed areas.
Normally, China’s slowdown may fret some nerves but netizens’ opposition to the call has nothing to do with that. The report with such a title shows Bloomberg’s intention to mislead readers with false information. Moreover, netizens’ commentaries by no means reflect skilled workers anxiety as described in the first sentence of the report, i.e. “A social media uproar over an obscure government decree shows how anxious the country’s most skilled workers are.”
On the contrary, the government’s call reflects the keen competition among various areas in China for talent. It precisely proves that various areas in China are switching to innovation- and creation-led economic growth so that there is a great demand for talent. Such talent refers to scientists, engineers and technicians instead of skilled workers. Bloomberg’s reporters certainly know that there is no need for “big compensation packages and bidding wars to recruit” skilled workers.
The report shows that in order to mislead readers with false information, Bloomberg’s reporters even forget their common sense.
To prevent Chinese people from being misled by such false information China certainly shall tighten its censorship. Bloomberg is unhappy about that, but it can do nothing except keeping on demonizing China.
Article by Chan Kai Yee