Why China and Russia Criticized Biden’s Democracy Summit?
China and Russia see that the US democracy summit has drawn new dividing lines globally. For China, democracy should be an internal process where every people has his path. Russia, on the other hand, criticizes the US's contradictory behavior.
China and Russia have responded angrily to US President Joe Biden's proposed democracy summit, which excludes them, with Beijing enraged by a Taiwan invitation and the Kremlin dubbing it divisive.
The White House billed the two-day event, which was held via video connection due to the coronavirus outbreak, as US leadership perceives itself to be in an existential war between "democracies and autocracies or dictatorships." The worldwide summit was a campaign promise made by the US President, who has made the fight between democracies and "autocratic states" a central theme of his foreign policy. Whereas, experts around the world, however, have criticized the meeting for dividing the world along ideological lines.
At a virtual summit in December, US President Joe Biden gathered world leaders from over 110 countries, including the US' major Western allies, and made a plea to strengthen democracies, calling safeguarding rights and freedoms in the face of rising "authoritarianism," the defining challenge of the current era. Significantly, Joe Biden has provoked uproar by ignoring China and Russia. The US "democracy summit," according to China and Russia, has drawn new dividing lines (Tayyaba 2021).
Similarly, the guestlist for the event has drawn criticism for being divisive, with questions raised about why some countries were kept off the list while others with questionable human rights histories were included.
But, after the world witnessed the United States' contempt for the rule of law, the extension of presidential power, and distrust of elections, the question remains: What moral authority does Washington have to lecture the rest of the world about democracy? Critics argue that the United States lacks moral authority since it continues to back autocratic dictators across the world while curtailing voting rights at home.
Critics have also said that the invitation-only event risks exacerbating ideological divides at a time when global collaboration on a plethora of serious issues, including climate change, public health, and nuclear non-proliferation, is crucial.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry stressed that "The so-called democracy summit held by the US is using ideology to draw lines globally, using democracy as a tool and weapon to incite separation and confrontations to divert attention from its internal problems and maintain its hegemony. The United States is not a beacon for democracy, and US-style democracy has gone against the essence of democracy. US democracy's problems, such as money politics, identity politics, partisanship, political polarisation, social division, racial tension, and wealth gap, are worsening".
Notably, democracy in the United States is a game of the wealthy, based on capital. Ninety-one percent of congressional elections go to candidates who have more financial backing. In theory, it's one person, one vote, but in practice, it's a rule of the minority elite. The general public is courted when their votes are needed, but they are forgotten once the election is finished.
The Chinese spokesperson further discussed that rather than being imposed from the outside, a country's route to democracy should be decided by its people. Democracy is the right of people in all countries as a universal human good. It is not a privilege reserved for a select few countries. Moreover, inciting conflict under the pretext of democracy is against the worldwide trend. It will only cause chaos and devastation in the world, according to the representative, who noted that the US has long forced its political systems and values on others, pushing for democracy transformation, misusing unilateral sanctions, and provoking colour revolutions.
Most importantly, the United States' wars and military actions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria have killed hundreds of thousands of people, injured millions, and displaced tens of millions. The failure in Afghanistan has demonstrated that imposing American democracy on others does not work. According to Chinese analysts, Washington has demonstrated its lack of faith in its political system by refusing to invite numerous countries, including China and Russia, to contribute their perspectives on democracy, demonstrating that the US-dominated event is not democratic at all (Farah, 2021).
According to experts, the "summit" is a futile show that has offered a platform for some anti-China groups to gain attention, such as representatives of Hong Kong separatists and the Taiwan secessionist authority, demonstrating that the event serves the US goal of increasing tensions with China (DAWN, 2021).
On the other side, the Russian Federation's Ministry of Foreign Affairs highlighted long-standing issues in the US and its allies, such as freedom of speech, electoral rules, and human rights among others. "The democratizing rhetoric coming from Washington is not only completely disconnected from reality, but also utterly hypocritical, the flaws in the existing vote counting mechanism, the world's highest prison population, and legislatures defending the interests of their sponsors rather than the voters". Furthermore, Russia encouraged the United States to first address domestic issues and overcome widening societal conflicts over ethics, values, and the country's past and future vision.