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Lawmakers to solicit public input

By Wang Zhenghua  (China Daily)

09:32, April 27, 2013

The Shanghai legislature has, for the first time, opened its doors to the public to solicit suggestions on regional laws it plans to draft over the next five years.

By April 28, agencies, organizations, companies and residents can send their proposals on the laws they think are necessary in Shanghai between 2013 and 2017 to the Standing Committee of the Shanghai Municipal People's Congress.

Experts said the move could bring the congress and the public closer and help the lawmaking body focus more on the issues that the public is concerned about.

"The practice means drafting legislation is no longer a privilege of some certain groups in society," said Li Chuncheng, associate professor at Fudan University's School of International Relations and Public Affairs.

With greater public input, the lawmaking process will be more scientific and comprehensive, and also enhance the public's awareness of the city's legislation, he added.

"The practice should become a regular and mandatory one," Li said.

According to the city's legislature, every member of society is encouraged to send their proposals on the regional laws that need to be drafted, revised or abolished.

They are especially encouraged to share advice on topics including enhancing Shanghai's position as an international financial, shipping, economic and trade center, the transformation of the economic development model, social welfare, urban management and changing government's role.

Ding Wei, director of the legislative affairs subcommittee at the congress' standing committee, said more public opinions will be collected later this year when the congress comes up with a draft version on the plan of the proposed laws.

The lawmaking body will also get deputies to the congress more involved in the process, he said, as there will be three chances this time, rather than only one in the past, for the deputies to share their views on the draft of the plan.

Media outlets will help the public deliver their suggestions. Special columns will be set up in newspapers to share public suggestions on the city's development.

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