China warms up to consultative democracy

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Beijing, March 4: Consultative democracy has become the new political buzzword in China, especially after President Xi Jinping made a case for it last year, with an appreciation of the importance of consulting the public while making policies.

"There are various ways to realise democracy. We should neither stick to one model, nor claim that there is a universal one," Xi said at a ceremony marking the 65th anniversary of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), in September 2014, the People's Daily reported on Wednesday.

china-consultative-democracy

Xi's advocacy immediately attracted widespread attention towards the ideal of consultative democracy and, as a result, the top leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) realised that new policies would be more rational and their implementation smoother, if the public was fully consulted before the policies were introduced.

As China's main platform for consultative democracy, the CPPCC is playing an increasingly important role.

The body consists of representatives of the CPC and non-communist parties, those without party affiliation, and representatives of people's organisations, ethnic minorities and various social strata.

More than 2,000 political advisors attended this year's session.

A series of reforms has been introduced to the top political advisory body since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, such as establishing a bi-weekly consultative session, picking out issues the government and the public are most concerned about, as well as consulting the CPPCC members, related government officials, experts and scholars.

Wang Qishan, head of China's top anti-graft watchdog, heard the opinions of the advisors and experts concerning the anti-corruption campaign at a meeting of the Standing Committee of the CPPCC National Committee in 2014.

Now, even more platforms have been provided for the public to participate in political affairs at local levels.

For instance, the government of Pengzhou in southwest China's Sichuan province holds regular consultative dialogue with local residents to allow them to express their demands and participate in government decisions.

"I deeply felt the institutional reform that the CPPCC has made to enable its members to better perform their duties, since the 18th National Congress of the CPC. Consultative democracy, frankly, is to find the maximum consensus of society," said CPPCC member Shi Jie, who is attending this year's sessions in Beijing.

IANS

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