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Gov't must lead drive toward greater honesty

(People's Daily Online)

15:40, October 24, 2011

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

The plan for the social credit system developed and deployed at the recent standing meeting of the State Council points out that dishonesty is still persistent in society, and incidents of business fraud, counterfeiting, fraudulent claims and academic misconduct still remain widespread after repeated prohibitions, which has lead to dissatisfaction among the people.

A Western philosopher once said, "Trust is what we must preserve, for it is just like air and water. The society we live in will fall apart once it is damaged." It may not go so far as to "fall apart," but we really have had enough of the bitter wine made of the lack of honesty and low public mutual trust. When society has reached a point where one is not sure whether he or she should help a fallen elderly person, the time has come when social honesty must be examined and reconstructed.

The government should be the establisher, implementer and maintainer of social credibility and also a model of public credibility and the wind vane of all social credibility. Such an orientation determines that governmental creditability is the first credibility of society and the core of the entire social credit system.

The philosopher Thomas Hobbes once said that honesty and credibility are the main principles and foundations of government and the social order. If government credibility is lost, the entire building of credibility will collapse. Then enterprise credibility and individual credibility will be lost too. The old saying, "The village watches the village, the household watches the household. and the masses watch the cadre," is a reflection of this principle.

However, one thing that is an embarrassment to China is that the government's credibility and reputation are actually very bad in some places. An investigation made by the Xiao Kang magazine in 2010 shows that more than 70 percent of the respondents expressed that they did not trust their basic level governments and a little more than 80 percent of respondents chose the local governmental officials as the group with lowest credibility. It is really an irony that the ones that should have the highest credibility are actually the ones that have the lowest credibility in the opinion of the public.

If China wants to solve this intensifying social credibility crisis and reverse the decline of social credibility, government credibility must be changed first. The problem of government credibility could be solved by two measures: rules and supervision. Francis Fukuyama, a U.S. scholar, believes that the main difference between the East and the West in the area of credibility is that the credibility relies on the law, regulations, systems and religious beliefs in the West, but it relies on the mutual trust among the people in the East.

As society becomes more complicated and a society of acquaintances changes into a society of strangers, creditability maintained by interpersonal relations will not be reliable any more. Therefore, in order to rebuild credibility, the supplies of laws, regulation and systems must be increased. The benefit from creditability should be increased, the cost of non-creditability must be increased too and credibility should accord with the principle of cost-benefit direct proportion.

Only when governmental creditability gets out of the closed "one-man show" system and puts itself in the whole creditability system can it be supervised and promoted. In other words, in order to promote governmental creditability, China must create conditions to enable the public to widely participate in the decision-making of and supervision on the governmental public affairs. Only in this way can the sufficiency of the power of building up and maintaining governmental creditability be guaranteed.



Leave your comment8 comments

  1. Name

PD User at 2011-10-2561.91.251.*
Good report, please keep going on.
Tanner Boyle at 2011-10-25218.15.236.*
I think it would be helpful if Chinese government officials submitted their tax documents to the public every year. This would help build trust with the people.
Canada at 2011-10-2470.36.49.*
The United States, in its quest for world hegemony and domination, is trying to tear China apart by its false claims that Western “democracies”, Western society, is superior to China. There is no genuine democracy in Western countries. The masses are totally alienated and removed from any real decision making. There is a “one man system” in Western countries too, and it’s the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, representing a tiny percentage of the population. Once every 4 years Western “democracy” lets the people vote on which party can oppress them for the next 4 years. The only choice on the ballot is 2 parties in the U.S., 3 parties in Canada, all of which are staunch defenders of capitalism. In China the “one man system” is the dictatorship of the proletariat, the Chinese Communist Party, representing the masses. I can’t stress enough how important it is to preserve that, especially until China is fully developed, years from now. There is no way that China would have advanced to the point it is now in such a short period of time without the CPC leadership. The United States wants a transfer of power in China into the hands of the bourgeoisie, the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, and they are using the smokescreen of democracy and freedom to ferment dissatisfaction & unrest to achieve that. Kruschev dealt a fatal blow to Chinese industrialization when he withdrew blueprints, technical and other help. After Mao’s death the CPC leadership made the decision to open up to the West and are achieving rapid industrialization, modernization, technology. The inherent contradictions of capitalism are what are causing existing problems in Chinese society. The CPC leadership is getting blamed for capitalist/corporate misdeeds and corruption at home and abroad. Some members of the Communist party are themselves getting co-opted and corrupted by the capitalist influence. That has always been the danger of opening up to the West. The CPC leadership is working hard to make a better, well off life for the masses. The bourgeoisie dictatorship in the West is working hard to make a well off life for themselves, as you can see from the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters who say they represent the 99%.In China’s rapid industrialization, the CPC leadership has had to focus on, assimilate, and master a terrific amount of knowledge, technology and expertise in a short space of time, a superhuman effort. It is a historical experiment with no previous model, made extremely difficult because of extreme external pressures that also require the modernization of the military for defense of the motherland. No other country in the world came this far, this fast. The masses need to give the CPC leadership space and time, many years, to build the social structures of society. It takes time to learn what works and what doesn’t work, trial, error, correction, remembering China has a different cultural heritage than the West. Absolutely, corruption, fraud, dishonesty & public trust are grave problems and need to be addressed by the CPC leadership and the masses, and the masses need to constructively help. Remember too, Lenin said “left-wing communism is an infantile disorder”. If the centralized government, the dictatorship of the proletariat, the “one man system” represented by the CPC leadership is abandoned, these problems will never be resolved, they will escalate and be cemented in society, and China will end up as a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. That is the gravest danger of the historical experiment. If China can get over the red herring of the “one man system”, there can be a genuine partnership, genuine cooperation and harmony, between the masses and the CPC, both working cooperatively and in harmony to build a society everyone is happy to live in.
wende at 2011-10-2471.125.85.*
Top level officials up to the provincial level should be called in to be admonish to straighten their ways or face shameful dismissal. Provincial officials would then disseminate to the next level and so forth and so on. Saying goes "when the top is not straight, the bottom will be crooked".
sanarco 2 at 2011-10-24124.210.129.*
You need not quote wisemen to show the distrust and egotism rampant in China. We know the problem is in large part in the corruption and nepotism among leaders of both local and central administrations.

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