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Public participation in China's EIA process and the regulation of environmental disputes
Environmental Impact Assessment Review ( IF 3.749 ) Pub Date : 2020-01-07 , DOI: 10.1016/j.eiar.2019.106359
Thomas Johnson

This article reconsiders the role that public participation in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process plays in China. Whilst some commentators have found that public participation has largely failed to make an impact in China, this article argues that it has been an important focal point during environmental disputes over siting decisions. The principles of transparency and public participation embodied in EIA legislation have been prominent frames used to legitimize public action against locally-unwanted-land-uses when decisions are taken unilaterally without sufficient public input or notification. In this sense, the EIA becomes a lightning rod for citizen claims-making in relation to siting disputes. At the same time, these principles help depoliticize contention by channeling it within state-approved discourses, enabling officials to buy time and defuse tension. Here, EIA serves as a shock absorber, helping contribute to social stability when disputes break out. By showing how public participation regulations are closely intertwined with contentious politics, this article highlights the paradoxical and contradictory nature of public participation in China.
更新日期:2020-01-07

 

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