Beijing: China is continuously channelling ideologies to defame democracy and promote authoritarian governance worldwide by portraying its economic growth and targeting the powerful developed and developing democracies, a media report said.
Beijing has been popularising its political system worldwide and called it "contribution to mankind". The communist leaders have been showing China's economic growth as a success of its political system and portray that democracy can't lead to prosperity, Foreign Policy reported on Thursday (September 16).
In 2017, during the 19th party congress, Xi Jinping had stressed that Beijing's political model "a new option for other countries and nations who want to speed up their development while preserving their independence" — while ignoring external pressure to democratise.
Many global leaders find the Chinese model an easy way to economic success without being answerable to the public. Top Chinese officials have been vocal in saying that the countries have the "right" to choose their political systems, whether it's a democracy or authoritarian, reported Foreign Policy.
The communist regime poses a challenge to democracy all across the world. It aggressively promotes the authoritarian governance system and has termed it superior to democracy. This Chinese idea has wider consequences than the attempts to forcibly install autocratic leaders in other countries, as the Soviet Union did during the Cold War.
The Chinese attempts to defame democracy and promote autocracy fall into three categories.
The first one is that Beijing has been making serious efforts to shape positive narratives about China in developed countries. The idea includes amplifying the narratives in favour of the communist regime and silencing or targeting the critics of Beijing. And to ensure this happens successfully, the communist regime rewards positive portrayals and punishes criticism.
As in 2019, the Chinese ambassador to Sweden admitted, "We treat our friends with fine wine, but for our enemies we have shotguns."
Beijing offers a wide range of benefits to its friendly government as preferential market access, academic institutions, businesses and others, but it takes aggressive steps, largely financial, against those governments it believes are hostile to China's interests.
The communist regime also threatens Chinese dissidents and their families, monitors Chinese students abroad, attempts to silence academic discourse deemed offensive to Beijing. It also seeks to control how foreigners are educated about China.
It has also sought to expand its foreign media footprint, control Chinese-language media abroad and turn Chinese diaspora citizens against parties or candidates it deems threatening to its interests, Foreign Affairs reported.
These Chinese actions make a strategy to inform, shape and ultimately control perceptions regarding China worldwide.
In its second category of antidemocratic actions, China eyes on the developing countries.
Contrary to the developed countries, China is largely being welcomed by the developing world as the top rulers or elites of those countries wish to learn from a political system that has given larger financial growth.
The communist regime has captured a small number of coteries of corrupt elites in a growing number of fragile democracies. China has helped them to centralise power and isolated them from the demands of civil societies. And it also helps those regimes to suppress their citizens and maintain power indefinitely through deploying Chinese technology.
The communist regime exports authoritarianism through a broad range of such antidemocratic activities, unlike through seminars on Marxist ideology, as some analysts have claimed.
China offers more than simple inspiration for a non-democratic governance model: it provides the tools, training, and resources that permit leaders to ignore democratic countries' demands for good governance and respect for individual rights as a condition of aid and investment, according to Foreign Policy.
In other efforts, Beijing sometimes directly interferes in the political process of other foreign countries to support leaders who are close to China.
These efforts are not intended to overthrow democracies or other ideologically dissimilar regimes, but to help ensure that China-friendly policies and investment climates will prevail regardless of who is in power.
The third and the last category of China's antidemocratic targets international institutions that instil democratic norms. China uses the clout it has gained by consolidating influence in UN agencies to ensure institutional alignment with Chinese priorities. For instance, Beijing has wielded its authority in the International Telecommunications Union to promote policies that facilitate the authoritarian use of technology to repress citizens, reported Foreign Policy.
China views the current global order as an obstacle to its emergence of power and has been making efforts to topple it.
Such illiberal strategies undercut democracies in the developed, developing world, and it harms international institutions too. And these efforts of China amount to an assault on the norms, rules, and ethics by which the world is governed, according to Foreign Policy.