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Public participation stressed in administrative regulation

By YANG ZEKUN | China Daily | Updated: 2019-05-16 20:47

China will further enhance public participation to ensure major administrative decisions made by the government at different levels are handled in a scientific and democratic way, per a provisional regulation released at a State Council Information Office news conference on Thursday.

The provisional regulation on procedures for major administrative decision-making will take effect on Sept 1. It requires major administrative decisions to follow certain steps, including initiation, public participation, expert argumentation, risk assessment, legitimacy review and collective discussion and decision-making.

The regulation listed five aspects of administrative decisions by different levels of government that need to follow the regulation, including decisions on major public construction projects, economic and social development planning and policies and measures on public services, markets regulation, social management and environmental protection.

Public participation will run through the whole process of decision-making. For instance, in the initial stage citizens can put forward suggestions on what should be classified as major administrative decisions.

Xiong Xuanguo, deputy minister of the Ministry of Justice, noted public participation in major administrative decision-making is an important way for the government to absorb the wisdom of the people, listen to their opinions and build consensus on major decisions.

"To make sure citizens understand the decisions in principle, the period of soliciting public opinions shall not be less than 30 days," Xiong said. "The regulations also have specific provisions to hold hearings with groups with different ideas."

There are also specific provisions on how to listen to public opinion, including seminars, hearings, field visits, questionnaires and surveys. If major administrative decision-making affects the interests of specific groups, the government will be required to hear relevant groups' opinions.

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