Zhou Xiaoping’s articles are often published on major media like Global Times, Communist Party website or Xinhua Net. He was once popular for doubting many big shots on Sina Weibo.
1, Since the reform and open up, there are three major forces that have been promoting the multi-dimensional and profound reform in Chinese society. They are: high-speed economic growth supported by the market system; gradually increasing systemic reform and the ever-expanding open-up. The promoter behind these forces is the State. Through assigning power to the market, the society and local government and purposefully bringing international elements to domestic economic life, the single “all around” governance structure has gradually become richer. Not only there are more diversified body of governance, but the State is mastering and learning new ways of governance. However, over the past three decades of development, the State has changed from the promoter of reform to the object of reform. It is even becoming the object of the forced. The reason that the State has become the object of reform is because there are fundamental changes in economic and social environment. There are mainly 8 aspects:
2, (1) From a controlling society to an autonomous society. In an autonomous society, on one hand there is increased ability for the society to make autonomous decisions; on the other hand the process for a society to obey a single decision is more complicated and costly. A new coordination mechanism is needed to integrate the multi-dimensional decision-making body.This is undoubtedly a challenge for the whole society to reach consensus and carry out collective campaigns.
3, (2), From a separate and static society to a more mobile society. (3) From an integrated society to a multi-faceted society. Since the reform and open up, along with development of market force and the concession of political power, the nature of a more multi-faceted society is becoming increasingly explicit. It is mostly expressed in two aspects. One is the considerable increase of main bodies of social events. In the economic field it is shown in the dramatic increase of the number of people who are legal persons in non-government sectors and people who work in non-government economic units. In the social field it is shown in the emergence of new emerging civil society and organizations. On the other hand there is increased awareness of social events. The momentum of their increased awareness is the concern of their own interests. The increased awareness of these bodies also promote more autonomous actions of these multi-faceted bodies.
4(4): From a closed and isolated society to an open society. This gives the state new challenges: on one hand it needs to avoid international influences on solving domestic problems, which needs more serious advocacy on the independence and integrity of sovereign power. On the other hand to speed up the problem solving of some domestic problems, it is also necessary to respond to the demands from international society.
(5), From a producing society to a consuming society.
5, (6) From a society of state wealth to individual wealth. These changes not only limit the control of state power, influence the scope, intensity and mode of social activities; what is more important is that it provides material support on the increased awareness of social bodies. They have more wealth and therefore pay more attention on their personal interests and risks. Meanwhile it presents new challenges to large scale social events, which is how to facilitate cooperation among a large number of people who are with a considerable amount of wealth.
6, (7), From a society of constant economic growth to a society of sustainable growth.
There are accelerating signs of all kinds of negative results because of one-sided emphasis on economic growth, due to deepened reform and open-up. The supportive capacity of ecological environment to economic growth and the decreasing tolerance of widening gap of social wealth are directly challenging the current economic growth model.
7, (8) From a low risk society to a high-risk society
These changes pose two challenges on the state-centered governance structure: one is though the current governance structure is still highly effective when dealing with big events that need to consolidate lots of resources, for many problems in society, particularly those more micro, personal and unexpected problems it is much less effective. This has created the huge gap: on one hand the country could still engage in large-scale projects and events; on the other hand there are continuous mistakes on the problem-solving of daily events. There is a gulf between people’s expectations and the goal of the country’s development.
8, The second crash is the result of the previous one, which is the core of governance - the authority and trust of the state is decreased. Though China has a long history of centering on the State and the society generally submits to national authority, when dealing with a large number of new problems, no matter it is the speed of response or the capacity of response there are obvious shortcomings. What is more important is that for some typical events the weakness that the State has shown make the society and people doubt the fairness and legitimacy of state authority. There is crisis of state legitimacy. The lack of trust on the State definitely could lead to non-submission to all kinds of system, which undoubtedly damage the environment of building social trust. It also makes social bodies difficult to manage their expectations.
9, Along with the deepening of globalization and informationalization, the reform of a country’s governance must accept the judgement from international society and also needs to learn lessons from international experiences. Meanwhile it needs to be open.
10, In the governance system of a modern country, though the State shoulders the responsibility of the firewall, but it should not be the “all around responsible body” in the highly planned economic era. Only allowing all governing bodies to shoulder their responsibilities and duties can there be a reasonable relation between the state and society and among different internal sectors.
11, Not only do we need a modern governance path that is suitable for China’s situation and the construction of a governance system of Chinese characteristics to solve all kinds of problems in China; but we also need to respond to the requests and judgement from international society. Therefore dialogue and communication is needed with the international society.