Consensus is key to ongoing reform

Source:Global Times Published: 2013-10-15 23:53:01

It has become a common consensus that we must be committed to addressing thorny issues in China's reform. However, what the so-called thorny issues are is actually quite obscure.

During the preliminary stage of reform, the main task was to break through policy constraints. For instance, we needed to emancipate our mind in the implementation of the contract responsibility system in rural areas, the permission of the establishment of farmers markets in cities and the practice of performance assessment in factories. Those policies have generated explicit results and feedback, but the present reform that is reputed to have entered uncharted waters is "complicated" mainly in terms of the diversification of interests and responses to it, so that each difficulty takes on a three-dimensional or even multi-faceted nature.

Public opinion holds that the existence of interest groups is probably an intractable issue in reform, but it should be noted that such groups mainly refer to certain government departments and monopolized industries led by State-owned enterprises. Past experience tells us that these institutions have no power to resist reform.

Actually the interest groups in China are quite different from the open and specific interest groups in the Western world. Obamacare has not been carried out due to repeated strikes from three major forces in the US.

Obstacles in China's reform involve more objective problems instead of subjective resistance. Therefore, perhaps a real difficulty in reform lies in working out an institution to engage the whole society in reaching common consensus to solve the conundrum.

In addition, a stable society features fixed interest groups. Any break-off from such a rule may trigger turbulence but complete noninterference will lead to social polarization and injustice. Thus setting up a flexible interest mechanism is counted as another knot in the process of reform.

China needs to establish mechanisms to ensure fairness and justice in every aspect. The government is unable to assume an unlimited number of responsibilities, so the general public is supposed to give fully their motivation and creativity.

Amid the unprecedented development in China is public discontent with the state's defects and problems. It is hard to rebuild an objective reform evaluation system approved by both the authorities and the people.

Putting in place reform in a harsh environment with open public opinion constitutes an extra problem. Not only  should the government keep tolerant toward divergent opinions but the society shall also accept reform results not as satisfactory as predicted.

There exists a lasting challenge. We shall guard against getting lost in the general direction of state politics in the reform process. And the rule is that the more political consensus a society has, the more capable it will be in economic and social reform.

Posted in: Editorial

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