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Towards a Rule-ordered Society:A Research and Practical Framework for Public Governance Transition in China

Shuiyan Tang,Xueyong Zhan,and Yongjian Bao  
China has made enormous progress in economic and social development,yet it continues to face many unfinished tasks for building its public governance system. Based on Tang's(2012) ten principles for strengthening China as a rule-ordered society,this paper develops a conceptual framework for understanding public governance transitions. Viewed from this framework,China faces serious challenges for(l) designing operational rules that are easy to understand and follow;(2) encouraging the development of informal rules and societal expectations that support formal rules;and (3) enforcing rules in a reasonable,fair,and consistent manner.These operational practices are feasible only if the underlying governance structures ensure that rules be fitted to the characteristics and scale of the problem,be made by those who are most affected by them,and be made to advance "self-interest rightly understood." In addition,there must be a facilitating framework for conflict resolution and credible constraints to hold rule makers and enforcers accountable. The following research topics for understanding China's public governance transition are suggested;(1) reforming the governing system in order to strengthen policy making and implementation capacities!(2)understanding the interactions among formal rules,informal rules,and societal expectations; (3)building and strengthening horizontal accountability mechanisms! and(4) building a modern governing system based on a synthesis between "self-interest rightly understood" and the Chinese tradition.
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