Interesting deliberative participatory budgeting in Shanghai
The article on deliberative participatory budgeting in Shanghai was a very interesting read. As usualy many articles and sources focuses on western politics we rather rarely see something intersting about politics in Asia, especially in China. I was quite suprised to see that Chinese government started to promote deliberative democracy and calling it as, “social democracy with Chinese characteristics”. Explaining that local people know more about issues in their area, thus making them better to find the possible solutions and fulfil their needs. In addition to this, the fact that one of the most intercultural cities in China; Shanghai has been a pioneering zone for China to experiment with new models of development, politically as well as economically.
Unfortunately, as it was mentioned in the article many of public consultations in China were driven and influenced by the elite and officials with their agenda-setting. Obviously, it would be great to see less influense of the elite and officials but it is still good to see some progress made toward possible democratisation. While, such practises have been experimented with rural settings already, this was the first case with urban setting where population is much more educated with politically aware middle class. Making this case exceptionally interesting and important to see the results, as well as the participants wich took part in it. While the selection method was a random sampling, it was unfortunate but predictable to see that the average age of all participants was quite high (56 years). Possibly the process could be improved by changing the sampling method to systematic sampling as it would make the data more representative. This could greatly improve the results. As it was mentioned before, it is important to include those middle-class politically aware people to participate in such practises which would lead to participation in democratic discussions as well as being more engaged in politics. This can possibly lead to development of democracy and reduction of influence from the authority of the authoritarian government. Nethertheless, it was interesting to see examples of theories of deliberative democracy put into practise in China and made me more interested to find and read more about it. Now, I am curious to see how deliberative democracy can change or which effects it can bring to politics in China.