The 12th National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, convened on Tuesday, and the country's leadership shift will be completed within the next few days. The formation of the new leadership and the country's ministerial reform are the focus of attention during China's two sessions involving the NPC and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Both domestic and international watchers will be fixated on hints of China's reforms. Chinese society hopes that the two sessions this year will be sessions that usher in valuable reforms.
Chinese people's earnest anticipation toward reforms has come to a climax in recent years. How to best channel this anticipation into a driving force of reform will test the Party's capability of dealing with the complexity of China's reforms.
More than 100 days have passed since the 18th Party Congress in November last year. Determination to reform expressed by the new leadership has come to the forefront. This has strengthened the public's expectations about the country's expanded reforms.
Determination for reform among China's leadership aligns with the wishes of the public, which is a positive indicator for China's development. China's economy is still developing rapidly, as is the pace of society's advancement. Nevertheless, we can sense difficulties and risks of social changes.
The biggest reason is that society's diversification is accelerating, while the country's political environment finds it hard to adapt to this manifestation. Diversity entails different interests among different groups. Adjusting the balance between such interests that can at times conflict is at the cornerstone of reforms. It adds some sort of sensitivity compared with the economic reforms decades ago, when China pushed wealth generation. Although fairness is served as a moral standard, reforms aimed at the adjustment of interests can't satisfy all.
Making China's early reforms "active" was a key goal, but "achieving fairness" in the modern era is more complicated. China gave up fairness before its opening-up and reform. Nowadays, we need to pursue fairness based on the rapid social development and diversification. There is little experience of achieving such fairness in human history. Even examples deemed successful suffer from fragmented functioning.
As public opinions bloom, people's views about the ultimate goal of reforms have diversified. There have been calls for China's reform to go beyond the constitution. China lacks experience in dealing with such calls, and there is no consensus among main stream society as to whether we should input energy into this problem-solving endeavor.
The Party must take the lead in the reform process, but the way it leads needs to be in touch with current times. Fu Ying, spokeswoman for the first session of the 12th NPC, said on Monday that it's rare to see countries carry out reforms over 30 years like China.
But it's quite another matter to make the whole of society recognize this feat. This needs the continuation of China's reforms, as well as consensus toward the nature, objective and path of reforms.