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Chinese villagers make bold attempts at democracy
enorth.com.cn   2011-03-14 09:15


Zhejiang, an eastern coastal province that experienced China's most rapid economic growth in recent decades, is largely baffled by conflicts of interest among its various communities, which are not always on equal political and economic footing.

Many villagers appeal to higher authorities for justice, even to the state government in Beijing; however, venting these appeals is often done in vain.

Yu Pei, an NPC deputy specializing in world history, told Xinhua, "To step closer to democracy, people need to have their voice heard for decision making and such a mechanism should be established."

Democratic consultation, law experts say, may provide a way for people to weigh in on government decision making.

In 1999, Wenling of Zhejiang tested a new form of democratic consultation featuring public involvement and civic participation.

In 2005, fiscal budget allocations and reviews were added to the consultation, which was later merged into the regular discussions of the township people's congress.

Chen Yimin, a chief designer of the consultation mechanism, said, "Governmental officials must speak candidly about their performance and budgetary problems."

"The officials must be responsible for every promise or answer they've ever made," Chen added. "All the procedure is recorded, so no one can play tricks."

In the Wenling case, fiscal budget amendments can be proposed by at least five township people's congress deputies. They could make various requests, including moves to revise budget plans.

"The township people's congress deputies are performing their duties to propose amendments," Chen said. "This is good for villagers."

Editor: 詹晖

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