It had not come up until the very last minute in Premier Wen Jiabao's two-hour press conference that concludes the annual sessions of the national legislature and political advisory body. But when it did, it became an immediate catch phrase at home.
"I think fairness and justice are more glorious than the sun," said Wen, responding to the last question in yesterday's press session. Which turned out to be the most-quoted line in domestic media. And chances are it will be so for some time to come.
It has to be. In order for our people to live with dignity, as Premier Wen promised in his report on government work, society must be fair and just. And, as Premier Wen observed, fairness and justice constitute the basis for social stability, the overriding concern that dominates the ruling Communist Party's agenda.
Wen mentioned unfair distribution and judicial injustice, which are behind many people's dissatisfaction with the state of society. That some otherwise insignificant discords have snowballed into damaging "mass incidents" is a warning sign the authorities cannot afford to neglect. Popular discontent about inequity and injustice has accumulated to such extent that it has the potential to distract the nation from its focus on development.
We appreciate Premier Wen reiterating that sound economics and noble ethics are inseparable. All the rhetoric about the advantages of our brand of socialism needs the backup of genuine accent on the ethical aspects of development. Otherwise, development is not progress. Which is why we hope Wen's statement will be transformed from a personal belief into one that is shared by all in decision-making positions.
The development gap between Beijing and Hebei province's Luanping county - which Premier Wen visited three times and is only 150-km-away - is a mere instance of the regional imbalances in our economic landscape. There are many more stories of unfairness and injustice waiting to be heard.
Besides handling such cases, more needs to be done about the root causes of inequity and injustice, which lie deep in systematic design.
(China Daily 03/15/2010 page8)