Interesting news from China: Xinhua reports the State Council has set up a section on its website to invite public opinion on draft laws and regulations. So far, says Xinhua, the website has collected opinions on seven sets of draft regulations and received 16,888 opinions from more than 9,000 people.
Taken purely at face value, this could be an intriguing development. China has been gradually (if unsystematically) moving toward more open disclosure of information, passing provincial and municipal versions of freedom of information legislation, in the understanding that such legislation is important to combat corruption at the local level. It is possible that this latest development signals growing state acceptance of the need to not just disclose information, but to actively seek out public input in shaping legislation. That said, it remains to be seen how effectively this site will be used, and to what ultimate
purpose. It's worth keeping an eye on.