Public Participation in China: Strengths, Weaknesses, and Lessons Learned
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Public participation is an integral part of the Chinese environmental impact assessment (EIA) system. Successful public participation though is more than just granting a right to participate and setting out a procedure in a legislative act. This paper analyses the strengths and weaknesses of the Chinese EIA system by reporting on the practical issues and lessons learned during regional workshops with EIA professionals in China. It offers an overview of principles, legal instruments, mechanisms and guidelines, and analyses the Chinese practices at the provincial and local level. Recommendations to improve public participation in China are based on a gap analysis, best practices and lessons learned, interviews with key stakeholders, inputs from public authorities, EIA agencies, and civil society organisations, collected in training modules and public events held in Yunnan, Shandong and Beijing.