chapter  4
26 Pages

Public hearings

WithDragan Pavlićević

This chapter firstly outlines the legislative and institutional background of Public Hearings, traces the major developments in the practice of Public Hearings since their introduction, and provides an overview of the practice of Public Hearings in Zhejiang province. The analysis further assesses the quality of outcomes reached through the use of Public Hearings and the degree of genuine public participation, as well as discusses the issues that undermine the legitimacy of Public Hearings as an effective governing mechanism. The chapter concludes that widening use of Public Hearings is a consequence of the party’s effort to enhance its own governing capacity and efficiency, and that they are employed to contribute to a more rational decision-making process, mediate between different interests, produce sensible policies and measures, and thereby improve the performance of state institutions. As such, all issues notwithstanding, public participation in Public Hearings contributes to state building by enhancing the party-state’s capacity to exercise power.