Signed Article by H.E. Dr. Xiao Jianguo, Chinese Ambassador to Timor-Leste, published on Suara Timor Lorosae
2021-11-30 17:45

On November 30 Suara Timor Lorosae carried an article, both in English and Tetun, by Ambassador Dr. Xiao Jianguo entitled "Staying Independent to Explore a Development Path Consistent with One’s Realities ". The full text is as follows:

The 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) convened its sixth plenary session from November 8 to 11, 2021. This was an important meeting as China stands at a critical juncture where the timeframes of its two centenary goals converge, namely, to achieve the goals of a well-off society in an all-round way by 2021, and to develop China into a great modern socialist power by 2049. At the session, the Central Committee reviewed the CPC's historical experience over the past 100 years, considered and adopted the Resolution of the CPC Central Committee on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century. Among these experiences, one is very crucial to China's revolution and development, and should be applicable to all other nations meanwhile – that is staying independent.

Independence is the essence of a nation’s spirit, and it is a fundamental principle for building a party or a country. Since having been invaded by foreign powers, China has a better understanding of the tragic situation of losing independence. Facing the invasion and colonial oppression of the foreign powers, the Chinese nation chose to fight for independence, won the victory of the revolution at great cost, and established a new China with independent sovereignty. After entering the development stage of socialist construction, China had to face numerous difficulties and challenges, but it continued to uphold the principle of independence, stayed grounded in China’s conditions, adhered to the right path consistent with China’s realities, and led the people of all ethnic groups across the country to self-reliance, hard work, reform and opening up. Innovated on the basis of what has worked in the past, China has finally made itself the world’s second largest economy today, lifting about 700 million Chinese people out of poverty and embarking on a well-off road. China’s practice shows that, as long as China follows its own path with unswerving commitment, then it will be able to develop into a great modern socialist country. China believes that independence is a prerequisite for the survival and development of any country. If China loses its independence, then China will cease to exist as a country.

By reviewing the gains and losses of political development of itself and other countries, China keenly realized that a nation's political civilization and political system must be deeply rooted in its society. It will not work to copy the political systems of other countries. For example, democracy is a shared value of all human beings, not an exclusive patent of western countries and should not be defined and dictated by western countries. The democratic mode across the globe cannot be the same. Democracy is not Coca-Cola, which, with the syrup produced by the United States, tastes the same across the world. The world will be lifeless and dull if there is only one single model and one single civilization. To draw the world with ideologies such as democracy or authoritarian, preach others like a sanctimonious teacher, and force others to choose sides is non-democratic. Democracy is not an adornment used for decorative purposes. However, it is used to solve the problems faced by the people. As for which country's democracy is good or bad, people living in that country have the final say. At present, the chaos in the United States and other western countries, such as social tearing, poor governance, violent conflict, polarization between the rich and the poor, and the dominance of capital, all illustrate the fragility and hypocrisy of western democracy. The latest American opinion poll showed that 57% of respondents globally and 72% of respondents in the U.S. do not believe that the U.S. democracy is a good example. In contrast to that, American opinion polls showed that Chinese citizens' satisfaction with the CPC and the government of China reached 95% and 98%. Next month, the U.S. is to host a so-called summit for democracy, the intention is to undermine other countries and split the world. To convene such a summit when western countries face loads of problems in democracy is such an ironic thing.

Proceeding from China's conditions, and to solve the difficulties facing the people, the CPC established a democracy in China that conforms to China's reality. It is a complete institutional chain, including electoral democracy, consultative democracy, social democracy, primary-level democracy, citizen democracy, and all other elements of democratic politics. It covers elections, consultation, decision-making, management, supervision, and all other fields of the democratic process. It is not only based on a complete institutional procedure but also full participation and practice. It is a democracy in terms of process and outcome. It achieves the integration of procedural and substantive democracy, and direct and indirect democracy. It is people's democracy and at the same time represents the will of the state. It is highly democratic in terms of both quantity and quality, and is sincerely welcomed by the people. 

Throughout human history, no nation or country has ever become strong and prosperous by relying on external forces, indiscriminately copying the models of other countries, or blindly following in others’ footsteps. Those who have attempted to do so have either suffered inevitable defeat or been reduced to vassals of others. To maintain independence and self-reliance, strengthen dignity and self-confidence, then a country will be able to keep the fate of its development and progress firmly in its own hands. China has always followed an independent path as it has pressed forward, stressing reliance on its own efforts to drive the nation’s development, and maintaining that China’s affairs must be decided by itself. This principle should apply to every country.

As the saying goes, "Only yourself know the shoes fit or not." A country should independently choose its own development path and political system. Other countries are not eligible to deny it. Because whether the system and the road are right or wrong is still up to the people of this country to judge and decide. China has never copied foreign models, nor exported ideology, nor does it require other countries to copy China's practices. Instead, it advocates countries follow a development path that suits their own national conditions and the needs of the people, respect each other, learn from each other, and coexist peacefully. China opposes that some western countries label China as "authoritarian" just because the form of democracy in China is different from theirs. This is actually non-democratic.

Timor-Leste has experienced foreign colonization and invasions and sacrificed a lot win national independence, and now is eager to develop the economy and help the people get rid of poverty. China has gone through same situations. As a good friend of Timor-Leste, China is willing to provide assistance and its own experience. And one important suggestion is to staying independent. The same is true for the development of democracy. Timor-Leste should explore a democracy that suits its national conditions. Only by embracing the differences in the political systems of various countries, and drawing on the useful experience of other countries can it be succeed.

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