context: This new vision of multilateral social governance essentially attempts to strengthen and fine-tune the Party’s governance capacity by refocusing and adding more tools to its disposal.

A 21 June People’s Daily editorial lays out Xi’s vision for social governance. It entails a shift from the state-dominated governance model in the past to a multilateral one involving central and local governments, public and private enterprises, social organisations and the masses led by the Party. Governance leadership should transition from the government to the Party, the piece says. In addition, the new system should

  • serve the people; engage the masses in policymaking through public consultation
  • build an effective system to anticipate risk, handle crises and mediate conflicts
  • supplement the ‘hard’ constraints of administrative regulations and laws with ‘soft’ constraints of customs and civic rules
  • make use of new technologies like big data, cloud computing and AI
  • recruit more professional talent to participate in social governance; reform salary and promotion mechanisms to improve incentives
  • allow for the precise allocation of responsibility in the case of mistakes and failures by officials to enhance accountability