‘China could have social turmoil if public governance fails’

Monday, February 21, 2011

BEIJING - China has many problems, said a Chinese daily as it warned that “in theory, it is not totally unfeasible that the nation could fall into social turmoil should its public governance fail”.

The editorial appeared in the state-run Global Times Monday, a day after protesters inspired by the popular unrest in Egypt and other Arab countries took to the streets in Chinese cities. Police promptly dispersed crowds of several hundred people in Beijing and Shanghai.

The gathering was in response to a call for a “Jasmine Revolution” in 13 Chinese cities issued over the internet. The unrest that led to Tunisian leader Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali’s ouster in January is referred to as the Jasmine Revolution

The editorial, titled China’s rise requires maturity from citizens, said: “The central government has attached great importance to modern public governance. But the improvement of its public governance also relies on the proactive participation of people from all walks of life. The maintenance of social stability calls for cooperation by the public, especially from elites.”

It said that China, which has a huge population of 1.3 billion, “is a big power that is experiencing the convergence of various social problems”.

“No matter how rapidly its economy and society develop, it is inevitable that many grass-roots appeals will not be addressed in the short term. China’s rise is going to be accompanied by complaints among the general public, and even some elites.

“Due to the spread of mobile phones, the internet and microblogs, it is fairly easy for someone to publish criticism and cause a flow of complaints. Similarly, it costs nothing to draw attention by doing something sensational. In comparison, it is one of the hardest projects in the world to mould a society into a stable platform that facilitates life for those pursuing happiness,” it said.

The editorial added that many believe “China will emerge from its period of social transformation in a steady and peaceful manner. But in theory, it is not totally unfeasible that the nation could fall into social turmoil should its public governance fail”.

It stressed that it was the “responsibility of every patriot to cooperate with the government’s social management efforts and help craft sustainable social stability”.

“Intellectuals should set an example in this regard. Some argue that their mission is to criticize. Such a perspective is one-sided, and even becomes an excuse for irresponsible elements.”

Observing that in recent years, “a few Chinese have always challenged public governance and national stability”, it said that this goes counter to the major goals of China in the 21st century.

It said that three decades of reform and opening-up has enabled China to become the world’s second largest economy.

The editorial exhorted “China’s intellectuals, especially those with the power of discourse and various social resources… (to) contribute to social stability, rather than undermine them by encouraging trouble”.

It wrapped up saying that China’s “national rejuvenation has been a dream for generations of people with lofty ideals. The 21st century may witness the realization of the dream. All of Chinese society must maintain social cohesion by allowing the country to develop”.

“China is bound to progress as an imperfect nation. It has many problems. Nevertheless, none of them should become an excuse to challenge social governance.”

Filed under: Politics

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