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China’s Pursuit of Harmony: Hope and Reality

  • Günter Schucher

There is little doubt that the 2,220 delegates at the 17th Congress of the Communist Party of China will elevate Hu Jintao’s idea of a harmonious China to the Party’s orthodoxy. This concept accepts the existence of social contradictions and thus the rightfulness of social protest for the very first time. Social unrest has been increasing in China for many years now. The reasons for this are manifold; the steadily deepening income gap is one of the main factors. Unrest is further fuelled by the corrupt nature of cadres and by unreasonably brutal police operations. To ease the tension and create a harmonious environment for its congress, the centre of the Party insists that the local governments must try to understand people’s needs and handle conflicts with empathy. At the same time, however, local police forces are being strengthened and surveillance is being stepped up. By and large, the leadership has shown a greater degree of adaptability to social and political change than expected and its new balanced strategy has become more responsive. But without creating any new institutions to integrate the emerging group interests of a pluralising society, it will not be able to achieve the harmony it is apparently seeking in the long term.

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Article provided by Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg in its journal China aktuell - Journal of Current Chinese Affairs.

Volume (Year): 36 (2007)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Pages: 40-69

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Handle: RePEc:gig:chaktu:v:36:y:2007:i:5:p:40-69
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