From China Elections and Governance:
… After a preliminary study, I feel that the 17th CPC political report possesses several new and important features in regards to the issue of grassroots democracy.
First, grassroots democracy is given more prominent emphasis:
The emphasis is given in three areas. First of all, fostering the development of grassroots democracy is an integral part of the Chinese Communist Party’s goal of achieving a well-off society by the year 2020. This is a continuation of the theme of the political report of the 16th Party Congress. Secondly, it is an integral part of embarking on the road of developing socialism with Chinese characteristics. This is an expansion of the concept rendered by the 16th Party Congress. In the past, when dwelling on democracy, the focus has always been on the people’s congress system, multi-party cooperation and autonomy in regions inhabited by ethnic minorities. Grassroots democracy was always an afterthought. Now, it is elevated to the same level of the other three functional democracies in China. Thirdly, there is an entire section devoted to grassroots democracy in the part of the political report entitled “steadfastly pursue socialist democratic politics”. This is unprecedented in all previous political reports. This arrangement has raised the position of grassroots democracy in China’s quest for more expansive democratization and bestowed upon itself new missions. [Full Text]
Zhan Chengfu (詹成付) is the director general of the Department of Basic-Level Governance of the Ministry of Civil Affairs.