The Daily Mail, Pakistan
Social governance is pluralistic and people-oriented
By Yu Liang  ·  2020-07-09  ·   Source: Daily Mail

The annual meetings of China's national legislature and top political advisory body were wrapped up in May with people-centric plans to create jobs and help businesses.

China's approach to address problems including those triggered by the novel coronavirus pandemic is people-oriented, a philosophy that is deeply rooted in its culture.

Ancient sage Mencius said, "The people are the most precious of all things. The sovereign matters less." Then the communist revolution planted the idea of equality in the hearts of the people, and today, socialist consultative democracy is people-oriented.

People would like the government to respond to their opinions.


The government encourages people to express their opinions on major national and local affairs and projects that are closely related to their rights and interests and welcomes their supervision. People have the right to express their opinions and give their proposals to lawmakers and political advisers and through various channels including public hearings and online platforms. Citizens' proposals can be incorporated into laws, regulations, policies and measures. In addition, a Chinese citizen can also supervise the government by submitting petitions and complaints.

Xinfang, the Chinese way of petitioning, literally means "letters and visits from the people." It is a public opinion collection system designed to hear complaints and grievances. Petitioners may lodge complaints and seek redress at the local level with letters and calls to government offices. If they are not satisfied with the response, they can take their cases to higher-level offices and, at the highest level, to the National Public Complaints and Proposals Administration in Beijing.

A lot of unlawful acts have been exposed through this process, such as inadequate compensation for houses demolished to make way for development. The petitioning system itself is a form of democracy, through which the government responds to petitioners.

Changning, a district in Shanghai boasting a booming economy and many foreign consulates, is known for its Hongqiao Sub-District, a grassroots administrative unit that mobilizes residents to participate in the legislative process. It explores ways to convey the voice of the people to national and local law-making bodies. By October 2019, its residents had put forward 509 pieces of opinions and suggestions on 30 draft laws, and 25 of those were adopted.

For example, when the Domestic Violence Law was enacted in 2015, the protection of women and children's rights and interests was highlighted, as in Western countries. Then some residents suggested it should also protect the elderly, especially the elderly cohabiting with their children. Their advice was taken and the elderly were put under the protection of the law. The Hongqiao model was later promoted in a number of other pilot areas in the country.

Full-process democracy 

People-oriented governance, embodying a special kind of full-process democracy, is also being practiced in China through the training of officials. Zhang Weiwei, a professor at Fudan University, holds that China’s system for selection and promotion of government officials is better than the electoral system in Western countries. Chinese officials are usually tempered at the grassroots level in the early years of their career. 
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