Hainan empowers legislators to vote on livelihood projects

Xinhua Updated: 2024-01-29

HAIKOU -- Legislators in China's Southernmost province of Hainan on Saturday gathered to vote on government projects concerning people's wellbeing, an embodiment of the country's efforts in promoting whole-process people's democracy.

The 365 deputies to the Hainan Provincial People's Congress, the provincial legislature, voted on 12 candidate projects, selecting 10 to be implemented with government funding in 2024. The chosen projects include free vaccination against hepatitis B and a drive to make infant care more accessible.

It marks the first time that a provincial-level legislature has voted on the government agenda on improving people's wellbeing.

The voting was held after the provincial people's congress approved a decision to set rules on such voting and to demand people's congresses at all levels in the province follow suit by the end of 2025.

The 12 candidate projects come from suggestions and proposals raised by legislators, local authorities and the public, according to Bateer, vice governor of the province.

The government used to be the final decision maker on livelihood projects. Giving the final say to the people's congress is expected to boost public participation in governance, deputies said.

"Next, the people's congress will enhance supervision to ensure effective enforcement of the projects," said Wang Guang, a researcher with the Hainan Provincial People's Congress Standing Committee.

Voting on quality-of-life projects by local legislators was started in 2008 in two townships in the city of Ningbo, Zhejiang Province. The practice has previously been implemented at the city and lower-level people's congresses in Chinese provinces including Anhui, Gansu and Shaanxi.

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