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postgraduate thesis: The public participation system in the government policy-making in China: a shortcut to legitimizing the stateor an entrenchment of its democratization?

TitleThe public participation system in the government policy-making in China: a shortcut to legitimizing the stateor an entrenchment of its democratization?
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Fu, HZheng, G
Issue Date2012
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Xiao, M. [肖明]. (2012). The public participation system in the government policy-making in China : a shortcut to legitimizing the state or an entrenchment of its democratization?. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5053411
Abstract Public participation, as a form of direct democracy, is becoming increasingly popular in the government policy-making process in China. This thesis argues that public participation in China acts neither as a supplement to a well-founded democratic system, nor as an alternative to an electoral democracy, nor even as an effective accountability politico-legal institution. Instead, contemporary public participation is an interim measure that caters to an urgent social need and provides temporary legitimacy to the state. As such, it is the first step towards further political liberalization, for which it lays a foundation. The public participation system in China has developed from its original form as a solely state-led, political campaign-oriented system in the closed era to the coexistence of three ideal-type public participation in the open era: state-led, issue-specific participation, spontaneous, issue-specific, group-based participation and spontaneous, issue-specific, individual-based participation. Public hearing, corporate lobbying and e-participation can be correspondingly treated as representative mechanisms of the three ideal-type public participation in China. In addition, the institutions of open government information and judicial redress are currently the most significant support structures for this system. Relying on the methodologies of case studies, statutory interpretation, quantitative calculation and socio-legal analysis, the thesis finds that citizens can articulate their demands on policies in public hearings, but government organs are inclined to prevent any substantial challenge to their proposed policies. Although business groups have not been conferred with any special systematic opportunity to participate in the formulation of policy, corporate lobbying contributes towards undermining the government’s monopoly in the policy-making. Citizens in e-participation take full advantage of the flexibility and anonymity of the Internet to enjoy a free, low-risk space of debating government policies and monitoring government officials. Although the implementation of the Regulations on Open Government Information has been basically satisfactory, the Regulations have failed to establish the necessary transparency for public participation. What citizens seek in public participation litigations is not only judicial redress of their grievances, but, even more significantly, de facto influence on a policy-making process taking place outside the courtrooms. The public participation system as a whole in China has a paradoxical character in contextual, structural, functional and developmental aspects. Its essential defect is to fall short of a device that makes government policymakers accountable for the output of public participation. The public participation system is used by the state as a viable trajectory for its own legitimization to secure the formal validation of government policies and to reduce the risks that it confronts in the ongoing democratization process. It is used by citizens as a locus of their self-expression values and as an incubator of their developing citizenship, also providing a prompt channel for citizens’ rightful contest. The prospects of this system and its impacts on future legitimization of the state are ultimately underpinned by citizens’ struggles for liberty and democracy, but they are directly shaped by the state’s adaptive strategy.
DegreeDoctor of Legal Studies
SubjectPolitical planning - China - Citizen participation.
Dept/ProgramLaw
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/188292

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorFu, H-
dc.contributor.advisorZheng, G-
dc.contributor.authorXiao, Ming-
dc.contributor.author肖明-
dc.date.accessioned2013-08-27T08:03:20Z-
dc.date.available2013-08-27T08:03:20Z-
dc.date.issued2012-
dc.identifier.citationXiao, M. [肖明]. (2012). The public participation system in the government policy-making in China : a shortcut to legitimizing the state or an entrenchment of its democratization?. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5053411-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/188292-
dc.description.abstract Public participation, as a form of direct democracy, is becoming increasingly popular in the government policy-making process in China. This thesis argues that public participation in China acts neither as a supplement to a well-founded democratic system, nor as an alternative to an electoral democracy, nor even as an effective accountability politico-legal institution. Instead, contemporary public participation is an interim measure that caters to an urgent social need and provides temporary legitimacy to the state. As such, it is the first step towards further political liberalization, for which it lays a foundation. The public participation system in China has developed from its original form as a solely state-led, political campaign-oriented system in the closed era to the coexistence of three ideal-type public participation in the open era: state-led, issue-specific participation, spontaneous, issue-specific, group-based participation and spontaneous, issue-specific, individual-based participation. Public hearing, corporate lobbying and e-participation can be correspondingly treated as representative mechanisms of the three ideal-type public participation in China. In addition, the institutions of open government information and judicial redress are currently the most significant support structures for this system. Relying on the methodologies of case studies, statutory interpretation, quantitative calculation and socio-legal analysis, the thesis finds that citizens can articulate their demands on policies in public hearings, but government organs are inclined to prevent any substantial challenge to their proposed policies. Although business groups have not been conferred with any special systematic opportunity to participate in the formulation of policy, corporate lobbying contributes towards undermining the government’s monopoly in the policy-making. Citizens in e-participation take full advantage of the flexibility and anonymity of the Internet to enjoy a free, low-risk space of debating government policies and monitoring government officials. Although the implementation of the Regulations on Open Government Information has been basically satisfactory, the Regulations have failed to establish the necessary transparency for public participation. What citizens seek in public participation litigations is not only judicial redress of their grievances, but, even more significantly, de facto influence on a policy-making process taking place outside the courtrooms. The public participation system as a whole in China has a paradoxical character in contextual, structural, functional and developmental aspects. Its essential defect is to fall short of a device that makes government policymakers accountable for the output of public participation. The public participation system is used by the state as a viable trajectory for its own legitimization to secure the formal validation of government policies and to reduce the risks that it confronts in the ongoing democratization process. It is used by citizens as a locus of their self-expression values and as an incubator of their developing citizenship, also providing a prompt channel for citizens’ rightful contest. The prospects of this system and its impacts on future legitimization of the state are ultimately underpinned by citizens’ struggles for liberty and democracy, but they are directly shaped by the state’s adaptive strategy.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.source.urihttp://hub.hku.hk/bib/B50534117-
dc.subject.lcshPolitical planning - China - Citizen participation.-
dc.titleThe public participation system in the government policy-making in China: a shortcut to legitimizing the stateor an entrenchment of its democratization?-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5053411-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Legal Studies-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineLaw-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5053411-
dc.date.hkucongregation2013-

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