Harmonious society does not mean zero-complaint

08:12, September 30, 2009      

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Li Hongmei People's Daily online

To achieve an all-win harmony, many local authorities have been overzealously pursuing a "no complaining" goal throughout the regions under their jurisdiction. Some even proposed lately a nationwide campaign be fully unfolded to promulgate the conception of "a zero-complaint society,"as they deem a harmonious society must be free of public complaints and private grievances.

That said, too many complaints would endanger the social stability and harmony. But a society without complaints is almost nonexistent, unless the public voices are muffled or the pent-up discontent finds no outlet, neither of which should be translated as a harmonious society in its true essence.

Admittedly, harmony represents a defining value of China's cultural traditions. And it is an ideal that the Chinese nation has unremittingly sought after. But the harmony cherished by the Chinese gentlemen and standing for the highest aspiration of the common people is by no means a complete uniformity silencing different voices and suppressing outcries.

Nonetheless, a real harmony should be accomplished by defusing public resentment rather than trying to diminish or eliminate public clamors. And a harmonious society should be one which will accommodate different views and dissidents who are sincerely striving to better the conditions instead of attempting to foul things up.

To build up a harmonious and stable society, a constructive and effective complaint management mechanism should be first of all put in place, through which public concerns will have an unimpeded access to being addressed. This is a basic guarantee for individuals to exercise their due civil rights. In so doing, the public resentment pointing to some corrupt officials would not further erode into the orgies of social hatred which will probably brew into mass unrest under some circumstances.

On top of that, a harmonious society also needs a sound and authoritative judicial system with the ideal to achieve unity between the material and the spiritual, democracy and rule of law, fairness and efficiency, and vitality and order. Just for one thing, coming to judiciary for legal aid should become the bottom line for ordinary citizens to secure their basic human rights.

If one more is added, a harmonious society calls for the open and transparent media as an emotional outlet for public opinions, including discontent and complaints. Only when people are granted the channel to voice their resentment, will they give up the intention to take to street. Viewed from this prism, the so-called "no complaining" campaign proposal, put forward by those who have little knowledge of public relations, will be not only their undoing but in the end will spell a real disaster for social stability.

To sum up, the great scourge endangering the social stability and harmony is by no means public complaints, but the general foul atmosphere fermented by always keeping the lid on.
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