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Xinhua: Using Grid Management to Improve the Quality of Social Administration and Social Services

[Editor’s Note: A recent Xinhua article revealed a practice of social control that local authorities across the country have adopted. By dividing residential neighborhoods and commercial districts into smaller “grids,” and sending in informants and agents who are tasked with surveillance and reporting, and who have the equipment of modern information technologies, China is exerting a tighter grip over its citizens. Excerpts from the article are translated below.][1]

There will be one informant in every residential building, 10,000 special security and stability agents, and 300,000 Party members and civil servants participating in community service management. … Since 2007, Beijing has adopted the new management mode – grid management – to strengthen social service administration and maintain social stability.

Every region is strengthening innovation in social management. They are using grid management to improve the quality of social administration and services. Management is mixed together with services; the effectiveness of management increases with improved services; the quality of services gets better as management is strengthened.

According to Beijing’s Dongcheng District Chief Niu Qingshan, the district established a “three-tier platform,” integrating a comprehensive social services management command center, a neighborhood social services management command sub-center, and a community social service management integrated workstation. Grid management helps to immediately discover key positions and public demand so as to resolve any conflicts within the grid.

Dongcheng District’s grid managers, assistants, and inspectors share responsibilities for various affairs of social service administration inside the grid, so that “minor conflicts are resolved inside the grid and larger conflicts are resolved inside the community and the neighborhood.” Grid management as a new social service administrative mode has begun to show its impact, adding new vitality to the traditional social management mode. …

Chuxiong City in Yunnan Province has strengthened the development of Party organizations and neighborhood service management institutions through the implementation of grid management. It has set up a Party branch in the form of neighborhood management services and a residential building “persons-in-charge,” so that every residential building has someone who takes control.

Tai’an City in Shandong Province has promoted grid management in its communities. (The authorities) scientifically partitioned the entire community into grid units for administration. By implementing a strategy of “integrating multiple networks into a larger one, dividing one network into multiple units, and staffing multiple agents in each unit of the grid,” (the authorities) scientifically allocated resources for social service administration.

Yichang City in Hubei Province has divided the downtown area into 1,290 grid units. By integrating grassroots management forces, it set up a corps of “grid administrators” to perform six basic tasks, including information collection, comprehensive management, labor and social security, civil service, birth control, and urban management.

The Hongmenjie neighborhood in the Wuhou District of Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, has a residential population of 12,000, a mobile population of nearly 20,000, and many public places. How to manage this special community well? The community used grid management. It divided the streets and 4,000 plus houses into eight management grids, sending community comprehensive management agents into each grid. They are responsible for contacting the guards of each neighborhood compound; the residential building “persons-in-charge;” and the resident volunteers, whose functions include information collection, conflict mediation, and comprehensive services.

The public security authorities in Shanxi, Gansu, and Qinghai Provinces planned an overall public security prevention and control system that covers both urban and rural areas. Through coordinating with appropriate authorities, they developed a grid-based hierarchical public security prevention and control system equipped with information technology.

The metropolitan community administration and control networks in Xi’an, Lanzhou, and other cities mainly rely on the community police stations and community comprehensive management offices. This arrangement not only strengthens security control, but also serves the residential communities. The police stations and comprehensive management offices cover 80% of rural and urban areas in Xi’an, Baoji, Lanzhou, Dingxi, and other cities. Criminal cases and security incidents have been greatly reduced.

The Xihu neighborhood in the Qilihe District of Lanzhou City, Gansu Province, has a “people’s defense network” composed of 208 community comprehensive management agents, 18 mobile population management coordinators, 20 bicycle patrols, and a corps of 1,678 troops from residential property security guards and policemen. With the mechanism of “two policemen in one neighborhood and two management agents for each policeman” in place, the government also formed a security volunteer force of 1,530 people from Party and Chinese Youth League members, youth volunteers, and retired officials, putting into place a strong public security prevention and control system among the citizens.

The cities of Xi’an and Baoji … formed a technology-based defense and control network in residential compounds and new apartment buildings. Within workplaces and residential communities, they actively promoted a surveillance network with features that include electronic monitoring and intelligent alarms, forming a seamless defense and control barrier.

[1] Xinhua, “Using Grid Management to Improve the Quality of Social Administration and Social Services,” February 18, 2011.