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January 6 marked the first anniversary of the US Capitol riot. Washington held various events to commemorate the day in a high-profile manner. US President Joe Biden in his speech on Thursday said that "democracy was attacked, simply attacked" on that day and took former president's "web of lies" as target. Some Republican lawmakers accused Democrats of exploiting the consequences of the riot for their partisan ends. The "US-style democracy" crisis isn't over, but is still continuously deepening the antagonism between the two parties, and becoming the "resource" for a political struggle.

On January 6, 2021, a large number of Trump supporters broke into the Capitol building, beating, smashing, looting and burning under the astonished eyes of the world. The protesters clashed with the police, resulting in five deaths and many injuries. This was the first time in over 200 years that the Capitol was breached. It was also an embarrassing scene that the fig leaf of "US-style democracy" had been ripped off. The bloody violence that took place in the US' highest political palace pulled the icon of "US-style democracy" down from the shining city upon the hill, making it shattered. Even if the political elites in Washington are trying hard to fix it, the icon cannot be raised again, nor can it be used to dictate the world.

The world has seen all these scenes: The US president became the biggest instigator of anti-government protests; hatred and lies are prevailing in US society; politicians in Washington glorified violent demonstrators in other countries as "national heroes" and "democratic fighters," but called the Americans storming the Capitol "mobs" and "a shame." The internal collapse of "US-style democracy" has deep political and social roots, and the consequences it has caused are quite serious and far-reaching. But all these have been neglected by Washington's political elites, deliberately or not. US reflections over the past year have either missed the point, or been superficial, which makes the real problems unresolved and will further cause destruction.

The Capitol riot showed the world the deep illness of "US-style democracy," but Washington simply attributed it to "a few bad apples." They seem to have forgotten that "president Donald Trump" himself is a product of "US-style democracy." Furthermore, one year on, the problems of social division, political polarization, racial conflict and a wealth gap in the US have not eased, and are even getting worse. The latest survey shows Americans' pride in "US-style democracy" has dropped sharply, from 90 percent in 2002 to 54 percent now.

The same poll also shows that 34 percent of respondents believe that violent action against the government can sometimes be justified - the largest percentage in decades. "US-style democracy" released monster from the bottle, which has frightened Washington's political elites. Some US scholars have made more pessimistic predictions, suggesting that the next three to four years are likely to witness large-scale violent conflicts, the collapse of the federal government and the split of the country into confrontational red and blue camps.

Such a situation is turning the US into a huge source of potential chaos. The international community sincerely hopes that the US can "cure" its illness. However what we are seeing is that "US-style democracy" is still preaching despite its severe sickness, dictating other countries. This makes people feel both absurd and worried. President Biden said that leaders of over 140 countries asked him "Is America going to be all right? What about democracy in America?" But such a US even had the nerve to convene the so-called Summit for Democracy.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who called the Hong Kong protests "a beautiful sight to behold," said on the one-year anniversary of the Capitol riot in a media interview that "Democracy won" and "America always prevails." The conceit and arrogance of Washington elites have become part of the American illness. There is no doubt that "US-style democracy" and Western liberalism still have its market and influence in the world. But reflection, questioning and transcending it are happening in some places outside the US. Some countries including China are exploring a democratic path that suits themselves, and they have made remarkable achievements.

Perhaps only when "democratic hegemony" falls will democracy of humanity be full of blossom and vitality. Today, the narrative of democracy of the US is crumbling, which was clearly shown at the so-called Summit for Democracy at the end of last year. People on the podium stuttered empty slogans and the audience sitting below had fallen asleep.

This page is provided in cooperation with People's Daily Online.
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