Back in November, I wrote about a new effort by the Communist Party in Hangzhou to foster “civic community.” At the time, they were just getting started, and their first step was to hold a brainstorming session with a bunch of foreigners. At a secure, off-limits state-owned resort, we discussed how to build community. In a sign of how helpful that meeting was, the new community-building campaign is on: around town, the phrase “Our Hangzhou” has found its way onto the usual propaganda banners. Glad to have helped (I think) with that one.
As with many such campaigns in China, once you see it in one place, you see it everywhere. This is usually because local governments are all really just responding to new tasking from Party Central. With everyone scrambling to come up with the best implementation, sometimes you get a little variety, and other times you get convergence. This past year, the mix of phrases that different local governments were using to exhort their people to “act civilized” was a case in point.
For this new “civic community” campaign, it appears that Beijing has now set the gold standard. Not surprising. Up in the capital, I don’t think they invite amateurs to their focus groups. When it comes to community-building, they go with professionals.