Commentary: Democracy brings efficiency too
( 2003-07-17 09:03) (China Daily)
Introducing more democracy in legislation may bring efficiency in the end.
Beijing and South China's Guangdong Province have both tried to regulate the treatment of wild animals in starkly different ways this year.
Beijing did it through administrative edict. Its forestry bureau issued a circular on July 7 declaring an outright ban on the eating of some 1,800 categories of wild animal.
Guangdong opted for legislation, and a heated public hearing was held on July 8 to elicit suggestions and views on the draft bill from representatives from all walks of life.
The approaches of these two local governments have drawn both criticism and applause.
Beijing's rushing-through of the decree banning the eating of wild animals was hailed by its supporters as swift and efficient but deemed not very democratic and heavy-handed by its critics. Guangdong's approach was seen as more democratic by its advocates but as inefficient and time-consuming by its detractors.
In sharp contrast to Guangdong's prolonged discussion on its draft, the Beijing method is really impressive at first glance for its swiftness and efficiency.
However, when introducing legislation or administrative rules that are sure to affect people's way of life, the authorities should listen to a wide range of views from all sections of society whenever it is possible to seek suggestions.
Guangdong's legislation on wild animals involved a public hearing to offer a venue to voices from all sectors of society and was a more democratic practice. This approach may pave the way for the smooth implementation of the upcoming bill.
Although public hearings are always characterized by much wrangling and debate, with the legislative process often becoming protracted or bogged down, such hearings can ensure a more balanced bill before any draft is signed into law because the concerns of people from all walks of life can be taken into consideration.
This will make it easier to enforce the law. Hence a democratic approach does not kill efficiency.
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