China Leadership Monitor

Taizhou Area Explores Ways to Improve Local Governance

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Standing apart from the many recent reports of rural instability is an account of a different nature: It singles out a township in a region of Zhejiang Province known nationally for its flourishing market-based prosperity, where innovative reforms have been implemented to enhance popular participation in political decisions. Although these reforms are intended to strengthen the rule of the Chinese Communist Party in local affairs and not as a step toward democratic transition, they do suggest that the growth of "social capital" at the local level is bringing about greater public roles in policymaking, improving local governance, and perhaps even changing, albeit to a limited degree, the way the party operates at the local level.