Risks in adopting modernization as the way to build a harmonious society in modern China
Ever since the Fourth Plenary Session of the Sixteenth Central Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress, in September 2004, raised the concept of building a ‘harmonious society’ as a top priority for the Chinese government, this idea has become the common objective for those intent on designing an attractive future for the Chinese people (Hu 2006). In February 2006, Mr Hu Jintao, President of China, ‘urged building a social justice guarantee system based on “equal rights, equal opportunities, fair rules and fair distribution” ’ (Hu 2006). This programme has even more recently been reinforced by the adoption of a Resolution on Major Issues Regarding the Building of a Harmonious Socialist Society by the Sixth Plenary Session of the Sixteenth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on 11 October 2006 (Wang 2006b: 1). But why should China stress the creation of a harmonious society at the present time? And if this is the right time, what are the primary characteristics of a harmonious society, and what are the main difficulties to be faced in constructing it? How can such a thing be accomplished effectively? Many questions of this sort remain to be answered. This chapter will focus on the risks involved in modernization in general and on the demands that any Western-style modernization will place on the Chinese people’s necessary selection of values. The paper will also attempt to define the goal of social harmony and to introduce some methods for undertaking a project of bringing about harmony in modern Chinese society.