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                  Forum explores social governance amid pandemic

                  Author  :  WEI SIYU     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2020-04-18

                  In light of fighting COVID-19, the focus on social governance has further shifted to the local community level, said experts at an online summit in late March with the theme of modernizing social governance capacity amid the pandemic.

                  Li Qiang, a professor from the School of Social Sciences at Tsinghua University, said that the shift is a prominent feature in epidemic prevention and control. In the process of containing the virus, social governance innovation and the mobilization of all people have played an essential role, as prevention and control has been implemented in every unit, every community, every residential building, every public vehicle and every public place, highlighting the importance of shifting the focus of social governance to the community level.

                  When promoting the modernization of social governance, it is necessary to shift the focus to communities and refine its domain, said Zhang Chenggang, director of the Institute for Social Governance and Development at Tsinghua. In addition, it is necessary to stress the importance of multidisciplinary research to enrich social governance theory and promote the shift of the research paradigm of social governance from being descriptive and advocative to being normative and operative.

                  Wang Tianfu, vice dean of the School of Social Sciences at Tsinghua, said that from the community perspective, building a social governance system is equivalent to building a community of social governance. When fighting the coronavirus, a community is a collection of informal organizational relationships and informal interaction patterns. Everyone recognizes now that personal interests are closely related to the interests of the community. Each person is an indispensable member of the community; and from them a community for the governance of public affairs at the grassroots level can emerge.

                  The process of fighting the pandemic has fully demonstrated the huge role of high technology in social governance, said Luo Jiaojiang, director of the Institute of Social Development Studies at Wuhan University. The new information and communication revolution that we are now experiencing is unprecedentedly changing the structures and operating mechanisms of human society. Today, innovation with social governance has already been seamlessly integrated with all information and communication technologies.

                  Li said that internet technologies provide an important foundation and platform for epidemic prevention and control. From the perspective of community-level social governance, all types of internet platforms, including public and local government platforms as well as community WeChat groups, can report information in a timely and effective manner.

                  Social governance is not simple community work, but a comprehensive issue involving various social science disciplines, said Peng Kaiping, dean of the School of Social Sciences at Tsinghua. The fight against COVID-19 should also be seen as an opportunity to reflect, thereby generating more social benefits.

                  In the future, social governance can better encourage civilian forces and primary-level governments to establish collaborative mechanisms that feature mutual assistance, coordination and trust, said Yan Fei, deputy director of the Institute for Social Governance and Development at Tsinghua.

                  The forum was jointly organized by the Institute for Social Governance and Development, the School of Social Sciences, and the Think Tank Research Center at Tsinghua and People’s Daily Online.

                   

                  (Edited and translated by Jiang Hong)

                  Editor: Yu Hui

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