Demonstrations against the insufficient crackdown on illegal fundraising in Anyang, Henan Province, simmered as the local government pledged to increase measures to combat related crimes.
Group incidents concerning certain interest demands happened in Henan and Ningxia at the beginning of this year. They attracted much attention from the Western media. For 2012, maybe we shouldn't be too optimistic about having a stable society.
China's group incidents are characterized by reasonable requirements as well as extreme demands. It's hard to generalize. Various reforms are proceeding in China and are driving improvements in people's livelihoods. In general, the public has a positive expectation for social development and China will continue to hold a favorable position on the international stage.
Chinese society in 2012 will be shaped by various forces as well as various problems. What's important is not to exaggerate the implication of certain issues, for example, minor matters shouldn't be given attention that is out of proportion to their scope.
China is learning to deal with group incidents. It is still uncertain about the results of those protests, how will they develop and what the solution is. Protests usually disturb Chinese more than they disturb people in other countries.
China should make substantial efforts to reduce group incidents, including doing its utmost to eliminate public dissatisfaction, ensuring smooth communication channels and promoting favorable social sentiment. These are the basis for social stability and harmony.
But it's far from enough. China should avoid allowing grass-roots mass incidents to become national political issues. This is particularly important considering the forthcoming 18th National Congress of the Communist Party. Much of the public has the impression that society may easily get caught up in turbulence during this national party congress year. If the authorities focus too much on group incidents, they will encourage certain people to mount protests as shortcut way of realizing and maximizing their interests.
It is unrealistic for China to expect too much social stability in the future. We should form a reasonable attitude toward group incidents when dealing with problems. This is necessary to realize long-term social stability.
It is never easy to correctly forecast the situation in China. Misjudgments have repeatedly occurred in the history of the country. Nowadays, free expression brought about by the Internet further complicates things.
The Chinese public's support for the country's current development path and their tolerance for protests are greatly underestimated. Facing the Arab Spring, some people mistakenly compared those states, which have failed to globalize, with China, arguing that protests could also have a similar effect here. China should smash such misconceptions.
China finds itself in a golden age for development unprecedented in modern times. Will the country lose hope owing to some social dissonance? The public is too smart for that.
Rationally handling group incidents doesn't go against solving problems. Combining the two is necessary to meet the demands of China's complex situation. Minor matters will not cause the country's development to stagger.
We should welcome the opening of the 18th Party Congress in a normal state of mind. This is indispensable for China's development.