In the center, social workers prepare and deliver free meals to old and disabled people, counsel pregnant women and new mothers, talk about love and career with young confused migrant workers, host festivals and celebrations for various occasions and encourage people to get to know and help each other.
"We reach out to people in trouble and help them get out of it. By doing so, we keep the community harmonious," Zhang said.
WHY A SOFTER APPROACH IS NEEDED
Statistics from the Guangzhou municipal government showed that the city spent 4.4 billion yuan in maintaining social stability in 2007, more than the money it spent on social security that year.
"The exorbitant spending on public security certainly affects China's development. More importantly, social problems cannot really be solved by force. It would only suppress the issue for a moment. The problem would soon resurface, more abrupt and powerful," said Yu Jianrong, head of the Center for Social Research at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
"Social management can no longer rely solely on the government and public security. On the one hand, we do not have enough police manpower, On the other, it is very difficult for the police to prevent sudden acts of violence, like the spate of campus rampages in early 2010," said Kong Wen, a scholar with Guangdong Police College.
In Nanping County of east China's Fujian Province, Zheng Minsheng, a local clinic doctor, stabbed eight students to death and injured five others in a primary school on March 23 last year. A man called Xu Yuyuan barged into a kindergarten in Taixing City of east China's Jiangsu Province and wounded 32 people with a knife on April 29 last year.
On May 12, 2010, Wu Huanming killed seven children and two women in a kindergarten in Nanzheng County in northwest China's Shaanxi Province. Another 11 children were injured.
In a speech on Feb. 19, Chinese President Hu Jintao called for a new approach to social management that involved "stimulating vitality in the society to the greatest extent, maximize factors conducive to harmony and minimize those detrimental to it."
Hu also called for more human, financial and material resources to be given to grassroots organizations to enhance social service capacity and improve community administration.
The municipal government of Guangzhou paid four million yuan for the establishment of Lianhe Family and the one-year service. It will keep providing its service to the community at 2.5 million yuan each year, Zhang said. It is only one of the many social service facilities surfacing across China, especially in more developed areas such as Shanghai and Beijing.
"It's unheard of -- spending so much on the service of a single community. But it's worth it when you see how life here is improved. It is the future," said Duan Chuanli, deputy head of the Administrative Office of Lianhe Street.
(Xiao Sisi from Xinhua's Guangdong bureau also contributed to the story.)