Yanjin Model of Participatory Budgeting

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This method details the unique Yanjin model of participatory budgeting, a process whereby citizens are given the opportunity to engage in the democratic decision-making process as it relates to allocating resources in their communities.

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Problems and Purpose

Origins and Development

Participant Recruitment and Selection

How it Works: Process, Interaction, and Decision-Making

The preparation stage before really voting on the budget plan encompassed two major segments. First comes the determination of the total capital appointed to the public participatory budgeting plans before the formulation of concrete programs. To be specific, the township government would assess the annual financial resources and subtract basic expenditure as well as rigid spending from it, reaching the sum for public participatory budgets, which would be informed to the people’s councilors before handing-in the programs. Then comes the establishment of program pools. The way to raise the program and the proper persons who would be qualified to raise them involving in this part play crucial roles in deciding the depth of public participation in budgeting, and this is exactly where the subtle design of this model lies in—both government and peoples’ councilors are entitled to raise the programs but the dominant role is held by the people’s councillors. On principle, each councilor could raise no more than 2 programs at a time, and he/she should also report widely represented public opinion. Also, the township government could dispose government-led programs based on the local developmental plans, which could also enter the program pool after a thorough discussion at a government working meeting.

The segment of program review, including qualification review, formality examination and content checking, also stands out as one of the typical features in the Yanjin Model. To be concrete, the working panel in county government would organize or designate experts to investigate the practicability and political permission of the projects, providing a comprehensive review which would be sent to people’s councilors 10 days before the democratic meeting. Only those passing the examination would be presented to the democratic meeting for discussion and voting. It is worth noting that though the government basically dominated the checking process, it is the county government rather than the township government that took the lead role, avoiding the potential disturbance to public participation.

When the democratic meeting is finally held, the public discussion came to empower the peoples’ councilors with the determination right. The democratic meeting, attended by all the peoples’ councilors without any government officials, was regularly held twice a year, mainly functioning to make annual budget plans and examine the adjustments during the plan implementation. During the meeting, the peoples’ councilors would vote on the proper programs according to their preference after hearing the reasons and presentations on needs of funds. To ensure the efficiency and required order for the meeting, a host was selected randomly from the people to preside over the meeting, which is another unique feature of the Yanjin Model.

Besides the former preparation and voting stages, the subsequent implementation and feedback also calls for the public to join in. The peoples’ councilors would supervise the whole process of putting the budget plan into force and if the adjustments are needed, democratic meetings shall be held again to vote for approval. Apart from that, the financial department in county government would organize performance appraisal for the programs in the budget plan, which, together with the call report produced by township government, would be presented to all peoples’ councilors in the democratic meeting next year.

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

Analysis and Lessons Learned

See Also

Participatory Budgeting in Yanjian County 

Participatory Budgeting 


[1] Participedia Contributors, "Participatory Budgeting in Yanjin County," 

External Links

Civic engagement through participatory budgeting in China: Three different logics at work 

Participatory Procedures and Budget Agreement: A Comparative Analysis of the Yanjin Model and the Wenling Model 

“Citizen Participatory Budgeting” in Yanjin : Grass Roots Research of Modern State Governance 


The above information has been taken from this case entry on Participatory Budgeting in Yanjian County.

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