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Harmony, unity and stability

Updated: 2012-03-09 07:50
By Eric Jou ( China Daily)

Harmony, unity and stability are the three buzzwords that will define most of the discussions of the two sessions being held in Beijing.

These talks will probably shape the way China moves forward in the coming years. However, despite the strong push for harmony, unity and stability, it appears most of the rhetoric is geared toward more economic stability.

Traffic is terrible, especially in the heart of town around the Great Hall of the People, where the action is all taking place.

But regardless of whether the action is going on or not, traffic is still bad anyway.

As China's role in the world increases, so too does its responsibilities. But in regards to social stability, it may have to focus its attention inward.

A lot of rhetoric will be focused on how to control skyrocketing housing prices, and life-draining traffic congestion - both of which destabilize urban living, especially when an estimated 49 percent of China's population is moving into urban settings.

The young people in China are increasingly subscribing to a lifestyle that glamorizes luxury brand names. There is already criticism that the '80s and '90s generations lack moral fiber and social or moral education.

This is just some of the fallout that comes when economic growth overtakes social welfare and education development.

One of the quickest solutions for instilling social stability would be regulation reform.

Traffic reform should be the highest on the list. To find the solution, we need to find out why it is so horrendous.

The most obvious reason is the number of cars. According to statistics from December 2010, Beijing has 4.7 million registered automobiles with a yearly registration of 240,000 new vehicles. If the numbers registered each month have not changed, then Beijing is close to 5 million cars on the road.

The second reason is pedestrian behavior. Despite having crosswalks and overpasses designed to make it safer for them to cross the roads, many choose to dart across streets in front of oncoming traffic, creating chaos.

The third reason is legal more than social. According to Beijing traffic regulations, when a motor vehicle hits a cyclist or pedestrian, the motor vehicle is at fault.

The final reason is the lack of driving etiquette. Chinese people can drive, but the way they drive suggests that they shouldn't. Drivers ignore the right of way, never yield to another vehicle or pedestrian, and more often than not, they do not signal when changing lanes or making a turn.

With the problems mapped out, we can start to address the solutions and how they can improve social stability.

All drivers should be forcefully re-educated if they show any sign of road rage or public endangerment. More traffic police must be on patrol, and more railings should be put in place so pedestrians are trained to cross at correct locations.

Jaywalkers should be ticketed. Repeat offenders should be fined more heavily, and if they cannot afford the fines, they should be punished with mandatory public service as a deterrent.

That's true harmony, unity and stability.

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