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Lecture 3
Values of Chinese Public Administration
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1

Values are important for public administration

They tell us desired goals and appropriate ways to achieve them

The tradition of governance in China

Pre-1978 period had a focus on political values like class
struggle, ideological purification, and hierarchical control.

Since 1978, the governing practice of CCP served the demands
of a developmental state


The party underwent a process of depoliticization, or repoliticization.

Development became the biggest politics
Since the early 1990s, strategic values of CCP were crystallized
as reform, development, and stability. They were extended
directly to PA.
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1. Basic PA Values in China

Reform

Development

Stability
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3
Reform


Reform has been deeply incorporated into the political culture with strong
symbolic consequences.
 Since 1978, major administrative reforms were launched in 1982, 1988,
1993, 1998, 2003 and 2008.
 Reorganization, downsizing, and market-facilitation were major tasks of
these reforms.
 Announcing a major reform symbolizes legitimacy and effective
leadership.
Reforms in PA are incremental
 Trial-and-error initiatives and policies, before being formally adopted and
fully applied, are first tried in selected local jurisdictions or issue areas.
 The general path of reform is to start with tentative policies and end up
with formal institutions.
 It is generally believed that a strong party is not just the cause of
incremental reform, but also a fundamental premise of its success.
 It is slow and its effectiveness depends on incessant changes in the long
run.
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4
Development



Development became a fundamental justification of political legitimacy.
 Deng Xiaoping asserted that “development is the real trump card”,
“it does not matter whether a cat is white or black if it catches mice”.
Development was at the beginning narrowly focused on economic
growth.
 There was a fever in local governments for a high growth rate of
GDP, which became an important, sometimes the primary, criterion
for cadre evaluation and promotion.
 PA has a focus to provide a better environment for economic growth.
Introducing a balanced view
 Increasing conflicts between economic and other goals
 Since Hu Jingtao became CCP’s General Secretary in 2003, the
“Efficiency First, Justice Considered” principle has been gradually
substituted by a new blueprint of a “Harmonious Society” that
assigns more weight to social justice and comprehensive and
sustainable development.
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5
Stability



Social stability is deemed as a necessary condition of reform and
development.
 It was announced that “stability dominates all other concerns”.
Stability refers to at least two things
 1. Maintaining party leadership and its unchallenged authority;
 2. Avoiding and resolving social conflicts and movements.
Corruption, polarization, and pollution have risen as major problems
impacting social stability.
 2007 Corruption Perception Index by Transparency International
 Italy, with a score of 5.2, ranked 41
 China, with a score of 3.5, ranked 72 (equal to that of Brazil, India,
and Mexico)
 Russia, with a score of 2.3, ranked 143
 Economic polarization deeps. The GINI coefficient of China is close to
0.5, according to difference sources. Almost no developed countries have
a figure above 0.4.
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2. Inputs of Modern PA Values
Democratic Values

Democratization of China’s PA system.
 1) People’s Congress has strengthened its legislative and
supervisory functions and imposed on governments increasing
burden of legal and managerial accountability.


2) PA system was made more transparent, accessible, and humane
to the society.


The most important thing is budgeting approval power.
Information disclosure, rights protection, nonintrusion rules, etc.
3) Citizen participation in policy making and evaluation has
increased.

Public hearings, participatory budgeting, democratic discussions,
etc.
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Managerial Values

Managerial values highlight efficiency, economy and effectiveness,
and necessitate the building of a professionally and instrumentally
rational civil service.

1) Introducing modern civil service

2) Widespread use of performance measurement like the Objective
Responsibility system

3) Active promotion of public management innovations

E-government; One-stop shop; Competitive procurement; etc.
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Legal Values

Traditional Chinese public administration was not a system of
rule of law, but of man, and in the ideal case, of moral man.

The post-1978 period highlighted a gradual internalization of
modern legal standards.
 1) Protection of individual rights was improved.




The 24th Constitutional Amendment passed in 2004 added to the
33rd Article that “the state respects and protects human rights”.
On March 16th in 2007, Property Rights Law was enacted
2) Administrative laws prospered and the legislative focus went
beyond administrative empowerment and paid more attention to
equal rights protection.
3) Procedural due process in public administration was
strengthened.
Competition between values: efficiency and right protection,
flexibility and accountability, popular opinion and justice…
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