Li Junru, a senior Chinese political advisor, credited deliberative democracy with Chinese characteristics as an important contribution made by the Communist Party of China (CPC) for socialist democracy.
In 2006, a circular issued by the CPC Central Committee described elections and internal consultations among the public as two forms of socialist democracy.
Another document issued by the General Office of the CPC Central Committee in 2011 stressed that the two forms should be integrated in order to advance democracy in China.
While election-based democracy follows the principle that a numerical majority decides, deliberative democracy stresses agreements reached through dialogue, discussion and consultation among groups with different appeals, said Li, a Standing Committee member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country's top political advisory body.
Both of the two forms are needed to guarantee the position of the people as masters of the country, Li, also former vice president of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, was quoted as saying in the Friday edition of the People's Daily.
Chinese-style deliberative democracy is similar to the deliberative democracy put forward by Western scholars and the CPC has borrowed from their theories, Li said.
China has integrated these concepts with its own political consultation system, creating a deliberative democracy with Chinese characteristics based on the country's experience, Li said.
Li said deliberative democracy is not a new concept for the CPC, as it used similar decision-making in revolutionary times.
Such consultations have their origin in ancient China, with the practices dating back more than 4,000 years, Li said.
Li said the political consultation system in China is advantageous in that it covers a wide spectrum of people and does not distinguish between superiors and subordinates within the CPPCC.
The political advisors consist of members from 34 circles grouped by varied social sectors, whereas CPC members account for only one circle and no more than 40 percent of the total members.
Li said the CPPCC is not the only form of deliberative democracy in China, as some local Party and government organizations are inviting the public to join in decision-making procedures.
CPPCC organizations have also included people who are not CPPCC members in their conferences.
However, Li noted that efforts should be made in deliberative democracy practices to ensure that the system serves the people.
Related procedures should be kept open and transparent, Li said.
Consultation participants should promote their sense of democracy and responsibility, Li said.