Local People's Congresses and Governing China
China Journal, No. 61, pp. 131-141, January 2009
12 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2008 Last revised: 31 May 2012
Date Written: July 13, 2009
The role that local people's congresses (LPCs) play in Chinese politics is somewhat unexpected. One might have thought that the crucial question about LPCs centers on how representative they are. What stands out in recent research, however, is how little attention is devoted to elections, deputy-constituent ties, and speaking out at plenary sessions. The big story, instead, is occurring inside the state and concerns institutionalization, multi-step deliberation, lawmaking, and enhanced oversight. Administrative reforms have transformed the policy process and new arenas have been created to manage conflict. LPCs have benefited greatly from this re-division of labor and are not a "rival show" or a "rubber stamp" but partners in governance that provide a venue for interested parties (mostly within the bureaucracy) to work out disagreements. Energetic LPCs are first and foremost a sign that where Chinese politics takes place has changed. Legislative development, in this way of thinking, has less to do with responsiveness and altered state-society relations and more to do with state-building, restructuring bureaucratic ties, and making Party rule predictable and effective.
Keywords: China, people's congresses, lawmaking, oversight, representation, legislatures, institutionalization, governance
JEL Classification: D72, D74, H11, H77, P30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation