China is a democracy, says Jiang

WASHINGTON, SEPT. 2. The Chinese President, Mr. Jiang Zemin, has claimed that his country is a democracy even as he defended the brutal crackdown on a pro-democracy agitation at Tiananmen Square in 1989, arguing that ``ulterior motives'' could not be allowed to be used to overthrow the Government.

China is a democracy which ``we have always been working to improve,'' Mr. Jiang told CBS TV in a rare interview while preparing to leave for the millennium summit of the UN-General Assembly.

Asked why the people of China were deprived of the right of electing their national leaders, the President argued, ``I am also an elected leader, though we have a different electoral system.''

When pointed out that the country had one-party system, he retorted, ``Why must we have opposition parties ? You are trying to apply the American values and the American political system to the whole world. But that is not very wise. China and the U.S. differ greatly in terms of our values. You Americans always use your values in making judgments about the political situation in other countries.''

Referring to the crackdown on pro-democracy students at the Tiananmen Square in 1989, Mr. Jiang said, ``We truly understood the passion of students who were calling for greater democracy and freedom. In fact, we have always been working to improve our system of democracy. But we could not possibly allow people with ulterior motives to use the students to overthrow the Government under the pretext of democracy and freedom.'' Referring to the U.S. role in the world, he said, ``More often than not, the U. S. tends to over-estimate itself and its position in the world, maybe because of the economic power and leading edge in science and technology it enjoys.''


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