Opinion / From the Press

Redress public grievances

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-07-22 09:52

Before people could recover from the shock of the July 5 bus fire in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, another bus was set on fire in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on July 15, killing two people and injuring 32. Such incidents reflect the conflicts in society, which the authorities need to resolve to improve governance, says an article on Excerpts:

The bus fires in Hangzhou and Guangzhou are only two examples of public security incidents that have resulted in casualties and spread panic among the public.

Among all the crimes that threaten public security, bus fires are perhaps the worst because people are trapped in a small closed space from where it is difficult to escape. No country has found a foolproof way of preventing people from torching a bus, because it is almost impossible to force every person boarding a bus to go through a thorough security check.

Worse, since many suspects commit suicide after committing such crimes, they cannot be punished according to law to deter others from following their example. So, the solution to the problem lies elsewhere.

Most of the suspects that set fire to buses were disgruntled individuals, and their real intention was to highlight their grievances or the injustice they had been subjected to. China has undergone rapid and complicated social transformation over the past three decades with which social governance has not been able to keep pace. For example, a large number of "marginalized groups" can be found in almost all large- and middle-sized cities. These people toil to build cities but are denied the social benefits that they help create. In fact, most of them cannot even live in a city permanently. A large number of suspects in public security cases belong to this unhappy and desperate group.

Therefore, the authorities need to improve social governance and ensure that everyone enjoys the fruits of economic development. Moreover, officials have to start treating all citizens equally.

Recently, seven people took poison in front of the China Youth Daily office building in Beijing, which showed how important it is for local officials to better interact with disadvantaged groups. According to some media reports, the seven were farmers whose land had been requisitioned by local governments for commercial use without paying proper compensation. Generally speaking, only those who feel they have been cheated or treated unfairly choose to take radical steps to voice their grievance or anger, making it all the more important for the authorities to take immediate measures to redress their grievances and thus prevent similar tragedies.

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