Democracy and freedom are not the preserve of the west – the Chinese are becoming better informed and change is possible.
In my 30 years of life, 2008 was an unparalleled year of events: winter storms, rebellion, earthquake, Olympics, poisoned milk scandal, every one influencing and moving China deeply. So many lives, homes, tears, so much anger in one year.
This year changed my life too: I spent a month in America and experienced this new but familiar nation with my own eyes and ears. After much travelling and conversation, it confirmed my opinion that human nature has universal connections; so-called freedom and democracy can't be divided by west and east but are values shared by all. At the same time, I now feel America represents a model of future development of mankind and human integration.
All men are created equal, human beings are born free. These are the human rights given by God and represent a universal truth applicable to any country, any nation or any individual. Those who openly declared that "democracy is not suitable for China" angered me. I would like to ask these people, if democracy is not suitable for China, which mode is suitable to China? Despotism? Don't tell me about the "Beijing model" or "new authoritarianism".
The facts prove that if a democratic system is not established corruption can not be controlled. Without new blood, all good systems can not last.
The reality of our state system often makes people feel angry and hopeless. However, what should we do about it? Is the ancient civilisation of 5,000 years, the great and proud China, going to sink?
We've still got strength and we can do something about it. That's not just fighting talk but plain understanding: the trend of the times can't be stopped.
Today, 30 years after China started to reform and open up, it is back at the starting line. Thirty years ago, people said goodbye to infighting; now, people have split again and are in dire need of unity.
It is impossible to agglomerate people's hearts by the Communist party's axioms such as the Three Represents, Eight Honours and Disgraces or the concept of scientific development. They represent not consensus, but simply utilitarian slogans.
Continuing on the path of reform and opening up holds no consensus either. When the harvest of reform and opening up was not distributed fairly, but produced bigger gaps between rich and poor, people only felt anger.
In my view, in the next 30 years, democracy is the only consensus; only both economic and political democracy can ensure equal opportunities for all.
Today's China has no democracy in politics or in the economy. Small and medium-sized companies have difficulty getting loans, and can't enjoy the same opportunities as state-owned enterprises.
Under democracy everyone competes equally. Even the ruling party can't drift outside the rules. Though some are "regressive" from time to time, they dare not say openly "I am the law".
In an era of globalisation, the paces of cultural and political exchanges accelerate. The market economy has become the rule. Even the former communist countries have to acknowledge and accept it.
In the political field, there is also a general rule, that democracy is the universal value, it cannot be denied or avoided. The temporary maintenance of Chinese politics depends on the protections of the state machinery. It holds on to the principle of "a lie repeated a hundred times is the truth", it still continues on the old routines. But the internet is becoming more developed, information is flowing more freely. People's hearts are increasingly difficult to fool.
The growth of an informed, rational people is the hope for democracy in China. They will cherish and defend their legal rights and will no longer sacrifice their personal interests for so-called "national interest". They will change the relationship with government – and play the role of true masters to supervise whether their servants have fulfilled their duties.
Copyright Speakers Corner 2016