Opinion / Opinion Line

Take people's feelings into account to foster good reception for reforms

(China Daily) Updated: 2016-02-26 07:45

Take people's feelings into account to foster good reception for reforms

A man joins a sea burial ceremony in Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning province. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Ministry of Civil Affairs, together with eight other ministries, has issued new guidelines on burials. One article encourages family members to share tombs in order to save space. This has met fierce opposition online. The authorities need more transparency in their decision-making process, instead of simply publishing such policies without taking into account ordinary people's feelings and interests, said the Chinese edition of Global Times on Thursday:

The government has been promoting burial reform since the 1950s, when people were even more conservative. Yet considerable achievements have been made in the past several decades because political forces were used to push through the changes and society was successfully mobilized to support them.

It is hard to do that today because our social conditions have fundamentally changed. Therefore, government departments must be creative when trying to change people's behavior and attitudes toward something. They must learn to mobilize social forces that are in favor of their decisions.

In the current burial reform debate, for example, quite a large number of people support the new policy, but none of the nine ministries talked with the public before releasing the document. As a result, people feel some decision has been forced upon them, and their views have been omitted in the decision-making process.

As a result, even those who support the burial reform will not openly declare their support because they too feel deprived of the opportunity to have their voices heard. Worse, openly expressing their support of the reform makes them look like professional supporters of the government. It is a pity that the government has not harnessed their support because it means social resources are being wasted.

The burial reform is only one of the reforms that China is undergoing. It is time the government learned to better interact with the ordinary people before making decisions.

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