Citizen Participation In China

2222 Words 9 Pages
Taking a series of environmental protests against paraxylene (PX) projects as an example, this essay aims to explore the role of Chinese citizens in environmental governance. To be specific, this essay seeks to address these questions: How does Chinese public make use of available means to influence decision making about the environmental issue? To what extent does the public participation contribute to good environmental governance in China? What are limitations of current citizen participation in Chinese environmental governance? In order to discuss these questions, this essay will firstly outline the importance of citizen participation in environmental governance. Then, this essay will briefly review a series of anti-PX campaigns which …show more content…
As noted by the OECD (2005), the Environmental Impact Assessment Act has been effective since 2013 and public participation is required as an essential part of the EIA act. That is to say, proposed projects are required to consider the public preferences and Interests and affected citizens should have opportunities to express opinions or to suggest alternatives before decisions are made. Advisory committees invite relevant experts and ENGOs to discuss potential impacts of proposed projects (Qin & Wang 2012). Public hearing is another widely used approach in Chinese environmental governance. All interested citizens are welcome to attend public hearings in which they can get access to basic information about the project and express their own viewpoints (Yang 2010). In addition, the Mayor Mailbox and petition letter are also available approaches for the public to join in environmental policy …show more content…
Although Chinese authority provides many laws and institutionalized approaches to engage the public, they are not implemented effectively. In cases of anti-PX campaigns, most government-citizen interactions through official channels failed to achieve a consensus. It seems that social media-based participation and demonstrations really drive local governments to change their decisions. Moreover, trust is regarded as essential in facilitating public participation and increasing the legitimacy of environmental governance (Tsang 2009). In China, both trusts in local governments and trust between citizens and experts are low in environmental campaigns (Zhang & Jennings 2009; Qin & Wang 2012). Local governments lost some credibility in PX protests so that citizens refused to accept any explanation from local governments or experts. The relationship between citizens and local governments in these cases is much more like confrontation instead of

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