Lord of the People / Democracy
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.
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)
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)