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Leaders and Participants:Grassroots Democracy


Zhao Shukai, Development Research Center of the State Council

The basic driving force for the development of China’s grassroots democracy can boil down to two respects: socio-economic growth, and governments’ leadership and direct guidance. The leading role of governments is mainly seen in the fact that they are organizers of grassroots democratic activities. In principle, the leading role of governments and the participating role of the masses are not contradictory but rather complementary. The Party organizations exercise leadership in the construction of grassroots democratic politics mainly by leading the masses to formulate rules regarding democratic politics, guaranteeing the implementation of such rules through supervision, bringing in to full play the functions of various social organizations, and working together to push ahead with economic and social development instead of directly replacing the masses to make decisions or directly managing concrete social affairs. The construction of grassroots organs is an important part of the construction of grassroots democracy. Mass participation is the essence of grassroots democracy. Grassroots democracy is gaining wider recognition and has developed into an irreversible course. Upholding the principal role of the masses does not mean that governments have to abandon regulation and guidance. First, the course of democracy requires governments to fulfill duties of management and regulation, which is, in essence, an appeal of the masses. Second, the masses need training and improvement of competence-oriented education. For the masses, democratic governance is institutionally a brand new notion and the course of advancing democracy is in a sense one of training and improvement. Carrying out grassroots democracy is not in conflict with adhering to the Party’s leadership and is an institutional step to help grassroots cadres set up a scientific outlook on development and correct outlook on political achievement. Developing grassroots democracy could ensure that the instructions of the central government could be properly carried out and the will of the people could be fulfilled on a solid institutional, political, and cultural foundation during local governments’ administration.

Leaders and Participants:Grassroots Democracy