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Some Inadvisable Issues in Rural Governance


Zhao Shukai

The opening-up of villages has brought about full exchanges of resources and information with the outside world. Such changes, including especially the flow of population have brought many variables for the relatively stable village life. These variables have changed not only villagers’ daily life but also the internal and external relations of villages as well as the process and structure of social governance of villages. Viewing from the interaction between farmers and the government, farmers could exert more impact on the government and are more likely to be organized when striving for certain matters. Under such circumstances, the government should seriously consider how to adjust their way of governance to facilitate its interaction with rural society. Based on new governance concepts, the government should make clear “what it should not do”. 1. The government should not treat village cadres as public servants. Village and county-level governments should exercise the target-oriented accountability system over village cadres. The income standard of village-level cadres should be evaluated and fixed by village and county-level governments. In view of the provisions offered by the government, the village cadres have completely become “employees of the government”. In terms of the overall picture of village governance, such a practice should be corrected. 2. The government should not pursue “perfect organization”. In current rural work, demanding village-level organizations to be perfect has cost lots of energy of grassroots governments. Instead, it is suggested in the rural work to have loosely organized forms. Village organizations are not that essential if only there are people in charge of village work. The role of the government lies primarily in supervising the performance of rural society and regulating public activities of rural areas in accord with laws and regulations. 3. The government should not manipulate village-level election. When election really becomes a matter within the village and of villagers themselves, many problems regarding village self-governance will no longer be there. 4. The government should not regard non-governmental organizations as “dissidents”. Under new social conditions, we should above all look upon these organizations as cooperative partners rather than dissident forces.

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