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A nation must think before it acts.
Chinese laws and institutions pledge many means for citizens to hold their government accountable and to influence the rules and policies that govern their lives. Administrative law remedies—including rights to sue the state—have been developing for more than twenty years. More recently emerging mechanisms include: open government initiatives, an expanded “right to know,” opportunities for public comment on proposed legislation and regulations, procedural requirements for lawmaking and rulemaking, calls from public intellectuals, the media and others for state authorities to strike down rules that conflict with higher laws and the constitution. The new leadership that is coming to power in China has brought a new focus on the constitution and calls from public intellectuals and reformist scholars for more robust implementation of the constitution as a means to political reform. How effective or promising are these many methods? Do they, or can they, provide meaningful accountability of, and participation in, government in the absence of electoral democracy?
Wang Xixin, Vice-Dean and Professor of Law, and Director of the Center for Public Participation, Peking University Law School; Provost’s Office Global Engagement Fund Visiting Scholar, and Bok Visiting International Professor, Penn Law School
Lin Yan, Associate Professor, Shanghai Jiaotong University Law School; Visiting Scholar, Penn Law School
Yuhua Wang, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
Neysun Mahboubi, Research Fellow, University of Connecticut Law School; Visiting Scholar, Center for the Study of Contemporary China, University of Pennsylvania
Jacques deLisle, Stephen A. Cozen Professor of Law, Penn Law School; Deputy Director, Center for the Study of Contemporary China, and Director, Center for East Asian Studies, University of Pennsylvania