Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Reform must be incremental

By Yu Keping (China Daily) Updated: 2011-06-11 07:49

But why are there so many significant changes in China's political landscape?

First, China's transition from a planned economy to a socialist market economy prompted a change in the country's political structure. Second, people's livelihood improved dramatically as new political demands emerged. Third, there was an emergence of different groups that could express their interests. As these groups became more prominent, they began playing a larger role in the decision-making process of the government. Finally, globalization has had a remarkable impact on China's political system.

The most important political development has been the transition of the Communist Party of China from a revolutionary party to a ruling party. But China is still a developing country, social stability is still a precondition for economic development, and the country is still in transition from a traditional to modern society. Hence, it must stick to the idea of "incremental reform".

What are the challenges and focus of reform?

On one hand, China has made huge progress during its gradual democratic transition. On the other, it faces many formidable obstacles, including the undesirable supervision of the election process. An effective mechanism of checks and balances on power is still not in place, and the channels of further public participation need to be widened.

The country still lacks a mechanism to counter the selfish behavior of the bureaucracy, corruption is still rampant and public service rendered by the government is far from enough. Besides, there is no mechanism to legalize dynamic stability.

So political transparency must be increased to realize a successful democratic transition and administration costs have to be cut to reduce public expenses.

The government has to carry the reform further, pushing it toward rule of law, and make greater efforts to combat social injustice and reduce social disparities. Rendering quality public service will be key to building a service-oriented government. Plus, meting out appropriate punishment to corrupt officials will increase government transparency and strengthen social management.

Democratic governance will be established in China, but it will face the same difficulties that other countries did on the road to a transparent government and social democracy.

The author is deputy director of the Compilation and Translation Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.

(China Daily 06/11/2011 page5)

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