The puzzle for the west is that India has a western democratic system but develops far behind China. If we recognized the premise that democracy is good for economic development, then we have to admit that China has a true democracy while India has one that is not working.
What does democracy mean? Western democracy emphasizes universal suffrage and a multiparty system. Universal suffrage says that people should have a said on issues affecting them, while multiparty says people should vote to maximize individual interest. So it is a system competing among different groups of interest.
China considers its system a democratic one too, and put democracy as one of its socialist core values. China will agree with the premise of the question that a country with democracy can develop economically better.
This may not be a satisfactory answer to this question for many audients. So we have to investigate why the US promotes western democracy in developing countries. Is the US really concerned about the well beings of the people in developing countries? Why countries that are intervened militarily by the US become failed states rampaged with terrorist militants? Why the US sometimes support military coup of dictators some time support democratic movements? Why the US has allies of non-democratic countries? The answer is that the foreign policy of the US is aimed at the national interest. When promoting western democracy is good for its national interest, it will do even against international law and use democracy as the justification. When keeping a dictator is good for its national interest, it never mentions democracy to that country. This is the open secret of US foreign policy.
So what is western democracy? Western democracy is the capitalist democracy. It was originated in Europe that capitalists asked the national power do not to restrain capital. Before WWII, western powers colonized area that is now developing countries. The imperialist power never wanted developing countries to become democratic before WWII as they ruled the countries as their colonies and their capital could exploit freely the people there. After the rebuilt of Europe and Japan after WWII, the capital wants to exploit the developing countries that had independence after WWII. Now they want the developing countries to implement western democracy so the governments of the developing countries cannot restrain capitals, especially the monopoly capital of Wall Street.
Under the western capitalist democracy, not only a government cannot restrain capital but the government also be controlled by capitals. When President Obama wants to implement Obamacare, he had to get permission from the capital that capital has to make a profit from Obamacare. Obamacare was then very costly and it has been taken 8 years to be implemented. However, when the government came to bail out Wall Street in 2008, it took only a few days to make the decision.
Western democracy costs a lot of money for the election campaigns. So the outcome of the election is determined by the capital. If the developing countries, such as India, implemented western democracy, the government is largely controlled by capital and the policies of the government are the results of the influence of money, the capital. As a result, the Indian government cannot develop its economy without letting Wall Street make a profit first.
India and China have different democracies, capitalist democracy, and socialist democracy. The former was established by Gandhi who took the western political system for granted. The latter was established by Mao who fought the imperialist powers in Anti-Japanese-Invasion-War, Civil war fighting Chiang who represent the interest of western powers, Korean War that was aimed at China for the grievance of the Loss of China, and Vietnam War.
India has a democracy that represents the will of capital. China has one that represents the will of the Chinese people. Indian people want their economy developed, yet their government cares about the will of capital more than about their will. Indian democracy promises freedom to Indian people but that is the freedom of capital to exercise its will. The western powers said that China has no freedom because the Chinese people do not give capital the freedom to exploit them.
Both Indian and Chinese people have the will to develop. Indian democracy can’t fulfill the will of the Indian people, as it has to fulfill the will of capital. Chinese democracy does fulfill the will of the Chinese people.
Chinese understand democracy better. In Chinese, democracy means literally that people are the master. Chinese people master their own fate and manage their own country through the organization of the Communist Party of China.