A senior official admitted recently that the public should be given more channels to air their grievances, and local governments should exercise restraint in dealing with social unrest.
Zhou Yongkang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and former public security minister said it was essential that potential social problems be "nipped in the bud".
"More channels should be opened to solicit public opinion and local governments should spare no effort to solve people's problems," Zhou said.
China has seen several cases of social unrest, from violent protests and strikes to riots, and they are increasing thanks to the economic slowdown.
The current Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu echoed Zhou's remarks, speaking of the threat of "social problems affecting stability under the current circumstances."
He said that preventin problems from getting out of hand was paramount and that officials must be sober-minded and realize the importance of safeguarding social stability.
However, Wang Taiyuan, a professor at the Chinese People's Public Security University said while officials may want to "nip things in the bud", police departments also need to standardize procedures for law enforcement to avoid aggravating conflicts.
"They have to be more cautious in the way they act," he said.
Wang warned trying to maintain social stability should not be at the cost of infringing on the legitimate rights and interests of the people.
"Protecting the rights of the people is a fundamental requirement."
That's going to be a hard balance law enforcers will find themselves in -- who takes more precedence -- the government or the people?