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6.07.2011

[Belated translation] Zhou Benshun - The road to Innovate Social Management with Chinese Characteristics

This is not the first translation of Zhou´s article, neither it is perfect. But, I thought the China News version could have placed a greater emphasis on some of the concepts Zhou refers to, so I decided to make another translation for your reading pleasure.


The road to Innovate Social Management with Chinese Characteristics

Zhou Benshun

(Deputy Chairman, Secretary, Central Political-Legal Commission)



Strengthening and innovating social management are of utmost significance to raise the scientific level of social management, and ensure that society will not only be lively but will also be harmonious and stable. China and Western countries have fundamentally different political systems; fundamentally different social systems; fundamentally different national conditions; fundamentally different levels of development, which determine that social management in China must uphold the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics. [It must] innovate principles and ideas, institutional mechanisms, methods and measures on prominent problems in social management and their deeper causes, to truly walk on the path of social management with Chinese characteristics, and build up a scientific socialist system of social management with Chinese characteristics.

To innovate social management, our political and institutional advantages must be brought into full play. The structure of social management whereby party committees lead, the government bears responsibility, society coordinates and the masses participate gives concrete expression to our political and institutional advantage, is the root of strengthening and innovating social management, and must be energetically improved. The stance to consolidate the Party´s rule, guarantee the country´s lasting stability and durable peace, make sure the people live and work in peace and contentment must be taken. Problems of non-conformity between social management and the new situation must be solved realistically, avoiding mistaken beliefs and misrepresentations that eventually cause to fall into the trap of so-called “Civil Society”, set up for us by some Western countries. Strengthening and innovating social management does not mean an excessive delegation of government[al] matters to society. It rather means guaranteeing that party committees and governments´ social management and public services be up to standards. It does not mean stressing that social organizations should develop in proportion to the population, it rather means speeding up the reform and improving the functions of mass organizations, grass-roots self-government organizations, social organizations, enterprises and public institutions. It does not mean stressing that social organizations belong to the “third sector”, it rather means standardizing and guiding them, to incorporate them into the social management system directed by party committees and governments, guarantee their sound and orderly development, so they can really become an important complement to social management and [social] services.

In the past, some people have misunderstood two points of foreign social management. The first one is “small government, big society” as if most social management were a responsibility of society. In reality, not all developed countries have “small governments and big societies”. Many big countries have “big governments”, and the government bears the main tasks of social management. The second one is that social organizations belong to the “third sector”, as if they existed independently outside of the government´s social management system. In reality, most non-governmental organizations abroad are backed up by governments, and all of them exist under effective management by governments. cultivating and developing social organizations in our country, norms of conduct must be set, and “safety valves” must be pre-set, to avoid the mushrooming of social organizations with second motives.

To innovate social management, the Party´s fine traditions must be vigorously promoted. Our Party´s biggest fine tradition is mass work. Mass work is the fundamental, routine and basic work of social management. New methods and new ways to strengthen and improve mass work must be explored, so they can permeate each side and sector of social management. Past, effective methods of mass work we have inherited and used are the basis to continuously innovate methods of mass work according to new circumstances and new issues; to really give a modern meaning to the fine tradition of mass work, and to broaden the path of social management at each step. Concerning the hundred millions of floating population, we have really implemented basic public services for them, improving their lives and giving them hopes for the future. They will resolutely walk with the Party, embrace and support strategic decisions by party committees and governments, embrace and support social management. Concerning 70 per cent of urban residents who are employed by non-public economic organizations, we have spread SOE service management staff´s experience to non-public economic organizations, enabling non-public economic organizations to bear social responsibility towards their service management staff, making labor relations significantly more harmonious. Concerning 457 million internet users and 859 mobile phone users, while bringing into full play the relevant departments´ function of management according to the law, we have mobilized the enthusiasm of the broad internet users to purify the internet environment, and used supervision by the whole of society to develop a healthy an orderly virtual society. Concerning the ever-increasing competitive pressures in current society, the increase in mental diseases and other problems, we have promoted loving care by society, and psychological counseling, so cases and incidents of extreme behaviors by individuals have notably diminished. Only if the fine tradition of mass work will extend to all social management activities social management will take on a new look.

To innovate social management, successes in the social management culture of the Chinese Nation must be followed. As one of the best civilizations in the history of human kind, the Chinese civilization has several thousand years of experience in social governance, which can be drawn on it at least two respects. The first one is stressing moral and ethical education. Values as “benevolence, justice, norms of propriety, wisdom and faith”, contents from the “Three Characters Classic”, the “Standards for Being a Good Student and Child” and other classics are already in the blood of our race, and have been valuable in guiding human actions and regulating social order. The second one is stressing grass-roots self-government. In traditional society, there were no administrative organs below the county (xian) level, and self-government depended on country gentlemen and the lijia system. Aside from murder and other serious offences, most contradictions were voluntarily solved among the people. Today, our country´s rapid economic growth means that people can easily have high expectations from life, and if ideological and moral guidance is not strengthened, people´s appetites and desires will become stronger and stronger, to a point when placating social moods will be impossible. Politically, the people´s awareness of impartiality, democracy, rights, legality and supervision is increasing and if the influence of extreme individualism is not curbed while the lawful rights and interest and the masses are at the same time protected, achieving a harmonious and stable society will be difficult. Socially, contradictions among the people are many and diverse, and if a spirit of social tolerance and harmony is not promoted while handling [contradictions] impartially according to the law, if contradictions are not solved autonomously at grass-roots levels, and the channel of litigation is in any case used, not only litigation costs will rise, society will also fail to achieve harmony and stability. To strengthen and innovate social management, we can adapt the traditional moral values of “for [the benefit of] the public”, “for good”, “harmony” (和睦), “filial piety” and others to the demands of our time, and promote adoption of a view of honor and disgrace based on the Eight Honors and Eight Disgraces, to lay the ideological and moral foundations to safeguard social harmony and stability. Drawing support from traditional culture, borrowing traditional moral cultivation to extract from the core value system of socialism a value orientation based on a few characters which can be disseminated to the whole society, are easy to identify with and to observe, catchy and known to everyone is of incalculable value. We must analyze in depth spontaneous solutions found to popular controversies and the tradition of self-government in rural villages and create better methods to induce the masses to solve their matters by themselves, to provide a foundation for social harmony and stability.

To innovate social management, positive experiences in foreign social management must be drawn upon. The cultural history of each world country is basically the history of mutual learning and mutual aid. We must take positive experiences in foreign social management and selectively use them, learn them and absorb them from the world´s perspective, and use them for us. For instance, to promote an orderly management in accordance with the law some countries collect information about employment, income, honesty, criminal record and other basic information by means of a social security card and a wireless information network. Some countries can protect the rights and interests of foreign citizens and of their own nationals and also have an efficient management by collecting information about various biological features of the human body, as the iris, fingerprints, DNA and so on. Every spring and autumn some countries hold wage consultations between government officials, enterprise representatives and union cadres, thereby solving contradictions between enterprise profits and employees´ wages. In some countries members of the ruling party join local communities in all kinds of ordinary social service, to strengthen the ruling party´s influence on ordinary people in their community. Some countries share revenue from real estate tax with the community, to guarantee a stable source of income to communities, and enable them to provide “small services” to residents. Some countries give importance to rule of law´s authority, controversies and individual cases are not solved according to the rule of individual sacrifice, an environment in which things are done strictly according to the law has taken shape in society etc. etc. All of this can be borrowed and absorbed, adapted to our national circumstances and used to innovate. From this point of view, we oppose “transplants”, whereby wholesale transplant [takes place] regardless of whether it is useful or not. We appreciate a targeted absorption and reception that fits the conditions of our country.

走中国特色社会管理创新之路

周本顺

  加强和创新社会管理,对于提高社会管理科学化水平,确保社会既充满活力又和谐稳定具有极其重大的意义。中国与西方国家根本不同的政治制度、根本不同的社会制度、根本不同的国情、根本不同的发展阶段,决定了中国社会管理必须高举中国特色社会主义伟大旗帜,针对社会管理领域存在的突出问题及其产生的深层次原因,创新理念思路、体制机制、方法手段,真正走出一条有中国特色的社会管理创新之路,建设科学完备的中国特色社会主义社会管理体系。

  创新社会管理,要充分发挥我们的政治优势和制度优势。党委领导、政府负责、社会协同、公众参与的社会管理格局,是我们政治优势、制度优势的具体体现,是加强和创新社会管理的根本,要大力加以完善。一定要站在巩固党的执政地位、维护国家长治久安、保障人民安居乐业的高度,切实解决社会管理中与新形势不相适应的问题,防止误信、误传甚至落入某些西方国家为我们设计的所谓“公民社会”的陷阱。加强和创新社会管理,不是过多地把政府的事情交给社会去办,而是要确保党委和政府的社会管理与公共服务到位;不是过多强调按照人口比例发展社会组织,而是要加快群众组织、基层群众性自治组织、社会组织、企事业单位改革,完善职能;不是过多强调社会组织的“第三部门”属性,而是要加强对社会组织的规范、引导,将其纳入党委和政府主导的社会管理体系,确保其健康有序发展,真正成为社会管理和服务的重要补充。当前,一些人对国外社会管理的认识有两个误区:一是“小政府、大社会”,似乎大量的社会管理应该由社会负责。实际上,发达国家并非都是“小政府、大社会”,不少大国都是“大政府”,政府承担着社会管理的主要任务。二是社会组织属于“第三部门”,似乎独立于政府的社会管理体系之外。实际上,国外绝大多数非政府组织都有政府背景,都在政府的有效管理之下。在我国,培育、发展社会组织,一定要制定好行为规范,事先设好“安全阀”,防止一些别有用心的社会组织繁殖起来。

  创新社会管理,要大力弘扬党的优良传统。我们党最大的优良传统就是群众工作。群众工作是社会管理的基础性、经常性、根本性工作。要积极探索加强和改进群众工作的新途径新办法,将其贯穿到社会管理各个方面、各个环节。在继承和运用以往群众工作有效做法的基础上,针对新情况和新问题,不断创新群众工作方式方法,真正赋予群众工作这一优良传统以时代意义,社会管理之路就会越走越宽广。对数以亿计的流动人口,我们把基本公共服务真正落实到他们身上,使他们现实生活有改善、未来生活有希望,他们就会坚定不移地跟着党走,拥护、支持党委和政府的决策,拥护、支持社会管理;对在非公有制经济组织中就业的70%的城市就业人口,我们把国有企业服务管理员工的经验延伸到非公有制经济组织中,真正使非公有制经济组织承担起服务管理员工的社会责任,劳动关系就会和谐得多;对4.57亿网民、8.59亿手机用户,我们在发挥好有关部门依法管理职能作用的同时,把广大网民在净化网络环境中的积极性调动起来,发挥好全社会共同监督的作用,虚拟社会就会健康有序发展;针对当今社会竞争压力越来越大、心理疾病越来越多等问题,我们开展好社会关爱、心理服务工作,个人极端案(事)件就会大大减少。只要把群众工作的优良传统渗透到一切社会管理活动中去,社会管理就会得到更大改观。

  创新社会管理,要继承中华民族优秀社会管理文明成果。中华文明作为人类文明史上传承最好的文明之一,几千年的社会治理,至少在两个方面仍有借鉴意义:一是重视道德教化,“仁义礼智信”等价值观念和《三字经》、《弟子规》等经典,不少内容已融入我们的民族血液,在引导人们行为、规范社会秩序中发挥着重要作用。二是重视基层自治,传统社会县以下没有行政机关,主要靠乡绅、里甲自治,除杀人等重大犯罪外,大多数矛盾在民间自行消化解决。今天,我国经济高速增长,容易使人们产生对现实生活的高期望,如果不加强思想道德引导,反而把人们欲望的“胃口”吊得越来越高,社会情绪就无法安抚;政治上,人们的公平意识、民主意识、权利意识、法治意识、监督意识不断增强,如果不在维护群众合法权益的同时,遏制极端个人主义的影响,就难以实现社会和谐稳定;社会上,人民内部矛盾多样多发,如果不在坚持依法公正处理的同时,倡导社会宽容和谐精神,立足在基层自我化解,而是都走诉讼渠道,不仅诉讼成本高,社会也无法和谐稳定。我们加强和创新社会管理,可以对“为公”、“为善”、“和睦”、“孝悌”等传统美德进行符合时代要求的扬弃,促进人们牢固树立“八荣八耻”的荣辱观,为维护社会和谐稳定奠定思想道德基础。借助传统文化载体,借鉴传统道德教化的形式,把社会主义核心价值体系提炼成全社会易于认同、易于遵守的几个字的价值观,从娃娃抓起,在全社会大力宣传,做到朗朗上口、妇孺皆知,其作用不可估量。我们应当深入研究民间矛盾自我化解、乡村自治的历史文化传统,创造更好的方法形式,努力使群众自己的事情自己解决,打牢社会和谐稳定的根基。

  创新社会管理,要借鉴国外社会管理有益成果。世界各国的文明史本身就是相互借鉴、相互促进的历史。对国外社会管理的有益成果,我们要采取“拿来主义”,以世界眼光认真借鉴吸收,为我所用。比如,有的国家通过人手一张有形的社会保障卡和无形的科技信息网络,把人的就业、收入、诚信、守法等基本信息集中起来,促进依法有序管理;有的国家通过采集人身上不同的生物学特征信息如虹膜、指纹、DNA等,对本国人、外国人既严格保护个人合法权益又进行有效管理;有的国家每年春天、秋天,由政府官员、企业代表、工会干部三方协商员工工资,有效解决企业效益与员工收入的矛盾;有的国家执政党组织党员广泛融入社会,参与社区各种日常服务,增强执政党在普通社区民众中的影响力;有的国家实行房地产税与社区分成,使社区有稳定的收入来源,有能力搞好面向社区居民的“小服务”;有的国家重视法治权威,处理矛盾、个案不以牺牲规则为代价,在全社会形成严格依法办事的环境等等,都可以借鉴吸收,结合国情予以创新。在这方面,我们反对的是“搬来主义”,不管有用无用,全部照搬,赞成的是结合我国国情进行针对性的消化、吸收。


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