‘Low-Quality Democracy’: Communist China Shames U.S. for Holding an Election

Chinese President Xi Jinping is seen during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) L
Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

The Chinese government’s Global Times propaganda newspaper declared the 2024 U.S. presidential election a failure Sunday, condemning America’s “low-quality democracy” for bringing “chaos” to the world.

The Global Times is an English-language publication that serves as a mouthpiece for the Chinese government. It regularly publishes propaganda pieces condemning elections and free societies as “chaotic” and touting totalitarian communism as a preferable alternative as it allegedly offers “harmony” to its subjects.

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Throughout much of the 2020 American presidential election cycle, the Global Times published pieces arguing that elections “cannot truly reflect the essence of democracy” and that democracy had “brought nothing but disorder” to the world. It particularly condemned multi-party republican systems for inspiring pro-democracy movements in Hong Kong – which experienced a massive wave of anti-communist protests in 2019 – and within China itself.

A security assessment by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) declassified in December compiled evidence that China was using social media outlets – prominently the Chinese-owned Tiktok mobile application – to spread “divisive content” denigrating the use of elections to sustain a free society and questioning the 2020 presidential election in an attempt to undermine national confidence in America.

The ODNI concluded that the Chinese Communist Party was more aggressive in these efforts under President Joe Biden because it “did not expect the current Administration to retaliate as severely as they feared in 2020” under former President Donald Trump.

The Chinese-owned Tiktok also reportedly played a significant role in the 2022 elections, publishing content favorable to Democrat candidates.

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Trump and Biden opened the presidential election year with dueling speeches this weekend, which the Global Times called a “disappointment” for voters as they, as occurs in all free and fair elections, criticized each other.

“The chaos of the US presidential election and the inappropriate campaign rallies of the candidates seem to have set an example for low-quality democracy worldwide, observers noted,” the Global Times proclaimed.

The “observers” in question were the newspaper’s usual stable of regime-approved commentators, including pro-Beijing professors and think-tank experts. One such “observer,” research fellow Lü Xiang, described the American election as “a soccer field without referees, with both sides deploying red cards” – a comment implying a higher power should regulate whether candidates get to criticize each other or not.

“Both sides are comparing who is worse because obviously, neither can solve the problems. This is a negative election,” another such “expert,” professor Diao Daming, sighed. Diao claimed that the United States holding an election in which top presidential candidates can offend each other without going to prison was “dangerous for the world.”

The Global Times claimed that the alleged “polarization” created by Biden and Trump criticizing each other publicly was “unprecedented in over a century,” apparently overlooking every presidential election in modern history, which has featured aggressive and often personal negative campaigning. The newspaper criticized Trump for delivering a speech in Iowa on Friday in which he accused Biden of “fearmongering” and Biden for issuing comments in which he compared Trump’s remarks on the campaign trail with language used in “Nazi Germany.” The Global Times did not remark on Trump’s comments against primary challenger Nikki Haley, who will face him in the Iowa caucus on January 15.

“Such election rhetoric did not appear even before 2020, but now it has further intensified,” Lü Xiang claimed.

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In reality, presidential elections in the United States are viciously contested every four years. Former President George W. Bush routinely faced comparisons to Adolf Hitler and accusations of ties to Nazi Germany. On the left, former President Barack Obama – like Chester A. Arthur before him – faced accusations of lying about being born in America.

The Global Times opened 2024 with an article expressing concern that Trump, whose first term was defined by starkly anti-communist policies, may win the presidential election on a wave of “populist” international sentiment.

“Chinese experts said that in 2024 challenges and crises will remain, including the risk of spillovers from current regional wars, great power confrontations, protectionism concerns,” the Times asserted, “the rise of populist and right-wing politicians, and the great uncertainty to policies that will come from the different results of upcoming elections.”

The article lamented that elections around the world would bring “uncertainty” to the world, compared to dictatorships where the tyrant in power can be reliably expected to rule indefinitely. The newspaper most directly condemned free elections in an analysis published in 2019, written by a former senior member of the Communist Party, Li Junru.

“Regardless of electoral democracy’s advantages, including transparency and competitiveness, it has flaws that should not be ignored. The biggest problem is that it cannot truly reflect the essence of democracy,” Li wrote. “Electoral democracy generally follows the rule that the minority is subordinate to the majority. Although everyone has the right to vote, only some voters’ appeal can be heard.”

Li advocated for “consultative democracy,” in which one totalitarian party rules and occasionally pretends to “consult” the public on items of little consequence.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.


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