Legal framework and practical examples of local self-government in neighborhoods

Event: Society and Politics

Workshop by the Shanghai Institute of Administrative Law and FES Shanghai on local self-government in urban neighbourhoods in China and Germany.

Photo: FES China

On June 9th and 10th 2015, Shanghai Institute of Administrative Law and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung jointly organized a workshop on the topic of “Local self-government in urban neighbourhoods in China and Germany”. It is an issue both sides are increasingly concerned of, as local self-government can enhance efficient governance by avoiding red tape, provide important social services and strengthen the people’s commitment to the society.

It turned out that both sides face similar challenges, especially in respect of mobilizing more people to participate, financing their measures and appropriately value volunteers. However, the understanding of self-government as well as the general circumstances under which it takes place varies greatly. While in Germany self-government means the nature of government structures at communal or municipal level, in China it means self-organized bodies in neighbourhoods which are strongly linked to the CPC but not part of the public administration.

Each lecture included a presentation and a discussion with the audience. The German speakers pointed out that China needed to develop a modus operandi of democratic elections above the local level too. Especially Mr. Blaschke’s speech started an animated discussion. The audience demanded better rules for safeguarding integrity of property.

The workshop formed a platform for officials from municipal authorities as well as distinguished experts to discuss these and more questions and to exchange ideas and experience with best practices in self-government. The workshop included four sessions, examining the institutional framework in China and Germany, the relevance of volunteering to improve the living quality in residential areas, legal affairs in residential areas and self-government in residential neighbourhoods. It was part of a dialogue series on the topic of strengthening the rule of law in China, annually co-organized by Shanghai Institute of Administrative Law and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.

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