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A Stable Community-level Society Underpins a Stable Country


Zhao Shukai, Development Research Center of the State Council

In view of the current social situation, it is important to pay attention to the cause of conflicts, and get to know how unstable factors have accumulated, and how unstable forces have grown. On one hand, some college graduates could not find jobs while some unemployed rural migrant workers have no source of income. These issues may trigger group incidents whether they are related to college graduates or migrant workers. On the other hand, the intellectual circle has an increasing political demand. The people accept the basic trend of reform and government goals, but taking the society as a whole, people could find problems relating to operation of the governance system, with no good mechanism to resolve the problems and interest conflicts. While new interests become diversified, channels to express interests have not been systematically established and numerous interest relationships and social conflicts are not well addressed, thus leading to downgrading trust of the public in the government. Under such circumstances, the social groups without jobs and means of livelihood serve to be the social basis for outbreak of such mistrust. Now outside the government, the people’s awareness of expressing interests and participating in social affairs is gradually growing and the concept that the government’s goal is to offer public service is taking root in the people’s mind. But within the government, formal and effective channels for public participation are yet to be formulated, and there lacks effective check and supervision for government operation. The reasons why community-level officials take no action in face of intensified community conflicts include: first, community-level officials have to follow the orders of upper-level governments, which is sometimes beyond their will; second, there exist interest conflicts between officials and the people; third, tension, mistrust and complaints exist in the relationship between the central government and local governments. But how to manage well the relationship between the upper-level governments and the lower-level ones? The key to the problem is to turn the current top-down pressure-loaded accountability approach into accountability by the community-level public over community-level governments. Reforms need to be carried out in the following systems including the vertical accountability system, the internal accountability system for the same level of governments and the accountability system between governments and society. Besides, some dos and don’ts should be clearly defined relating to government powers. In terms of specific measures, reform should be made to establish a law-based government. First, we should define the relationship between power entities through laws and regulations. Second, we should regulate the administrative system of community-level governments through laws and establish a government with rational bureaucratic system. Third, we should improve the community-level mechanism for democratic operation through laws and establish a mature democracy system at community level. And fourth, we should coordinate the power and interest relationship among all social entities, reach consensus among the people and take this as the legislation basis so that laws and regulations can gain trust and recognition of society. In addition, we should expand the scope of political participation by citizens. In dealing with various issues, we should take into account various emerging social forces and influential factors.

A Stable Community-level Society Underpins a Stable Country