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An Expat's Proposal For China's Next Five-Year Plan

Popularity 2Viewed 2834 times 2016-1-7 12:35 |System category:News| China, 5-Year, Plan

It's great that China is seeking expats' proposals for the next Five-Year Plan, so without hesitation here is my proposal.

China's stature in the international community has improved markedly over the last decade or so, but unfortunately only in the economic sense. Its galloping economy has improved the lives of millions of its citizens and benefited other nations too. However Chinese peoples' social behavior and their attitude towards their nation's laws and regulations have not kept pace with its economic development.  The Chinese people have become rich before they have become civilized in their social behavior!  
Expats who have been in China even for a short while would not have failed to notice the anti-social behavior of the vast majority of Chinese in their daily life, such as littering, spitting, training their kids to urinate and defecate on walkways and pavements, etc!  Their disregard for their nation's laws and regulations is legendary; motorists and pedestrians break traffic laws, food manufacturers break food safety laws, homeowners and builders break building laws,  smokers ignore the ban on smoking in public, etc etc  and all too often with impunity!
I propose that the Government focus more on developing it's peoples' social behavior and respect for law in its next Five-Year Plan instead of focusing solely on economic development.  Local officials must be held responsible and accountable for strictly enforcing the laws in areas under their watch! The Blacklisting of Chinese tourists for bad behavior is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done, especially in enforcement, to eradicate such anti-social behavior that is tarnishing the image of China both at home and abroad.  Good social behavior and respect for law must be second nature to the Chinese; they should not behave well only in the presence of the police! They must behave in an manner befitting a people with a 5000-year old civilization!
The Government must take its fight against anti-social behavior and disrespect for laws an regulations with the same seriousness and tenacity as it does with its drive against corruption.  The aim must be to make it too costly to offend, afraid to offend, and too shameful to offend!
China can ill-afford to be labeled a nation with a First World economy but a Third World mentality, and the sooner something is done about it the better!

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Reply Report jaseminsibo 2016-1-8 11:42
True.....civic mindedness should be taught at school at primary stage. That is when children learn the best. Mimic it from parents and teachers too, their role models.
Reply Report pnp 2016-1-8 12:03 (Pending for approval)
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Reply Report pnp 2016-1-9 14:26
Anti-social Behavior Across the Board!

Anti-social behavior is not limited to the poor or the migrant workers who are often wrongly accused of such.  The rich are equally guilty of such behavior.  They can afford to live in up-market housing estates away from their poorer comrades who live in cheaper apartments(nongmin fang), but their behavior is no better than the latter's.
They spit and litter from their multi-million yuan highrise apartments, walk their expensive poodles in the estate and leave their dog poo behind, and park their luxury cars on pavements and walkways, depriving pedestrians a safe passage.  And that's not all, they empty the garbage from their cars onto the carpark lots before driving off each day, leaving behind a dirty mess!  The list of misdemeanors is endless.
The rich, contrary to expectation, are not setting a good example for the rest of society!
Reply Report pnp 2016-1-9 14:28
"The Chinese people have become rich before they have become civilized in their social behavior!  "

Almost overnight the Chinese people have become rich, and that compounds the problem of social behavior.
In the past when they were much poorer, their anti-social behavior did not bring too much harm, but today such behavior results in very serious problems for society.  For instance, since they become rich, they abandon the bicycle for the motorcar, but they handle the car like they used to do with their bicycle, driving through red lights, driving against the flow of traffic, swinging in and out of lanes without regard for other road users, park their cars on pavements and walkways like they used to do with their bicycles, etc because traffic laws don't apply to cyclists!  And they drive under influence of alcohol, which they can well afford with their new-found wealth!  The result is horrendous accidents, as shown on CCTV, straight from traffic police files!
And because they are now rich, they can afford to take expensive holidays abroad, taking their bad behavior to distant shores, making a nuisance of themselves and tarnishing the image of their motherland!
Yeah, it's high time the Chinese Government rein in their bad behavior before they do more damage!
Reply Report pnp 2016-1-10 12:37
Chinese people are generally hard to educate and even harder to govern because of their disregard for laws and regulations, which are there for social order and for the protection of their rights.  When they trample upon their laws and regulations, society pays the penalty, for instance in the numerous man-made disasters that occured, like the Tianjin warehouse explosion and the Shenzhen mudslide.
CCTV has been running, on a daily basis, community education advertisements for umpteen years, but with little noticeable effect.  What is urgently needed is for Government to implement harsh measures and strictly enforce them.  It should seriously consider 'naming and shaming' as a tool to effect change in social behavior because Chinese people value their 'face' over everything else; they won't want to be caught and shamed for anti-social behavior!
Reply Report pnp 2016-1-10 12:39

You are right! I have often seen school children littering with food wrappers, ice cream sticks, meat sticks, etc after school when they emerge from neighborhood shops, with their mamas in tow, but who never even blink an eye at such misbehavior of their 'little emperors'!!
I used to tell those who litter right under my nose to pick up their garbage, which they readily complied.  But I have almost given up, since there are too many to tell!
China's education system unfortunately stresses exam scores and not character building.  Time to change that, for the good of the nation!
Reply Report springcastle 2016-1-11 12:42
I always like your humorous style And down -to -earth attitudes to everything. Hope to read more about your life.  
Reply Report pnp 2016-1-11 15:13
springcastle: I always like your humorous style And down -to -earth attitudes to everything. Hope to read more about your life.   
Thanks!  I lead a simple life and I can't stand anti-social, irresponsible behavior!  Life would be a lot better for all if people behave in a socially-responsible manner!  People must not just think of their own convenience, throwing garbage everywhere and anywhere, smoking in no-smoking places, driving through red lights, driving under influence of alcohol, parking on pavements etc etc!
Reply Report pnp 2016-1-12 14:00
'homeowners and builders break building laws'

Rich homeowners carry out extensive renovations and extensions to their homes in direct contravention of building laws! Just yesterday, CCTV highlighted such a problem, focusing on an up-market housing estate in a posh area of Shanghai.  It is perhaps understandable when the poor migrant workers or peasants break the law out of ignorance, but for the filthy rich with their opulent homes(bieshu) and expensive cars, behaving likewise is a shame!  They certainly can't claim ignorance of the law; they deliberately break the law for their own selfish ends, ignoring warnings after warnings from the estate menagement and even from the law enforcement officers of the land division.  They play 'cat and mouse game' with the enforcers.  One even told reporters that as long as no one complains, no enforcer would bother them!  Such is their attitude to the law!
In another program CCTV highlighted homeowners adding extra floors to their roof tops while others hacked away their ground floor to create rooms in the basement, not only contravening the law but seriously compromising the safety of the buildings!
Disregard for the law seems to permeate every level of society, from the rich and well-endowed to the poor and
deprived!  One must wonder how the State governs when so many of its people simply don't obey and respect the law!
China has good laws, covering various aspects of life and businesses, but the devil is in the enforcement, which is so weak that it does not encourage compliance.  On the contrary, it encourages more people to break the law when these people see other offenders getting away scott free!
China's good friend Singapore, a nation full of Chinese, is a good example how strict laws, strictly enforced, can bring about a clean and safe environment. Theirs include the death penalty, jail terms, fines and caning!
Perhaps China should take a lesson or two from Singapore; it already has the death penalty, but the jail terms and fines need to be revised upwards as they are too lenient and not enough of a deterrent!  It looks like a joke when we see serious traffic offenders given a slap on the wrist, with a paltry 200/300 yuan fine or a stay of two/three days in a police cell!  They ought to be charged in court where heavier penalties would apply!
If the Chinese are not comfortable with caning, they don't have to adopt it from their Singapore friends, although caning has been proven to be very effective!  The old adage, 'Spare the rod and spoil the child' still holds good today!
The Chinese mindset is unfortunatetly still locked in the past despite its rapid modernisation!  The Chinese can't extricate themselves from the past where the rule of law was non-existent!

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