Beijing Overreacts at Being Left Out of US-Led Democracy Summit

December 15, 2021 Updated: December 20, 2021

Commentary

Beijing is furious these days. The United States recently held a democracy summit and invited more than 100 countries—including Taiwan—to attend the event. However, China wasn’t invited, and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) didn’t seem to take it well. But the CCP’s response is noteworthy.

Taiwan’s invitation to the summit had long been expected. As soon as the summit was announced, there was talk about whether or not to invite Taiwan and whether it would create more tension between China and the United States. At the time, I didn’t think it would be a major issue for the Biden administration. The summit isn’t merely about promoting democracy, but about recognizing and discussing countries that threaten democracy. The main threat is not Russia—it’s China, and in particular, the CCP.

Compared to China, Russia is not a threat to the democratic system as a whole, and its political, economic, and military strength and influence don’t have much impact on Western democracy.

The CCP infiltrates the West through politics, economy, culture, and education. Moreover, it exports its socialist/communist ideologies around the world through Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative, “China model,” and other projects. The Chinese regime poses a much more serious threat to Western democracy than any other country in history.

Therefore, the Biden administration’s democracy summit was an important step for the United States to recognize the true nature of the CCP and to take more action in containing Beijing’s hegemonic ambitions. Promoting Taiwan’s participation in international affairs has already been a U.S. policy.

Since the CCP controls most of the United Nations agencies and holds veto power in the U.N. Security Council, it’s more difficult to promote Taiwan’s participation in existing international organizations; it’s much easier to start new organizations and activities. This democracy summit couldn’t have been a better opportunity, and perhaps it was made to specifically counter the CCP threat.

Epoch Times Photo
Chinese leader Xi Jinping virtually addresses the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Sept. 21, 2021. (Spencer Platt/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

The CCP Is Afraid of Democracy

For the CCP, two things were unacceptable: First, the United States invited Taiwan instead of China; and second, China was left out. Beijing sees this action as a violation of the “one China” policy. It’s not surprising that the CCP protested against Washington’s decision to invite Taipei, but it’s odd for the CCP to advertise its own “democracy” with great fanfare. China’s State Council Information Office published a white paper on U.S. democracy, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a report on China’s democracy on its website.

The Foreign Ministry’s report on U.S. democracy is very strange. It criticizes American democracy while attempting to promote the so-called greatness of China and the CCP.

As for the white paper on China’s democracy, it states, “The Chinese people can effectively exercise their rights through the National People’s Congress and implement multi-party cooperation under the leadership of the CCP through the political consultation system.”

Really?

Chinese netizens got into a debate over whether China is a “true democracy” or a “whole-process democracy.” It’s not worth discussing this topic, because it’s obvious that China is not a democracy at all.

So why is the CCP so angry about its exclusion from the summit?

History may provide a clue. The CCP, under Mao Zedong, advocated democracy during the Anti-Japanese War of Resistance (1937–1945), as recounted in the book “The Herald of History: A Solemn Promise Half a Century Ago,” compiled by Xiao Shu.

During that period, the CCP stressed the following: “Only [with] democracy can the Anti-Japanese War have power”; “China lacks democracy—only with democracy can China move forward”; “Without democracy, resistance to Japan would be impossible. With democracy, we will definitely win even if we resist the Japanese for eight to ten years.”

“Striving for democracy is a central part of the revolutionary task at the present stage of development,” Mao said at the 1937 National Congress of the CCP. “If we fail to see clearly the importance of the task of democracy and reduce our efforts to fight for democracy, we will not be able to establish a truly solid anti-Japanese national united front. … Fighting against Japan and democracy are mutually conditional. … Democracy is the guarantee of resistance against Japan, and resistance against Japan can offer favorable conditions for the development of democratic movement.”

Mao delivered that speech before the 1937 Marco Polo Bridge incident, and the war with Japan had not yet broken out into full swing. What’s noteworthy is that the CCP was advocating American democracy. This was evident in an article, titled “Ode to Democracy: A Tribute to America’s Independence Day,” published by Xinhua Daily on July 4, 1943. It states:

“From a very young age, we felt that the United States is a special country. … The Chinese people’s favorable impression of the United States originates from the democratic grace and broad mind emanating from the American national character. … However, before all this, the United States set an example for the backward China in democratic politics, educating the Chinese people to learn from Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson, and making us understand the need for boldness, justice and honesty to build a democratic and free China.”

It’s important to note that the CCP’s true goal was not to promote democracy, but to destroy the old system, including democracy, through the “dictatorship of the proletariat.”

Epoch Times Photo
Chinese people demonstrate during the “great proletarian Cultural Revolution” in front of the French Embassy in Beijing on January 1967. (Jean Vincent/AFP via Getty Images)

However, advocating democracy at that time served at least three purposes: to attract young people to join the communist revolution, to force the Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek to accept the anti-Japanese united front of the CCP, and to deceive the Americans. It’s generally believed that the CCP’s deception (pretending that it planned to establish a democratic China) is one of the reasons the United States finally gave up on Chiang’s Kuomintang army.

After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Mao, knowing that American democracy was a threat to the CCP’s authoritarian rule, took the United States as his enemy.

However, the situation changed after China’s reform and opening up under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping. Beijing relied on the United States for China’s economic development, while it pretended to recognize universal values. This is the difference between the CCP and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union never pretended to have common values with the West, and it was always in a state of confrontation with the West. The CCP, on the other hand, tried to fuse with its adversary to defeat it from within, just as it did during the War of Resistance.

This strategy played out during the Northern Expedition military campaign, when the CCP officially decided to allow its members to join the Kuomintang (KMT or Nationalist Party) as individuals, thus complicating the situation for the Nationalists. At first, the KMT didn’t know that the CCP’s goal was to overthrow the Nationalist government—China’s legitimate government at the time. So it was easy for the CCP members to join its ranks. But Chiang later realized that these members created trouble and defamed the KMT, so he took action to purge these members in 1927—an event known as the April 12 Purge (or Shanghai massacre).

The CCP’s goal in advocating democracy is to deceive the international community, and it justifies the West’s appeasement policy toward China. This is probably why the CCP has been holding the Two Sessions every year. The Two Sessions is an important political gathering staged not primarily for the Chinese, but for the Americans and other Western democratic nations. In addition, Beijing has been organizing rural grassroots elections and has profited from them. Democracy is merely a cover for the CCP in achieving its hegemonic ambition.

When the United States held a democracy summit without inviting China, the CCP realized that its pretense of democracy had finally been publicly torn away by Washington—and this is considerably more serious than Taiwan receiving an invitation to the summit. From this perspective, it’s not hard to understand why the CCP overreacted by publishing the white paper and various reports on democracy rather than make a fuss over Taiwan’s invitation to the summit.

One of the “four self-confidences” of political ideology that is currently promoted by the CCP is confidence in the political system. Although the ultimate goal is to destroy Western democracy, the fact that the CCP puts so much effort into presenting itself as a “true democracy” reflects, more or less, the lack of confidence in its authoritarian and dictatorial system.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Heng He
Heng He is a commentator on Sound of Hope Radio, China analyst on NTD's "Focus Talk," and a writer for The Epoch Times.