This is a study of intellectual trends during the Hua Guofeng period and of methods, strategies, and techniques of public political discussion of the time. This study presents democratic centralism as a comprehensive theory of democracy and evaluates this theory. It compares the Chinese theory of democratic centralism with Western traditions of democracy. It shows that the Chinese theory comes close to participatory types of democracy and shares a conception of democracy as communication with the theory of deliberative democracy. This dissertation also compares Chinese theory with some common Western theories and models of Chinese society as well as with Western understandings of Chinese political processes. It thus aims at opening more dialogue between Chinese and Western political theories and understandings about Chinese polity.