Chinese President Hu Jintao instructed the country's leading officials and Party cadres to place "building a harmonious society" top on their work agenda, when addressing a high-level Party seminar.
"The CPC and the central government have made it an important task to build a harmonious society, as China is facing thorny domestic issues, as well as complicated and volatile international situations," said Hu, who is also general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
He made the remarks at the opening ceremony of a 7-day training course beginning Feb. 19, which was sponsored by the Party School of the CPC Central Committee and attended by major provincial- and ministerial-level leaders.
Xinhua released the full text of Hu's speech on Sunday.
China's per capita value of gross domestic production (GDP) has exceed US$1,000, but that does not necessarily translate into smooth economic growth and steady social development.
"This period is a crucial stage for the economic and social development for a country in the process of modernization, as proven by experiences of many countries in the world," Hu said. Some have succeeded in the social and economic transition into prosperity, but many others have suffered from stagnation and social turbulence due to inadequate policy-making, he noted.
"The problems and contradictions China will face in the next decades may be even more complicated and thorny than others" as it is turning from a planned economy to a market economy with its social structure and ideological setup also in major shake-up, Hu acknowledged.
"Independent thinking of the general public, their newly-developed penchant for independent choices and thus the widening gap of ideas among different social strata will pose further challenges to China's policy makers," he said. "Negative and corruptive phenomena and more and more rampant crimes in the society will also jeopardize social stability and harmony."
In view of the international situations, Hu noted that building a harmonious society is also a requisite requirement for the Chinese authorities to clear away challenges and risks in the international relations, including unfair world order, rocky road of multi-polarization of world political framework, pressure from economic globalization, and security concerns.
Harmony Means Democracy, Justice...
"A harmonious society should feature democracy, the rule of law, equity, justice, sincerity, amity and vitality," Hu said.
Such a society will give full scope to people's talent and creativity, enable all the people to share the social wealth brought by reform and development, and forge an ever closer relationship between the people and government. "These things will thus result in lasting stability and unity," Hu said.
To meet this goal, Hu told the country's high-ranking officials to:
-- Strive for sustained, rapid and coordinated economic growth;
Sound economic growth and increasing abundance of social wealth are the material foundation for a harmonious society, and the well-being of the country's rural population will play a decisive role. "When the farmers can lead a good life and assume a higher overall quality, the vast countryside will be stable and prosperous."
-- Develop socialist democracy;
By developing democracy, the people's opinions may be further let out, their intelligence be fully absorbed, and a democratic policy-making mechanism will help balance different social interests and avoid social conflicts.
-- Actively enforce the principle of rule of law;
The rule of law is important for the promotion, realization and safeguarding of a harmonious society. This principle should be rigorously implemented in all political, administrative and judicial sectors to ensure the powerful be checked and accountable for their misdeeds.
-- Strengthen ideological and ethical buildup;
"Without a common ideological aspiration or high moral standard, a harmonious society will be a mansion built on sand." Honesty, unity, fraternity, professional ethics should be advocated to the whole society.
-- Maintain social equity and justice;
Social equity and justice is key to bringing people's creativity and initiatives to full play, because people will not be happy without it. It is important to balance different interests and strive to ensure equality for all in terms of personal rights, opportunities, game-playing rules and wealth distribution.
-- Establish a fine-tuned social management system and well handle the people's internal contradictions;
Social conflicts are emerging in great numbers and in more varied forms, which are inevitable for China at the present stage. But they must be properly handled in case they pose risks to the overall development of the country.
-- And to beef up environmental protection.
"The present ecological and environmental situations in China are rather tough and grave in some places." Without a sound natural environment, people will have no clean water to drink, fresh air to breath, healthy food to eat, which will result in serious social problems."
Hu called on the high-ranking officials to put building a harmonious society on their top work agenda, do a good job in serving the people, and probe into theories relating to the building of a harmonious society.
It will be a long-term, systematic project, and the whole Party and the government must constantly remind themselves of the sense of mission and take up their responsibilities in leading the construction of a harmonious society for the smooth transition of the Chinese society in the next decades, Hu said.
(Xinhua News Agency June 27, 2005)