In recent decades, with the industrial and economic development rapidly, mass environmental problems has occurred while mass environmental protests in china have increased at a rate of around 29% per year since 1996, and by a staggering 120% in 2012. Lack of public participation in environmental decision-making is a common complaint.
There are numerous reason causes less public participation. In my opinion, the most important reason is mainly depending on government. In china, the major model of environment protection is government acting as the leading role, in this top-down environmental management framework, the fields, methods and results of public participation are largely effect by the environmental sectors. The public can seldom express their real opinion and also could not make effective supervision with governmental environmental decision-making and the impacts of environmental policies.
Furthermore, lack of policies and regulation to support public participation in environmental decision-making. For example, on August 23 over 20 prominent environmental lawyers, scholars and advocates gathered in Beijing for a symposium to discuss and address these issues. The participants all agreed that China’s EIA process is severely flawed and must be fixed. Failure to fix the EIA process and regulation, China will continue see the large protests in public participation.
However, in recent decades, china has to Strengthen Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessments. In 2015, china’s state environmental protection administration (SEPA) has implement new regulation which includes stipulations on openness of information; safeguarding participants’ rights; and procedures and methods for public involvement, including opinion surveys, consultations, seminars, debates, and hearings.
Overall, there are still weaknesses of public participation in china but china ahs attempt to strengthen this part. Therefore, I hope in the future, every Chinese citizen can actually participate in environmental decision-making
China to Strengthen Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessments, 2016, WORLDWATCH INSTITUTE. <http://www.worldwatch.org/china-strengthen-public-participation-environmental-impact-assessments>
Schulte, WJ, 2013, Public participation still lacking from China’s environmental laws, china dialogue. <https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/6482-Public-participation-still-lacking-from-China-s-environmental-laws>