With Tunisia and Egypt in revolution, the Western media seem to be hypnotized with this notion that the only way Chinese society can improve is the citizens themselves fermenting a ‘jasmine revolution’ and overthrow the government. Note that they don’t actually say it, but their narratives are frequently with this a presumption. (See my prior post.) We retard our views if we limit ourselves to thinking that for weaker nations, revolution is the panacea to everything. For China, the key is always reforms from within, and I want to share about China’s recent freedom of information act. These reforms are in fact being done in earnest and some times with foreigner input.
In 2007, China’s State Council issued the “Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on Open Government Information” (中华人民共和国政府信息公开条例) which went into law in May 2008. They required government departments to disclose a very wide range of information. The purpose is to make the government more transparent and to make Chinese society one of rule of law. The Yale Law School’s China Law Center has a good collection of resources inside and outside China on how those regulations are being put into practice (in English). Peking University’s Center for Public Participation Studies and Supports (北京大学公众参与研究与支持中心) can be reached here in Chinese with a broader view of what is happening in China. The Chinese in fact works with Western NGO’s too, including the Ford Foundation.
Continue reading China’s determined and long march towards rule of law