民主 – Chinese philosophy and culture

mínzhŭ 民主

Lord of the People / Democracy

本义为民之主(含为民做主之义),即君主或帝王;后也指官吏。古人认为,“民主”是“顺天应人”的产物;“民”与“主”是一个有机体,犹如人的身与心。近代以来,“民主”成为democracy的译词,主要指国家权力属于全体国民所有这一根本原则以及基于这一原则构成的政治制度和社会状态。民主的本质是人民当家做主,有行使管理国家与社会的权力,并在这一过程中能自由表达意见、维护自己的利益。民主以多数决定但同时尊重个人与少数人的权利为基本原则。其核心是公民的社会地位,是“人权”社会化的“实现方式”,也是构建美好社会的核心价值之一。

The term originally referred to the lord of the people, the one who ruled on their behalf, i.e., the monarch. Later on it also referred to government officials. The people of ancient times regarded the “lord of the people” as “following the mandate of heaven and complying with the wishes of the people.” The people and their lord formed an organic whole like the human body and heart. In modern China, the term has become the Chinese equivalent of “democracy,” mainly meaning the fundamental principle of state power belonging to all of the people and also the political system and social conditions based on that principle. In essence democracy is government by the people who are able to exercise the right of managing state and society, and who, in this process, can freely express their opinions and safeguard their interests. Democracy is based on the principle of decision by the majority with due respect for the rights of individuals and the minority. Democracy is designed to safeguard the social status of citizens. It is a socialized form of human rights, and one of the core values conducive to a good society.

引例 Citations:

◎自古已来,能除民害为百姓所归者,即民主也。(《三国志·魏书·武帝纪》裴松之注引《魏氏春秋》)

(自古以来,能够铲除为害百姓的祸端而使天下百姓归顺的人,就是百姓的君王。)

Since ancient times, one who could save the people from harm and enjoy their allegiance was the lord of the people. (Pei Songzhi: Annotations on The History of the Three Kingdoms)

◎民以君为心,君以民为体。……心以体全,亦以体伤。君以民存,亦以民亡。(《礼记·缁衣》)

(百姓将国君看作人的心,国君将百姓看作人的身体。……心因为有身体而得以保全,也因为身体受损而损伤。国君因为有百姓而得以存在,也因为百姓反对而灭亡。)

To the people the sovereign ruler is as their heart; to the ruler the people are as his body. …The heart is safe because of the body, while it suffers when the body is wounded. So the ruler is preserved by the people and perishes when the people turn against him. (The Book of Rites)

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