More than 200 scholars from nearly 20 countries attended a forum in east China's Zhejiang Province to discuss the significance of the Chinese mode of social governance to the world. They agreed that China can provide wisdom to a world that is in need of new governance models.
After visiting the eastern Chinese town of Zhili, British sociologist Martin Albrow was as much impressed by its booming manufacturing economy as by its unique mode of social governance.
Home to about 13,000 clothing manufacturers and some 350,000 migrants, which accounts for 78 percent of its population, Zhili used to be a headache for authorities in social governance, given the complexities of interpersonal relationships among residents who came from all across the country.
However, after adopting what authorities called an "embroidery" style of social governance, which emphasizes micro-management, Zhili has transformed itself into a model town where people of different backgrounds live in harmony.
"If experience is the true source of knowledge, it is from you that we should be learning," Albrow told a forum held in Zhili in Zhejiang Province this week, where more than 200 scholars from nearly 20 countries gathered to discuss the significance of the Chinese mode of social governance to the world.
The "International Forum: The Significance of China's Social Governance to the World" is held in Huzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, Nov. 18, 2019. (Xinhua/Huang Zongzhi)
A volunteer group named "Peace Sisters," comprised of 25 female migrant entrepreneurs, was formed by people in Zhili to solve community disputes.
Over the past three years, with the help of the local government, the group mediated more than 800 disputes involving over 1,200 new residents, and successfully solved over 97 percent of them.
Xu Weili, the founder of the group, moved to Zhili in 2003 from northeast China's Liaoning Province to start her kid garment business.
"After making a fortune in Zhili, I started to think about what I could do for the town, which I regard as my second hometown," Xu said.
Iryna Nykorak, a member of Kyiv City Council of Ukraine and the head of the Ukrainian Silk Road Association, was inspired by the way Zhili residents getting help from the government and social groups in solving disputes.
"In Ukraine, we don't have such groups. People live separately and resolve their problems by themselves. They don't have much support from the government or the state authorities," said Nykorak.
"Social governance in China is rooted in a centuries-old culture where the government is integral to people's relationships with each other," said Albrow.
Volunteers introduce garbage sorting and recycling tips to villagers in Yingfeng village of Lin'an District in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, May. 7, 2019. (Xinhua/Xu Yu)
Drawing support from the public is another feature of the Chinese model of social governance.
Yu Cuiying, 61, is a resident of Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang. Every day at 6 a.m., after putting on a red waistcoat and a pair of sneakers, she starts her day's duty as a community vigilante, which involves patrolling the neighborhoods and regularly reporting suspicious incidents to a WeChat group.
Over the years, the number of Hangzhou's community vigilantes has grown from merely 18 to more than 42,000. They have played a key role in mediating disputes, deterring unruly behaviors, as well as collecting public opinions and maintaining social order.
"The Chinese model of social governance aims to solve China's unique problems," said Ouyang Kang, director of the Institute of State Governance of Huazhong University of Science and Technology. "A prominent feature is that it is participated in by the public and its benefits are shared by the public."
British sociologist Martin Albrow addresses the "International Forum: The Significance of China's Social Governance to the World" in Huzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, Nov. 18, 2019. (Xinhua/Huang Zongzhi)
At the forum, experts from home and abroad agreed that China can provide wisdom to a world that is in need of new governance models.
"The Chinese social-political model is an attractive one for many developing countries. Each country should choose its own best economic and political model," said Jiri Paroubek, former prime minister of the Czech Republic.
The key to social governance is to boost social development and people's welfare, said Albrow, adding that the Chinese way of social governance can also help European countries ease social tensions.
(Reporting by He Lingling, Shang Yiying, Yin Xiaosheng, Yue Deliang, Ma Jian, Zhou Erjie, Cui Li; Video reporters: Yin Xiaosheng, He Lingling, Shang Yiying, Yue Deliang, Ma Jian, Mei Yuanlong, Wang Yiwen; Video editor: Peng Ying)