Consultation with public necessary to reduce controversies

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/12/5 23:32:41

Since winter, several cases involving environmental and security governance have aroused strong public outcry. Negative sentiments have increased difficulties for the relevant local governments and damaged their credibility.

Local governments have good intentions about pushing forward their tasks. They strive to safeguard the public's long-term interests and upgrade the environmental and security situation. Corruption-related suspicions are scarcely heard: a major difference from previous controversies.

The public complains that the government didn't consult society before deciding, and it was rude to go ahead. Some worry that their interests may be sacrificed by the government for another new public program.

Strengthening government-public communications is the fundamental solution to controversies. It seems that public opinion is less valued in governmental decisions than before. For instance, there are less public hearings and online consultations. If that is the case, this deserves close attention and should be rectified in a timely fashion.

Having more communications with the public and knowing more about their true thoughts before acting is key for the government to perform well in the Internet era.

Admittedly, the public has divergent views, which may sometimes impede government work. As a result, local governments may choose to push forward new programs before informing the public.

Some officials believe, given stricter control of the Internet, public opinion will not overreact to new policies like before.

But the fact is that public opinion is indispensible for new policies. The government will find it more difficult to perform if it skips public voices in the initial stage. In other words, the Internet is controllable to some extent, but it's impossible to manipulate public opinion.

Many officials believe that results are much more important than the process, and there are indeed cases of controversial policies being eventually welcomed by the public. But with China's comprehensive development, citizens nowadays have more requirements. They are more resolute and active in pursuing their interests and rights than before. Divergences with the public may bring troubles to government work.

Local governments should be clear that, apart from the outcome of their works, being democratic, lawful and respectful to the public during the process is another significant criterion of its service.

More efforts are needed to take public opinion into full consideration. Most officials are upright and results are the core motivation for them in pushing forward on arduous tasks. Communication should be valued in the process. It may bring more costs but it will put the government in an active position. More importantly, it's the core of socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics and the socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics.



Posted in: OBSERVER

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