June 13, 2009

NOBODY EXPECTS THE DEMOCRATIZATION...:

Shenzhen to test-run political reform (Stephanie Wang, 6/13/09, Asia Times)

[I]t seems Beijing wants Shenzhen to pilot a profound restructuring of government, which could herald a nationwide reform of the political system. According to a report in the Beijing News, Shenzhen's master plan to pilot comprehensive reforms was formally approved by the State Council early in May.

The most prominent and ambitious item in the package is reform of the administrative system, which will divide the municipal government departments into three categories, namely, decision-making, execution and supervision. The reform has been wildly tagged as an experiment in "separation of powers", something new and definitely challenging for the Middle Kingdom.

Historically, and at present, a government department is normally the policymaker, executor and supervisor in its jurisdiction. But some say this is a major cause of red tape, abuse of power and a lack of transparency and oversight.

From this perspective, any reform that separated administrative powers would bring fundamental changes to the government system - but it is by no means expected to lead to democratization.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 13, 2009 6:04 AM
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