Published: 12:25, March 31, 2023 | Updated: 12:28, March 31, 2023
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Democracy is by no means the purview of Washington
By China Daily

This photo taken on Jan 19, 2023 shows the US Capitol building in Washington, DC, the United States. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

With much fanfare, the United States kicked off its second "Summit for Democracy" on Wednesday. Despite its high-sounding moniker, the gathering is anything but that; it is a low-stooping scheme intended to stoke confrontation and sow the seeds of division in the world.

The purported aim of the summit this year is to "address emerging challenges to democracy". But the US practice of wielding a stick under the banner of democracy and creating divisions between countries it deems to be "democratic" and those it labels as "non-democratic" is the real challenge to democratic principles.

By staging the "Summit for Democracy" for the second time, the US is trying to consolidate its self-proclaimed status as the "beacon of democracy".This is both hypocritical and laughable. A role model should be inspirational. However, the list of problems plaguing the US is growing longer day by day. Money politics, social division, hate crimes and a widening wealth gap are problems that are all worsening by the hour.

The defects of US democracy have penetrated into almost every nook and cranny of its political and social structures, creating political inertia and social disorder. Widespread drug abuse and gun violence have become the main threats to people's lives.

As the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace warned in a recent report, US democracy is at a dangerous inflection point, declining faster as the inherent ills of US capitalism worsen.

As a result, the US system has lost its luster as something to be aspired to and US-style democracy is being increasingly questioned and criticized not only at home but also overseas.

The credibility of US-style democracy has also been shortchanged by the US' interference in other countries' internal affairs under the pretext of democracy. By placing its domestic law above international law, and adopting a selective approach to international rules, applying and discarding such rules as it sees fit, it seeks to impose its will on others and wantonly undermines the democracy in global institutions. In doing so, it has become the biggest challenge to the democratization of international relations.

The US holding aloft the banner of democracy with its summit and talk of shared values is a cynical ploy out of its Cold War playbook. In order to maintain its leadership credentials, the US has long been monopolizing the definition of "democracy".

Yet in a diversified world, it is only natural that democracy takes different forms. There is no one-size-fits-all model for all countries in the world. What the world needs is not hegemony and divisions but respect for the diversity of civilizations and upholding of the common values of humanity in pursuing peace and development.

Democracy is a common aspiration of humanity and it must not become a tool to advance the agenda of a privileged few. To uphold democratic values, countries should refrain from imposing their own values or models on others and forbear from stoking ideological divisions and confrontations.