The second International Forum on Democracy, held on Thursday (March 23), brought together a diverse group of global speakers to discuss the topic of democracy and shared human values.
The event was sponsored by the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, the State Council Information Office, and organised by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China Media Group, and China International Communications Group.
The forum was held at the Zi Yun Grand Ballroom in the Capital Hotel, with Hu Heping, Executive Deputy Head of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, and Minister of Culture and Tourism of China, serving as the Chairperson.
The keynote speaker was Li Shulei, a member of the Political Bureau, Member of the Secretariat, and Head of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.
Address -GAO Xiang, President of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, DU Zhanyuan, President of China International Communications Group and XING Bo, Vice President of the China Media Group.
The event featured speeches from international leaders and experts in the field of democracy and human values. José Luis Centella, president of the Communist Party of Spain, spoke about the importance of democracy in promoting shared human values.
Yukio Hatoyama, former Prime Minister of Japan, delivered a video message on the role of democracy in promoting peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. In his address to the second International Forum on Democracy, the former Japanese prime minister expressed concern about the increasing trend of arms expansion and interstate conflicts, particularly the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
He also criticised the West’s tendency to create a clash of values, which he believes can lead to the discrimination and exclusion of countries with different values, contributing to the fragmentation of the world and violating economic rationality.
Hatoyama suggested that diplomacy should focus on overcoming differences in values and learning from history, pointing to the normalisation of diplomatic relations between China, Japan, and the United States as an example.
He also noted the dangers of domestic polarisation and populist politics, fueled by social media, and stressed the importance of camaraderie and building a community with a shared future for mankind.
Fred Mmembe, president of the Socialist Party of Zambia, highlighted the importance of social justice in promoting democracy and shared human values.
Fang Ning, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, spoke about the role of technology and digital innovation in promoting democratic values.
Abhisit Vejjajiva, former Prime Minister of Thailand, delivered a video message on the importance of democracy in promoting economic development and prosperity.
He discussed the complexities of democracy and how it needs to be supported by institutions and an appropriate political culture. He believes that while many Western countries have established long-term democracies, they are still grappling with challenges such as money, politics, and corruption eroding confidence in government and democracy. Vejjajiva points out that no country in the world can claim to be a true democracy and that all countries should work to resolve their own democratic constraints or limitations autonomously. However, international organisations have a role to play in encouraging all countries to realise democratic ideals through multilaterally negotiated democratic standards. Vejjajiva encourages open dialogue and exchange of ideas to promote the development of democracy in the world.
Mushahid Hussain Sayed, chairman of the Pakistan Senate Defense Committee and founder of the Pakistan China Institute, spoke about the importance of cooperation between nations in promoting democratic values.
Jeffrey D. Sachs, a professor at Columbia University, delivered a video message on the role of global institutions in promoting democracy and shared human values. He emphasized that there is no single model of good governance that works everywhere and that each country’s political culture, specific orientations, and historical context shape political institutions. However, he highlighted six basic tasks and responsibilities that a government should fulfill: consistent orientation towards the common good, respect for procedural justice, ability to achieve substantive justice, cultivation of civic engagement and individual virtues, respect for minorities, and peaceful engagement with other countries. Sachs emphasized the importance of tapping into deep traditions, such as Aristotle and Western Confucianism, to achieve mutual understanding and respect for good governance to be achieved in many ways.
George Galloway, leader of the Workers Party of Britain and former Member of Parliament, spoke about the importance of promoting democracy and human values in the face of authoritarianism and political extremism. He noted the importance of good governance in the 21st century.
Zheng Yongnian, President of the Qianhai Institute for International Affairs and a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen), highlighted the importance of cultural and social factors in promoting democratic values.
Overall, the Second International Forum on Democracy: The Shared Human Values Agenda provided a platform for international leaders and experts to discuss and promote the importance of democracy and shared human values. With speakers from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, the forum showcased the global importance of these values in promoting peace, stability, and prosperity.