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Lawmakers to ask for public opinions

Updated: 2013-07-26 08:32
By Zheng Caixiong in Guangzhou ( China Daily)

Guangdong's legislative body has vowed to make procedures more transparent by welcoming more public participation.

Wang Bo, director of the Law Committee of the Guangdong Provincial People's Congress, said on Wednesday that, starting this week, no local laws and regulations will be passed until a series of legislative arguments, hearings, debates and assessments are held to seek advice from experts and the general public.

Every part of the legislative procedure, including public hearings and assessment meetings, will also go online in the following months. The public is welcome to voice their views, Wang told a press conference. "Before the drafts become legislation, they are open to questioning and nitpicking."

To this end, the provincial people's congress has invited 66 professors and experts from five local universities and colleges to consult on future legislative work, Wang said.

More residents will also be invited to participate or attend as visitors.

Guangdong, which borders Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, has a total of 787 provincial deputies and another 162 deputies of the National People's Congress.

Zheng Fenming, director of the Institute of Modernization Strategy at the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences, said making transparency in legislative work is a must as the public has a right to know what is happening.

"Laws and regulations can represent the interests of residents only after public opinions are solicited and considered before the laws and regulations are passed by the People's Congress," Zheng said.

He said some policies that aimed to lower property prices actually pushed up prices in many cities because the authorities did not seek public opinions before implementing them.

Meng Hao, a member of the Guangdong Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, urged relevant departments to open more channels for local residents to express their opinions on legislation.

"More public hearings and debates should be organized in local communities and housing estates to attract residents to participate in legislation and air their ideas, while those who raise good suggestions can be awarded if their suggestions are taken by the relevant departments," he said.

Xie Zehe, a lawyer from Guangdong Anguo Law Firm, said laws and regulations will be more easily accepted by residents if public opinions and suggestions are absorbed into legislation.

"Letting more people participate in legislation, or express their opinions, will also help promote the spirit of rule by law," Xie said.