Participatory Budgeting, Rural Public Services and Pilot Local Democracy Reform

Field Actions Science Report Special issue 11/2014. Stories of innovative Democracy at local level

Ming Zhuang, 2014

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Summary :

30 years of rapid economic development in China has brought about prosperity as well as enlarged disparity, among which is the dramatic cleavage between rural and urban, a challenge that many developing countries have to face. In order to achieve a more balanced and integrated development between rural an urban, since late 2008, the Chengdu Municipality has allocated budget for village level public services projects, and entitle local villagers the right to decide, monitor evaluate the projects. Local villagers’ participation usually goes through 3 steps to choose their own village public services projects, that is, project proposals collecting, decision making, monitoring and evaluating. Village Council, Democratic Finance Management Group, and Democratic Monitoring Group composed of elected villagers are set up to make decision and supervise. This participatory budgeting program covers more than 2,700 villages, 6 million villagers; total annual budget is over 170 million USD, and still expanding and increasing. This local pilot participatory budgeting and local democracy reform in China is significant, in the sense that it is exploring improving rural public services, filling rural-urban gap by means of direct villager participation in village-level public service budgets decision making, monitoring and evaluation, brings transparency and revitalizes rural community solidarity, though there are still many setbacks and challenges to face. This pilot reform has enriched international participatory budgeting practices, the loan innovation linked short-term and medium-term development with participatory budgeting.




Origination of the PB and local democracy practices

How does the Chengdu PB work

PB Cycles in Chengdu

Implication, Significance and Innovation

Responding directly to local needs


Revitalize rural community solidarity

Loan innovation linking short and medium term development

Setbacks and Challenges

Representative participation and social-political context

Social & Policy Exclusion


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