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Conflict Control of Township Government: A Survey on 20 Townships in 10 Provinces


By Zhao Shukai

Rural social society has changed significantly in recent years. Tension and conflicts have apparently relaxed and farmers’ trust toward government has increased remarkably. The primary reason is the new agriculture-friendly policies introduced by the central government. In maintaining stability, township government has played dual roles. While addressing conflicts, it has created conflicts. The key to social harmony is government system reform, through which the conflicts made by township government could be contained so that the government could act as the conflict solver. This survey mainly centers on general conflicts in rural areas. And the survey findings suggest that conflicts are decreasing among villagers. But between villagers and primary-level government, conflicts are increasing. In township management, township government plays dual roles. On the one hand, it’s conflict solver. In many circumstances, social contradictions and interest relationships need township government’s coordination. On the other hand, township government is also conflict maker. Plenty of social conflicts are related to township government. It is difficult to determine township government’s role in rural conflicts control. In reality, it’s both firefighter and firer. It solves conflicts as well as making them. From the perspective of government management, especially the perspective of the central government, this condition is embarrassing yet solvable. Under different systems and social environments, the two roles of township government are contradictory. With appropriate reform and management measures, the passive role could be restrained and the positive role could be promoted.

Note: The article was first published in DRC Research Report, 2005 No.101.


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