Although modern people have an ideal concept of world unity, expecting a fair and harmonious world where the countries are governed by law, everyone is equal, the talented are selected into the government to serve the people. However, looking back at history, the development of human civilization differed greatly from region to region in terms of speed, pattern, and process. Human beings have formed different societies, cultures, and countries through geographical isolation and ethnic evolution, and thus have different social and national systems. The thoughts of racialism and nationalism naturally arise and affect the subsequent development of mankind. Since the beginning of history, the development of human civilization has not been smooth. Unfortunately, there have been natural disasters (earthquakes, floods, fires, and plagues) and man-made disasters (wars). Therefore, among the four major ancient civilizations of mankind, including Babylon, ancient Egypt, ancient India, and Chinese culture, only the Chinese culture survived to this day without interruption. In the modern industrial revolution (1760-1840), Europe was the first to develop into industrial countries, led by Britain, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. Unfortunately, their nationalism led them to the path of colonial aggression, and colonialism spread to the United States (America) and Japan (Asia), causing the three continents (Asia, Africa, and America) and oceanic island groups in the world to be invaded and colonized for nearly 2-3 centuries. It was not until after World War II (1931/1937-1945) that the world powers hurt each other so badly that the colonies were allowed to become independent states and the United Nations was established.
The United Nations can be said to be a product of democratic institutionalism. Today there are 196 member states. In the United Nations General Assembly, one country, one vote, no matter how big or small, decides issues. However, when a resolution needs to be executed, it must pass its Security Council, which is composed of five permanent council members (the United States, China, Russia, France, and the United Kingdom have veto power) and the ten rotating elected members. This was an expedient measure after the failure of the League of Nations. One country, one vote, regardless of the size of the country, cannot effectively implement resolutions, and it only has the name of democracy but no executive reality. The Security Council can execute issues without problems in most cases where there are no disputes between major powers. If there are disputes between major powers, they must be shelved or discussed again. From the operation of the United Nations, we can imagine that when countries around the world implement democratic systems, there cannot be a perfect system suitable for all countries. Differences in country size, ethnic group, cultural genes, historical heritage, religious beliefs, regional environment, neighboring countries, etc. must be considered (different views and requirements) for a democratic system. Often, ordinary citizens, even in countries that have been independent for a long time, have vague understandings of democratic concepts, and democratic systems, and cannot identify what is the democratic system that best suits the national conditions. Governments are created according to the laws of the system, and a proper democratic system means a proper government. Below we shall discuss different democratic systems, putting aside the hereditary and ancestral authoritarian system and government.
Simply put, any government system that is chosen and recognized by the people, directly or indirectly, is a democratic system. In nearly two hundred countries in the world, even if there is an emperor or queen in office, its government may be democratic. The effectiveness of the government or the capabilities of its leaders are all chosen by the people, and laws are enacted directly or indirectly by the people. If the people are dissatisfied, they can demand reforms. The people's last weapon is to overthrow the government, including revolution means. Under the above definition, democratic systems can be divided into three major categories: popular election (universal suffrage) decision-making system, representative democracy multi-party system, and representative democracy one-party system.
(1) Popular election decision-making system
This system elects all officials, formulates and amends all laws, and decides on all administrative orders based on the legal basis of one person, one vote. This kind of democratic system is impossible to implement except in very small countries. (or villages.）
(2) Representative democratic multi-party system
The power of this system of democracy is divided into direct voting to select officials (such as the presidency, states, provinces, counties, mayors, etc.) and representatives (such as members of Congress or Parliament, legislators, etc.) to make decisions on selecting officials (such as the prime minister and other officials) and legislation. Under the representative system, a party strives for the opportunity to be people’s representatives/spokespersons (provide candidates) or to obtain direct candidates or representatives in the legislative and judicial fields. The democratic systems of many countries can be included in this category. For example, in the United States, the chief executive of local offices are directly elected, and the president is directly elected by a modified method. After the votes are counted in each state, the president is elected in the Senate through the representatives (senators), so it is possible that the elected president does not receive a majority of the popular votes. Under this system, multi-party competition often produces lame governments (without the support of a majority of voters and political parties) that render administration ineffective, or often produce short-lived governments. Under the alternating governance between the two major parties, the government is relatively stable, but there is still a chance for a lame Administration due to party squabble or vicious competition.
(3) Representative one-party democracy
Multi-party democracy can evolve into a situation where one party dominates and maintains continuous power. If the party is indeed honest and efficient, not tempted by power and interests, it will be a blessing to the people.
Unfortunately, dominant single-party governance is prone to corruption then fail. Therefore, multi-party democracies tend to move towards multi-party competition, seeking power instead of focusing on serving the interests of the people. Many countries are currently struggling under short-lived and incompetent multi-party coalition governments. Today, there are only a few countries in the world that practice one-party democracy (such as communist countries, Russia, Vietnam, Cuba, etc.). The one-party system may lead to a situation where its long unchallenged dominance invites corruption and harms the country and the people, or even destroys the country. However, in the 21st century, a rapidly growing new China has emerged, from a poor and backward developing country to the world's second-largest economy and the world’s largest manufacturer. China also practices a one-party democracy, so What's the difference and how is it successful?
The Communist Party of China (CCP)is a unique representative one-party democracy. The purpose of the CCP is to protect all people of the country, not for the interests of the party or a certain part of the people. It emphasizes that national unity cannot tolerate division. When people have differences, they must negotiate and compromise to form a consensus. The minority must obey the majority. Once a decision is made, the implementation is effective and efficient. Party members are chosen through competition, selection, oath, evaluation, and review. The party is subject to internal assessments and external people's supervision. The people can protest and appeal in small cases, and march for revolution on large issues. (Revolution is people’s ‘nuclear weapon’ to CCP.) But people and parties must abide by the principle of the minority obeying the majority. This is the reason why the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River can be successfully built after years of negotiation and coordination, but the California high-speed rail is still far away. There is some evidence that the CCP may move towards universal elections in rural areas to mandate the party grassroots (members) to serve the people’s interests wholeheartedly. Facts have proven that a party should be able to self-discipline, make corrections, and truly serve the people rather than make good speeches but be incompetent and do nothing. China's rapid poverty alleviation can be attributed to its one-party democracy. However, once a party becomes corrupt, it will endanger the entire nation and the people. Therefore, the people must help the party to keep the party clean and must not corrupt together with the party for personal gain. In China’s system, the 2022 20th CCP Party Congress has 2296 representatives elected from 96.7 million party members to carry out the duty of electing the party leadership for a term of five years. The 2023 National People's Congress (NPC) elected China's top leader for a term of five years.