Spiderman wisdom: with great power comes great responsibility

Here’s a snatch from an interesting conversation I had with William the other day…

William: I think that we must strengthen civil society to limit the power of government. Here the government is very powerful. Its power must be equal with its responsibility.

Me: How?

William: We should fund more NGOs for environmental protection or fighting poverty and social problems … The government has funded many NGOs, but we call them ‘Gongo’ [government organised non-governmental organisation]. Every citizen can fund genuine NGOs.

Me: Isn’t that difficult in China?

William: The government doesn’t want to let its citizens fund NGOs. Laws for [registering and maintaining] NGOs are not suitable. But citizens can register a company, and then do non-profit things … Government can do it best, if they’re willing. But they have much power, and not enough responsibility in comparison to their power.

Me: Are there other methods for citizens to correct this?

William: Protesting/uprising [youxing] is not suitable, it’s not rational action. We need more rational action … Public participation can surprise government.