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"He who says C must say D" - China's attempt to become the "world's largest democracy"

Wer C sagt, muss auch D sagen: Chinas Anlauf zur "weltgrößten Demokratie"

Holbig, Heike; Schucher, Günter


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Körperschaftlicher Herausgeber GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies - Leibniz-Institut für Globale und Regionale Studien
Abstract For more than a decade the People’s Republic of China has been perceived as a competitor governance model to Western democracy. Since the new leadership under Xi Jinping started to internationally position China as the “world’s largest democracy,” it has been challenging the West’s prerogative of interpretation of political order. As its international significance has grown, China’s demands for an equal position in the global competition over values and discourse have increased. In pursuing interpretation aspirations with regard to sociocultural values and political order, China has started to challenge the perceived discourse hegemony of the United States and the West. China’s claim to be the “world’s largest democracy” is linked to its belief that the Chinese political system should not simply be another democratic system, tailored to its national conditions; rather, in comparison to India, which in the West is considered the biggest democracy, China should be the “truest” and most economically successful democracy thanks to numerous participation mechanisms. The new interpretation of China’s political system is linked to long-standing debates amongst Chinese elites about the socialist party-state’s characteristics, achievements and deficits, and summarises them confidently and pointedly. At the same time, China’s self-description as a "democracy" corresponds well with the self-image of many Chinese people. China’s pursuit of international prerogative of interpretation is in line with domestic goals. The assertion of discourse power strengthens the supporters of a "democracy with Chinese characteristics,” on the one hand, and presents an implicit threat to critics of the domestic political system, on the other. Policy Implications Many Western observers are likely to dismiss China’s official attempts to position itself as the “world’s largest democracy” as nonsensical and implausible. How­ever, an examination of the underlying demands for discourse power would appear necessary, not only from the perspective of a pluralistic approach – which as such takes alternative worldviews seriously. The “factual power of the normative” must also be taken into account if such alternative governance discourses and values are to be introduced internationally as power resources
Thesaurusschlagwörter China; democracy; political system; regulatory policy; geopolitics; international relations; conception of democracy; discourse; power; Far East
Klassifikation Staat, staatliche Organisationsformen; politische Willensbildung, politische Soziologie, politische Kultur
Sprache Dokument Englisch
Publikationsjahr 2016
Erscheinungsort Hamburg
Seitenangabe 12 S.
Schriftenreihe GIGA Focus Asien, 2
ISSN 1862-359X
Status Veröffentlichungsversion; nicht begutachtet
Lizenz Creative Commons - Namensnennung, Nicht kommerz., Keine Bearbeitung