BEIJING Blindly copying Western-style democracy can only bring disaster, an influential Chinese Communist Party journal wrote in its latest edition following more than a week of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
Citing enduring violence and turmoil in countries like Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq and Libya, which have tried to adopt such a system of government, the fortnightly magazine Qiushi said that Western democracy did not suit all countries.
"The West always brags that its own democracy is a 'universal value', and denies there is any other form of democracy," said Qiushi, which means "seeking truth", in the issue distributed over the weekend.
"Western democracy has innate internal flaws and certainly is not a 'universal value'; its blind copying can only lead to disaster," Qiushi added.
The article made no mention of Hong Kong, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997 having been a British colony, but the timing of its publication cannot have been a coincidence.
Over the past week, tens of thousands of protesters have demanded that Hong Kong's leader, Leung Chun-ying, quit and that China allow them the right to vote for a leader of their choice in 2017 elections.
Facing separatist unrest in far-flung Tibet and Xinjiang, Beijing is fearful that calls for democracy in Hong Kong could spread to the mainland. The Communist Party leadership has dismissed the Hong Kong protests as illegal but has so far left Leung's government to find a solution.
Chinese state media and officials have launched numerous attacks on Western-style democracy in the past, saying that the country's own system of "socialism with Chinese characteristics" is the best way to govern the world's most populous nation.
Chinese liberals and intellectuals had hoped the new government that took over last year, under President Xi Jinping, would be more tolerant of calls for reform but authorities have indicated they will not put up with any challenge to their rule.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)