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CPC pledges to give the public more say


15:42, November 12, 2012

BEIJING, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- From illegal land appropriation to labor disputes and growing environmental protests, the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) has been prompted to address public woes.

The Party has done so by giving them an adequate say in the authorities' decision-making.

"Whenever we make a decision involving the immediate interests of the people, we must solicit their views on it. We must not do anything that may harm the interests of the people and must correct any action that causes damage to their interests," Hu Jintao said in a report to the 18th CPC National Congress on Thursday.

However, Hu's words did not fill Zhang Shiyou, a farmer in a small town beside the Yangtze River in east China's Anhui Province, with relief.

"Yes, we want the right to participate in decision-making. But it is not that easy," Zhang said.

In 2011, he led his fellow villagers onto the streets to protest against the Anhui Zhongyuan Chemical Industrial Company Ltd. plant near their village, which they said caused the deaths of fish, destruction of crops and led to unsafe drinking water. The plant was producing formaldehyde.

Eventually, the villagers, with the help of journalists and non-governmental environmental groups, made the local government order the plant to remove and earmarked money to clean up the environment.

"Nevertheless, we are still worried about the hidden dangers -- we do not know how many other projects threatening the environment are still operating near us or are going to come to us," he said. "We are eager for the right to be informed."

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