China paper blasts Western-style democracy

An editorial slams multi-party democracy, separation of powers as divisive.

Beijing: China`s ruling Communist Party on Wednesday called for its members to reject Western-style democratic notions amid a brewing debate on the direction of future political reform.

In an editorial in its flagship People`s Daily newspaper, the party criticised multi-party democracy and separation of powers as inefficient and divisive.

China`s system of "socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics" has proven best suited to the country`s conditions and must be upheld and strengthened, said the editorial, which is to be published in Thursday’s paper but appeared on its website last evening.

The editorial follows a series of bold calls for unspecified political reforms from Premier Wen Jiabao, as well as the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize this month to imprisoned Chinese dissident writer Liu Xiaobo, who urged reforms to the country`s single-party Communist political system.

Wen`s comments have been countered by statements from hard-liners criticising any change that challenges the party`s leadership. His most outspoken remarks have been censored by state media.

Liu`s award, meanwhile, has embarrassed and angered the government, which has described the move as part of a Western plot to interfere in China`s internal affairs and alter its political system.

Party cadres must "consciously draw a clear line between socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics and Western capitalist democracy," the editorial said.

"This has concrete, important and deep-seated significance for raising the entire party`s political acuity and discernment... clearing up mistakes about building democracy, and resisting the hostile forces` plot to Westernise and divide," the editorial said.