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China Law Center's Jamie Horsley Holds Open Decision-making Workshop in China


China Law Center’s Jamie Horsley Holds Open Decision-making Workshops in China

Jamie Horsley, EPA’s Carol Ann Siciliano and Professor Patricia Salkin take part in Hangzhou Workshop June 2, 2012

The China Law Center’s Executive Director Jamie Horsley convened a series of workshops in China in June to promote public participation and greater transparency in the Chinese government decision-making process, together with U.S. experts Carol Ann Siciliano, Associate General Counsel at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Patricia Salkin, Vice Dean and Professor of administrative law, land use law, housing law and government ethics at Albany Law School and soon-to-be Dean of Touro Law School on Long Island.

On June 2, they participated in a workshop in Hangzhou on “open decision-making,” co-sponsored by the Center’s cooperative partner Professor Zheng Chunyan of Zhejiang University Guanghua Law School, to discuss issues related to the drafting of the Zhejiang Province Provisions on Major Administrative Decision-making Procedures with officials from the central government, Zhejiang Province and other local governments as well as noted scholars. “Major administrative decisions” are defined to include significant public policy decisions such as land use planning and major project decisions that do not fall under rulemaking procedures.

(Panel on Open and Participatory Decision-making at China University of Politics and Law, June 4, 2012)

In Beijing, they addressed an academic audience at China University of Politics and Law’s Rule of Law Forum and, also at the invitation of CUPL’s Professor Wang Jingbo (pictured below top left), held a lively exchange on open and participatory decision-making with 55 local officials from Zhengzhou, Henan who were in Beijing to learn about rule of law government. They also convened a workshop June 6 on these same issues with long-time partner Professor Wang Xixin of Peking University Law School, where officials from central government agencies as well as Beijing Municipality, which also is drafting local procedures to regularize the major decision-making process, and scholars engaged in an interactive discussion following a reprise of their Hangzhou presentations.

Discussion in all these meetings centered on the same general message: the importance of information disclosure and opportunities for public participation “early and often,” as well as reason-giving by the government to explain the options and information – including the public’s comments --that were considered, in building public acceptance and support for government decisions that significantly impact the public’s welfare and interests.

These workshops on open and participatory decision-making also reinforced work the Center is engaged in with China’s State Council, which is exploring and drafting nationally-applicable regulations on major decision-making procedures. The Center hosted a visitor researching this topic from the State Council Legislative Affairs Office during the Spring 2012 term (link).