New challenges for new leaders

By Robert Lawrence Kuhn
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, March 19, 2013
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Healthcare. How to restructure China's healthcare system, providing all citizens with competent, contemporary medical services? How to redress gross disparities between urban and rural healthcare? How to curtail systemic corruption?

Education. How to provide quality education for all citizens, reducing severe imbalances between urban and rural schooling? How to rethink traditional Chinese education, which focuses on standardized tests, so that students may be prepared for contemporary society where knowledge creation and social sensitivities predominate?

Housing. How to provide adequate housing at affordable prices? How to prevent housing prices from rising so high that young people cannot afford them -but to do so without undercutting property markets (on which local governments and banks depend)?

Retirement. How to give confidence to citizens that they will have adequate funds for their senior years? (Only then will people spend on current consumption.)

Food safety. How to make sure that China's food supply is safe? How to assure food quality and restore public confidence?

Values and morals. China's values were long based on Confucian ethics, until extreme leftism repudiated them. Now the market economy rewards individual initiative. What values should shape today's China? What about the resurgence of religion?

Governance and democracy

Constitution and rule of law. How to establish the overarching, adjudicating power of China's Constitution? How to make the rule of law supreme? How to bring about an independent judiciary?

Government and Party leadership. How to build transparency, accountability and checks-and-balances into China's system of governance? How to transfer some processes and mechanisms of governance to broader segments of society?

Public information and national security. How to balance national security and the public's right to know? For example, should environmental data be "state secrets"?

Corruption. How to reduce graft, bribery, fraud and other malfeasances - especially when massive and sudden wealth-creation is facilitated by officials unfettered by checks and balances? How to engage the power of the press and new media to root out corruption?

Media and new media. How to encourage individual freedom of expression without undermining collective stability? How to mobilize the power of the people for the good of the country?

Non-government organizations. What is the evolving role of NGOs, such as environmental advocacy groups, in handling complex issues? What about labor unions (heretofore a contradiction in a nominally Communist system)?

Democracy. How to build democracy so that citizens are enabled to participate in the process of governance? How can the transforming power of social media be channeled to promote a democracy that works?

Human rights. How to protect individual human rights while continuing to privilege the collective rights of the large majority? How to make human rights a priority in China?

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