Editorial : Anti-corruption drive does not conflict with democracy

【明報專訊】A hundred years have passed, and everything has changed beyond recognition. As the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) commemorates its centenary, there have been all kinds of development and changes over the past hundred years. For many years, the West has believed that a communist system is not capable of self-improvement, nor will it be sustainable. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 further strengthened this view. As the communist bloc in Eastern Europe collapsed, the mainstream view of the West was that other communist regimes would also fade into oblivion. But in reality, things have developed in another way. China's modernisation has been different from the model advocated by the West. The CCP emphasises the need to be confident about its own path and systems. However, for China to become a powerful modern socialist country, democratic political construction is still indispensable. This is a goal the country must work towards in the future.

In the West, a political party's raison d'être is elections. The CCP is not such a political party. Since the mid-nineteenth century, China has faced aggression from Western powers. The entire history of modern China has been about the pursuit of self-improvement, independence and modernisation. The 100-year history of the CCP must be examined in this context. History does not necessarily develop in a particular way, but the range of choice is restricted by all kinds of objective situations. For more than a century, China has tried different approaches from "Applying Western knowledge on the basis of Chinese knowledge" to a constitutional monarchy to republicanism. The CCP has been in power for more than half a century. Its achievements should be recognised, but it must be admitted that the CCP has made mistakes. Over the first 30 years after its establishment, an ultra-left ideology took hold of the party when it was trying to put China on a road to modernisation. It went into the wrong directions multiple times. The Cultural Revolution was the biggest mistake. The violent June Fourth crackdown was unreasonable. The June Fourth Incident will remain a historical injustice until it is rehabilitated. Over more than a decade, the "China model" has met with controversies, but the CCP has emphasised socialism with Chinese characteristics and that it will not follow the path of the West but must have confidence about its systems.

The CCP has undoubtedly made some sorts of achievements in building a meritocratic political system. Corrupt officials have been punished, and an anti-corruption system has been built. However, anti-corruption is an endless undertaking, and it is too early to claim an "overwhelming victory". Absolute power corrupts easily, and this is an irrefutable law in politics. Given the vast territory of China, the self-purification of the CCP alone is inadequate. More powerful supervision by way of public opinion is necessary. Meritocracy and democracy do not conflict with each other. They can complement each other. Democratic building should be part of the building of a modern and powerful socialist country. In Hong Kong, many people lack a deep understanding of the CCP and China. Some of their perceptions and points of view remain decades-old. Some people are too willing to accept one-sided information. Some people do not understand the ideas of the mainland authorities and regard many national policies as only political slogans. Over the past six months, the central government has rectified the monopoly of technological giants and Internet companies with a kind of vigour unimaginable in a capitalist society.

Pragmatism breeds flexibility, and flexibility makes adaptations possible. When handling Hong Kong matters, adherence to a pragmatic approach and allowing more flexibility will certainly be of great benefit to the stable and sustainable implementation of "One Country, Two Systems".

明報社評2021.07.01:中共反腐路無盡 賢治民主不相悖







fade into oblivion : to gradually become forgotten or no longer important

raison d'être : the most important reason for sb's/sth's existence

meritocratic : a meritocratic society or social system gives people status or rewards because of what they achieve, rather than because of their wealth or social position

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