During his July 1 speech to mark the Communist Party of China's 90th anniversary, top Party leader Hu Jintao reiterated the importance of maintaining the country's stability. This is not only an understanding based on the CPC's 60 years of leading the country, but also on Chinese society's painful lessons in the past century.
With China's reform and opening-up becoming deeper, whether the country can stay politically stable in the future will be a top global concern.
The Chinese people have become used to being free of wars and major turmoil. Almost nobody will disagree that stability is essential for this country.
However, opinions are divided as to what "stability" exactly means and as to how many "unstable elements" can be tolerated.
Some say the authorities' definition of stability is too rigid, lacks flexibility and that the price to keep this stability is too high. They also say that more diversified elements should be allowed for China's long-term stability. These points emerge from Western countries' experiences in governing highly diverse societies.
But no one can give a clear answer as to where this path will lead China. No one knows whether increased "vitality" will have an endpoint, or whether China will lose basic order before then. The Soviet Union's disintegration within a couple of years cast such a huge shadow on China that many still tend to believe that the West's time-honored practices may not work in China – that in fact they will prove utterly counterproductive.
There are contradictory theories. Some say China is too big, and that destabilizing problems will crop up here and there. Others say that due to its size, small problems will not shake the country. When concluding that stability efforts are either too much or not enough, both theories may sound reasonable.
However, China should be a place for practice, not for theories or ideologies. In the past three decades, China has not been running under a single theory, and its stances have sometimes seemed contradictory. But the country is solidly striding forward.
The CPC has a clear goal: to build a modernized country. It also has a slogan that "development is an essential rule, and stability is an essential task." The idea of a modernized country can grow with time and so can the ideals of development and stability.
It is not an easy task to keep developing while being stable. The outside world has also been showing great interest in China's stability, sometimes overtaking their interest in China's GDP. This is also why the authorities cannot idealize issues involving the country's stability, as this will determine China's future and its people's lives.