Public Participation in China

Over the past two decades, Chinese leaders and legal scholars have come to recognize that achieving rational and effective regulation in a rapidly changing modern society requires opening up China’s lawmaking and regulatory processes to a far greater degree than ever was the case during China’s long history. Public participation – through public hearings and open meetings, publication of draft laws, rules and policies for public comment and other means – is now increasingly recognized to be an important mechanism for gathering the information and expertise on which rational regulation is based and for gaining public acceptance of and compliance with new laws and regulatory decisions.

As part of The China Law Center’s ongoing research and cooperative work in the area of administrative law and regulatory reform, this site is designed to share information both about the development of public participation in China and international practice and experience that may be of relevance to China’s quest to promote greater citizen participation in and openness of government affairs, as well as government “administration in accordance with the law.”

Chinese Law and Policy on Public Participation

Legislation Law of the People’s Republic of China, amended March 15, 2015 and effective July 1, 2000 (English) (Chinese).

Regulations of the State Council on the Procedures for Formulating Rules, effective January 1, 2002, http://www.gov.cn/english/laws/2005-08/24/content_25827.htm (English), http://www.gov.cn/zwgk/2005-06/03/content_4138.htm (Chinese)

State Council Outline on Comprehensively Promoting Administration in Accordance with the Law, April 20, 2004 (English) (Chinese)

State Council Office of Legislative Affairs Notice on Further Intensifying the Degree of Public Participation in Matters Related to Government Legislative Work, issued March 31, 2007, http://www.chinabaike.com/law/zy/bw/bs/fzb/1376475.html (Chinese)

State Council Office of Legislative Affairs Interim Measures on Openly Soliciting Opinions on Draft Laws and Regulations, revised July 22, 2011 (Chinese)

State Council Office of Legislative Affairs Secretariat Bureau Notice on Relevant Matters Concerning Posting Draft Departmental Rules on the Website of the State Council Legislative Affairs Office to Openly Solicit Opinions, August 1, 2011 (Chinese)

Guangzhou Municipal Measures on Public Participation in Formulating Rules, effective January 1, 2007 (English) (Chinese

Guangzhou Municipal Measures on Public Participation in Formulating Rules, revised and effective December 1, 2010 (Chinese)

Hunan Provincial Administrative Procedure Provisions, effective October 1, 2008 (Bilingual PDF), http://www.hunan.gov.cn/tmzf/zfxgz/200810/t20081018_123286.htm

Guangzhou Municipal Measures on Major Administrative Decision-making Procedures, effective January 1, 2011 (Chinese) (English

Regulations of the State Council on Procedures for the Formulation of Administrative Regulations, revised Decmeber 22, 2017 (English) (Chinese)

Regulations of the State Council on Procedures for the Formulation of Rules, revised Decmeber 22, 2017 (English) (Chinese)

Articles on Public Participation in China

Horsley, Jamie P., “Chinese law requires public consultation in lawmaking: What does it mean for the Hong Kong national security legislation?", Brookings Order from Chaos (June 8, 2020). (PDF)

Horsley, Jamie P., “China Implements More Participatory Rulemaking Under Communist Party,” The Regulatory Review (March 15, 2018), (PDF)

Jamie P. Horsley, “China Promotes Open Government as it Seeks to Reinvent Its Governance Model,” Freedominfo.org, February 22, 2016, at: http://www.freedominfo.org/2016/02/china-promotes-open-government-as-it-seeks-to-reinvent-its-governance-model/. (PDF)

Jamie P. Horsley, “Public Participation in the People’s Republic: Developing a More Participatory Governance Model in China” (2009) (PDF)

USBC, "China 2014 Regulatory Transparency Scorecard" (March 2014) (PDF)

Shelly Zhao, "Report: China Still Falls Short of Its Transparency Commitments" (March 2014) (PDF)

Shelly Zhao, "China's Mixed Transparency Record" (July 2012) (PDF)

Francesca Baruffi, "Transparency in China: A Work in Progress" (July 2011) (PDF)

Jamie P. Horsley, "Public Participation and the Democratization of Chinese Governance," in YANG ZHONG AND SHIPIN HUA, eds., POLITICAL CIVILIZATION AND MODERNIZATION: THE POLITICAL CONTEXT OF CHINA'S REFORM. (Singapore: World Scientific Press, 2006) 

Steven J. Balla (2014), "Health System Reform and Political Participation on the Chinese Internet," China Information 28(2) 214-236 http://cin.sagepub.com/content/28/2/214.abstract (PDF)

Wang Xixin, “Public Participation and its Limits: An Observation and Evaluation on Public Hearings as Experimented in China’s Administrative Process” (2003), http://www.publiclaw.cn/article/Details.asp?NewsId=220&Classid=&ClassName= (PDF)

Wang Xixin, “The Public, Expert and Government in the Public Decision-making Process: A Case Study of China's Price-Setting Hearing System and Its Practice,” Peking University Journal of Legal Studies (2008) (PDF) (with permission of the author)

Materials on Public Participation in the United States and Around the World

U.S. Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§551-559, 701-706 http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/5/pI.html

E.O. 12866 - Regulatory Planning and Review (1993) (English) (Chinese)

United States White House, President Barack Obama Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government (English) (Chinese)

E.O. 13563 - Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review (2011) (English) (Chinese)

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, June 25, 1998 (referred to as the “Aarhus Convention”), http://www.unece.org/env/pp/documents/cep43e.pdf (English) and http://www.unece.org/env/pp/documents/chinese.pdf (official UN Chinese translation)

Relevant Websites

Carter Center, China Transparency.org, http://www.chinatransparency.org (in Chinese)

Center for Public Participation Studies and Supports, Public Participation Website, Professor Wang Xixin, Peking University Law School, http://www.cppss.cn (in Chinese) 

China State Council Office of Legislative Affairs Website, http://www.chinalaw.gov.cn

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the China Environmental Culture Promotion Association (CECPA), Greenlaw website, http://www.greenlaw.org.cn (Chinese) and http://www.greenlaw.org.cn/enblog (English)