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The Shared Poison of China’s Democracy Charade

April 10, 2023


The 2023 Summit for Democracy, initiated by the United States and co-hosted by Zambia, South Korea, the Netherlands, and Costa Rica, concluded on March 30after affirming that “free, fair, and transparent elections” are “the foundation of democratic governance.” A week before, the People’s Republic of China held its own Second International Forum on Democracy. It took up such anodyne topics as “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.”

China’s Forum on Democracy was not about ensuring political freedom and self-government, but rather detaching the idea of democracy from its essence before an audience in the grip of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). At its philosophical core, the project is being mirrored by developments in Western democracies.

Aaron Rhodes is a senior fellow at Common Sense Society and president of the Forum for Religious Freedom-Europe. He is the author of The Debasement of Human Rights (Encounter Books, 2018).

Originally published in The National Interest.

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