BEIJING, June 18 -- A bluebook published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on Wednesday highlights five pressing image crises in China: public safety, social order, pollution, public services, and the image of government officials.
"It could be a blueprint for China to step up social management efforts," said Tang Jun, editor in chief of "The Research Report on Image Crisis Response (2013-2014)."
The report is based on analyzing 2,074 image crisis cases reported by the mainstream media in 2013.
Among the 31 regions being evaluated, Guangdong Province is the most "problematic," followed by Beijing and Henan Province.
Those three regions are the most crowded in China; Guangdong and Beijing are economically the most developed areas.
The local governments of these regions should shoulder the main responsibility for the negative image due to weak social management, but some objective factors like the huge floating populations in these areas and the relatively intense media scrutiny there also bring more challenges,the report said.
It includes a "Risk Map" setting out risk factors that could lead to each of the five main image crises. Tang suggested regional governments use this index system and come up with policies to tackle and prevent such problems.
He added, "The reform decision made at the third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee highlighted the importance of innovating in social management. This Risk Map could be a good help for the government in preventing and solving social contradictions."
The Risk Map covers many social issues in China such as terrorism, food safety and health, hospital violence, pollution, shortage and mismanagement of public services, and negative perceptions of government officials, which are often linked with graft and sex scandals.
"This could be a very practical handbook for us to identify and solve our problems, or even prevent them," said an official of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Luoyang Municipal Committee, Henan Province.
Education authorities in Daxing District of Beijing have been piloting a customized Risk Map since last year, with Tang explaining "we made a risk calendar for the schools, to help the managers prevent potential risks on campus."
He told Xinhua that different issues should be prioritized according to their seriousness, so that measures could be introduced to manage regions more effectively.
The result of the study matches with a survey conducted earlier this year about the public's most hated common issues in China. Shaky public safety, poor social order, and environmental damage topped the list, followed by impaired public services and incompetent government officials.
Among the over 1,400 people surveyed in different parts of the country, 39.1 percent voted for shaky public safety as the most hateful problem, 19.5 percent voted for poor social order, while environmental damage received 14.6 percent of the vote.
Treatment of officials' and cities' negative images should be directed against the five critical categories, said Tang.
"Fixing these negative images requires internal reform first, but close attention to the comments and scrutiny from bureaus, social organizations, the media, and the public is also necessary," he added.
Yet the editor warned that sometimes the public can be a source of image crises as rumors and stereotypes can threaten the image of innocent officials.
According to the report, one priority to mend the image of officials and provinces is to improve public-facing services including banking, hospital care, and schooling, as these are where most conflicts between officers and citizens occur.