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Philosophy of Harmony
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Unlike many of its kind in the past decades, the upcoming plenary session of the 16th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee will concentrate on a rather philosophical topic -- social harmony.

At a Monday forum reviewing documents to be presented to the all-important event, CPC General Secretary Hu Jintao and his colleagues on the Party's Political Bureau decided to incorporate public opinions and refine their roadmap toward the harmonious society they have envisaged.

Once officially endorsed at the plenary session, the documents will no doubt go down in history as a milestone that marks not only a brand-new governance philosophy, but also a mature sense of direction in the CPC's approach to development.

Hu and his CPC comrades will show that their talk about harmony is not just soothing rhetoric. Instead, they want to deliver genuine benefits conducive to everybody's well-being.

The proposed "Decisions on Some Major Questions about Building A Harmonious Socialist Society," the centre-piece of discussions on Monday, carries forward a consistent emphasis on the human and social dimensions in the measurement of development.

Since its debut in the official report of the CPC's 16th National Congress, the ideal of social harmony has triggered serious soul-searching party-wide. As the outcome of party discourse about good governance as well as the people-first approach of the new-generation leaders, social harmony has evolved into a core value that defines and distinguishes their way of governance.

Behind the Decisions are years of painstaking searches for solutions to social ills that threaten to offset many of our recent achievements on the economic front.

At the request of the CPC leadership, various surveys, research projects and experiments have been carried out in the past few years, to collect information, solicit opinions and try out new management ideas.

Starting from early 2004, there were several major official surveys to monitor and gauge recent social changes. The recent prominence of such topics as new social strata has a lot to do with this homework.

On their recent inspection trips outside Beijing, major CPC leaders went to great lengths to accentuate harmony. While expounding the leadership's perceptions of harmony, they displayed keen interest in sharing local stories and perspectives.

Most remarkable of all was the week-long symposium on harmonious society that convened major provincial-ministerial level officials in February 2005, at which Hu Jintao gave a speech explaining what a harmonious society means and how to build it.

Hu's and the CPC leadership's definition of social harmony incorporates such qualities as democracy and rule of law, fairness and justice, honesty and friendly affection, vitality, stability and orderliness, as well as harmonious co-existence of man and nature.

And their ideal of harmony is not limited by boundaries of nation states. On their trips overseas, during meetings with visiting foreign guests, Hu and his colleagues are tirelessly promoting the concept of a harmonious world.

At the centre of such harmony is the spirit of sharing. At home, the CPC wants to let every member of society share the benefits of development. In the global context, they want the same for all nations, regardless of cultural backgrounds.

For the magnificent ideal of universal harmony, we wish next month's CPC plenary session complete success.

(China Daily September 27, 2006)

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