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Why citizens lack interest in public hearings

By Liao Wengen  (People's Daily)

17:04, November 01, 2011

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

Beijing, Nov.1 (PD Online) --Gao Xinmin, vice president of the Internet Society of China, listed several reasons why the public is not interested in attending public hearings on price adjustments.

First, related government agencies and enterprises normally reached a consensus to raise prices before holding hearings, and the information they release to the public is all about the necessity of price hikes and is mainly used to shape public opinion in favor of price hikes. Therefore, it is natural for the public to suspect that the price hikes are already decided upon, and the purpose of holding hearings is merely to justify price hikes.

Second, government agencies and experts at public hearings have much more information than the representatives of residents, which gives them an unfair advantage over the public. Government agencies and experts can use their professional knowledge to prove the necessity of price hikes, while residents often lack related knowledge and have no choice but to “listen passively.” Residents may doubt the accuracy of certain statistics provided by government agencies, but can hardly find counter-evidence.

Third, public hearings are not well publicized, and most residents do not even know of the existence of such hearings. Organizers of hearings should publicize a hearing through multiple channels in order to make it known to the widest possible public.

Fourth, society is divided into several interests groups, and different interests groups pay different levels of attention to a certain issue. In addition, the influence of different social strata and interests groups' words on the decision-making process are objectively different too.

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helen at 2011-11-02141.0.9.*
With money the sole criteria for 'success' in many Chinese southern cities and an acquired habit of complaining and resorting to street protests over trivial matters, these people are not interested in anything else! They truly believe that China owes them a luxurious living and unimpeded illegal pursuits ....It's time to consolidate and instill civic consciousness among the urban Chinese before they become more anarchic and betray the nation to foreign intelligence agencies.

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