The People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China (CPC), on Thursday warned of cases of "trust crises" between local officials and the public that could both undermine the CPC's ability to govern and disrupt social harmony.
The public's lack of trust in local government departments and officials can be blamed for many incidents involving mass participation in recent years, such as this year's cases of unrest in Zengcheng and Zhili, as well as previous cases in Menglian and Weng'an, the newspaper said in a commentary.
Community-level officials who work directly with the public are considered the face and voice of the Party and government, and their behaviors directly affect the image of the government, the commentary said.
Tensions between individual grassroots officials and people could very likely develop into public distrust and discontent with local governments, and this situation is difficult to reverse, it said.
The "trust crises" could undermine the authority of local governments, lead to the government's incompetence in handling similar "mass incidents" and a decline in its social management capability, and negatively impact social harmony.
Moreover, the commentary said that as the establishment of the CPC's rule is based on the support of the people, individual cases of public distrust and the amplification of such cases could consume the political resources sustaining the Party's rule.
This is why Hu Jintao, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, has seriously warned that the Party is confronted with the growing danger of being divorced from the people, the commentary said.
The commentary noted that in many mass incident cases, officials' ignorance of the public's voice, an absence of due supervision of power and injustice in interest allocations are among the major causes of the problems.
To solve the problem and lay a solid foundation for trust between the public and the officials, efforts should be made to regulate administrative power and reconcile opposing interests, it said.
It is the most fundamental test for a grassroots government to win the solid trust and support of the public, maintain the closest ties with the masses and work for the welfare of the people, the commentary said.