context: Alongside institutional reform and efforts to better manage lower-level officials, there are initiatives to mobilise local communities to work with the Party to address social conflict. The template noted below is receiving increasing attention and political support—and at the very time that Beijing’s attention is being drawn to the potential for discontent in a period of risk and uncertainty.

Ministry of Justice commended 200 outstanding communities and 400 individuals that adhered to and developed the ‘Maple Bridge Experience’ to avoid conflict escalation. Between May and August 2018, pilots were launched to upgrade people’s mediation work, implementing the spirit of Xi Jinping’s instructions in nine cities. The Notice states

  • conflict and dispute resolution saw remarkable results
  • distinctive and replicable work mechanisms were developed
  • ‘first line of defence’ for social harmony and stability should be maintained to realise goal of no conflicts escalating to higher levels of government for resolution