Promoting Participatory Development in the People's Republic of China. A Case Study of Sino-German Development Cooperation (2003-2006)

  • Andreas Martin Fulda (Autor/in)

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Since 1991, the promotion of participatory development has been a corner-stone of German foreign and development policy. Participation - the active involvement of citizens in all decisions that affect their lives - is seen as a key condition for a functioning democracy and for poverty reduction. While participation is now a prevalent cross-cutting theme on the new policy agenda (NPA), and ever increasing implementation gap can be observed. The protracted paradigm shift from a technical to a political understanding of development among key agents of Sino-German development cooperation is seen as the single most important obstacle to effective policy implementation. Research findings suggest that while China is caught in international rules, responsibilities and sanctioning procedures, German external actors are also getting caught up in the institutional practices of a corporatist Chinese party-state. As contractual partners of an authoritarian regime they appear to sacrifice their organizational autonomy for a highly circumscribed engagement with China. Based on recent parliamentary debates the author concludes that German legislators can contribute to the promotion of participatory development in the PR China by exercising greater parliamentary oversight over German ministerial bodies and agencies in charge of cooperating with Chinese state and non-state  recipient organizations.