In another possible sign of more transparency and public input on policy in China, (see April 3 Trade Flow), the Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress (NPCSC) in late April adopted what it called the open door legislature policy, promising public notice and participation in the national legislative process.
A resolution passed by the Chairmans Council of the NPCSC requires the NPCSC to publish and seek public comments on all the proposed laws formally accepted in the legislative process.The resolution mandates two levels of public disclosure. All proposed laws shall be posted on the NPCSC website after the first reading.For those that will have a significant impact on the national reform and development, and social stability, and those that will bear direct consequences on the personal interests of the people, or those have drawn much public attention, the NPCSC is required to publish the proposed law on a selected major national media, in addition to on its own website. The public is also allowed to submit comments through the legislative affairs commission of the NPCSC.The purpose, according to the news release, is to ensure that the legislative process is both scientific and democratic; and to further promote the orderly participation in the legislative process by the public.
Indeed, the NPCSC in the past years has been frequently using the notice and comments mechanism, most notably during the legislative process for the Property Law, the Law on Contracts, the Labor Law, the Employment Promotion Law, for example.
For some of this legislation, especially the legislation that has a direct impact on the individual interests of the public, the public reaction has been overwhelming. The legislative affairs commission recorded receiving 191,849 submissions during the one month period set aside for public comments on the draft Labor Law, 11,020 submissions for the Employment Promotion Law, and 11,543 comments for the Property Law.
In the session ending the week of April 21, the NPCSC also adopted its legislative agenda for 2008.Of the 18 proposed laws entered in this years agenda, six are in their second and third reading, and may be passed this year, including the Law on State Assets, the Law on Green Economy, the Food Safety Law, and the Social Security Law. A revision to the current Patent Law, the National Compensation Law; and the Law on Election are among the proposed laws that will be discussed this year. The text of the proposed Food Safety Law is now available here on the NPCSC website.  Public comments can be submitted online here.
 A news article on the resolution is available online at http://www.npc.gov.cn/npc/xinwen/2008-04/21/content_1424788.htm.
 How has open door legislative process become a common practice? http://www.npc.gov.cn/npc/xinwen/syxw/2008-04/22/content_1424957.htm.
 Draft Food Safety Law of the PRC, available online at http://www.npc.gov.cn/npc/xinwen/syxw/2008-04/20/content_1424711.htm.