2003-2004 Winner
Wenlin County, Zhejiang Province
Innovations and Excellence in Local Chinese Governance in China
Innovations and Excellence in Local Chinese Governance in China
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Wenlin first initiated "Democratic Consultation" in June 1999. It began in the townships and villages, but since August 2000, democratic consultation has spread to all government and non-governmental organizations in the county. Along the way, the main topics of democratic consultation have changed from the issues of direct personal interest first brought up by the populace to larger issues concerning the provision of public goods.
The democratic consultation characterized as "citizens raise issues, governments handle them" and "one section, one subject" has been institutionalized. It has become an indispensable procedure for authorities at county and lower levels to make major decisions. Democratic consultation provides a channel for citizens to participate in public administration at the grassroots level. Their opinions and suggestions have an impact on the decisions made by party committees and local governments. It also increases transparency in decision-making, and helps prevent decisions that go against the interests of majority of citizens. Traditional decision-making patterns, such as "black box decision-making," "decision-making by personal inspiration," and "minority leadership" have been transformed into a form of "sunrise decision-making" which pools the wisdom of the masses. The previous one-way street has been changed to the cooperation between authorities and citizens.