MA XUEJING/CHINA DAILY Socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics is a political system with remarkable advantages, as it upholds the right political direction of integrating the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the status of the people as the masters of the country, and the rule of law. The Party's leadership is the fundamental guarantee for ensuring that people act as the masters of the country and promoting the rule of law. The role the people play as the masters of the country is the essence and core of socialist democracy. And the rule of law is the basic principle by which the Party leads the people in governing the country. These three elements define the fundamental nature of China's socialist State power. The three come together to form an organic whole in the actual implementation of socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics. The three elements are also the fundamental reason why the People's Republic of China has been politically stable for more than seven decades, has achieved rapid economic growth, maintained ethnic unity, and achieved remarkable social and cultural progress. First, Article 1 of China's Constitution stipulates that the socialist system is the country's fundamental system, and that the Party's leadership is the most essential feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics. This essentially defines China's State system. Given that the Party's leadership is fundamental to China's democratic political system, the country must uphold the Party's leadership to develop socialist democracy and build a socialist country with Chinese characteristics based on the rule of law. Only in this way can China stay on the right path of political development and the rule of law. The Party's leadership is the best guarantee for China's political development, economic progress, and social stability. And the ultimate goal of socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics and the Party's leadership is to unite the people and mobilize their enthusiasm, initiative and creativity, so they can work together to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics. This is the fundamental difference between socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics and Western-style democracy. Second, that the people are the masters of the country is an essential feature of socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics, a political system that conforms to the political requirements of the times. Also, socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics is deeply rooted in the soil of China. China's Constitution says that, "all State power belongs to the people". And in the new era, putting people and their interests first is the primary requirement for the Party to lead the people in developing socialism with Chinese characteristics. The fact that the people are the masters of the country is reflected in the country's political, economic and social life. Institutional arrangements such as the systems of people's congresses, multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the Party's leadership, regional ethnic autonomy, and grassroots self-governance are all manifestations of the people's status as the masters of the country. In the political sphere, the people not only exercise State power through the National People's Congress and provincial and local people's congresses, but also manage State affairs, as well as take economic, social and cultural undertakings through various channels and in various forms in accordance with the law. Third, the rule of law is the guarantee for the Party to lead the people to govern the country, and an important symbol of modern civilization. The socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics is a rule of law developed by the Chinese people under the Party's leadership that combines the basic characteristics of the rule of law with distinctive Chinese characteristics. For the ruling Party, the more complex the international and domestic environments are, the more onerous the tasks of reform, opening-up and socialist modernization will become. So it is important that it uses the rule of law to consolidate its position, strengthen its governance, and ensure lasting peace and stability in the country. The main purpose of the Party in advancing law-based governance is to protect people's rights and interests in accordance with the law. And to adhere to the rule of law, we must ensure that the people, under the leadership of the Party, manage State affairs, and take economic, social and cultural undertakings through various channels and in various forms, so that laws and their enforcement effectively reflect the will of the people, protect their rights and interests, and stimulate their creativity. The organic unity between the leadership of the Party, the people being the masters of the country, and the rule of law is a great creation of the Chinese people under the Party's leadership, and fully embodies the characteristics and advantages of socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics, reflects China's contribution to the political progress of humankind, and embodies Chinese wisdom. To maintain the organic unity of the three elements in the new stage of development, we must strengthen the overall leadership of the Party, enhance the level of the Party's leadership to promote the institutionalization and legalization of its leadership, improve systemic arrangements to ensure people continue to be the masters of the country, promote people's democracy, adhere to the rule of law, and modernize the national governance system and governance capabilities. In practice, we should especially improve the system of people's congresses, give full play to the remarkable advantages of this political system, and develop socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics on the premise of strengthening the organic unity of the Party, the people and the rule of law. The author is an associate professor with the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China. The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily. 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