[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.








No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting! Your comment will be moderated in 12 hours