China: US democracy summit 'a joke'

China: US democracy summit 'a joke'

Beijing steps up rhetoric ahead of White House virtual event that will include Taiwan

An American flag flies outside the Capitol dome in Washington. (Reuters File Photo)
An American flag flies outside the Capitol dome in Washington. (Reuters File Photo)

BEIJING: US President Joe Biden’s planned democracy summit next week will be a “joke” and the American political system doesn’t represent a real democracy, senior Chinese officials said on Saturday.

“Under the American democratic system, US politicians are the agents of interest groups, and don’t represent interests of majority voters nor national interest,” Tian Peiyan, deputy director of the Policy Research Office of the Communist Party’s central committee, said at a news conference in Beijing on Saturday for the release of a white paper on democracy.

US politicians would promise anything just to get elected and rarely delivered on their commitments, he said. “This is not real democracy, Chinese people don’t like and don’t want such a democracy,” Tian said. 

The “revolving door” phenomenon in the US system means that politicians are swayed by interest groups and lobbyists, added Xu Lin, deputy head of the Publicity Department in the central committee. 

Biden has frequently characterised democracies’ battle against autocracies as an essential geopolitical challenge of the 21st century. Chinese authorities have criticised the US president’s planned virtual summit on Dec 9 and 10, with Taiwan among the more than 100 invitees.

Thailand is not on the list, but it has plenty of company in Southeast Asia. Out of the 10 Asean nations, only Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines were invited. 

Le Yucheng, the vice foreign minister, referred to the event as “a complete farce” during a call with his Russian counterpart on Friday.

China has ratcheted up military, economic and diplomatic pressure on democratically run Taiwan since President Tsai Ing-wen’s election win in 2016. Beijing says the island is part of its territory, a claim refuted by Tsai and her ruling party.

“The US is a self-styled leader of democracy, but its so-called summit of democracy is only aimed at suppressing and containing countries with a different development model,” said Tian. “It is set to become a joke and will not be popular.

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