The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series
Edited by Paul Martin, Li Zhiping, Qin Tianbao, Anel Du Plessis, Yves Le Bouthillier and Angela Williams
Chapter 7: Environmental E-governance in China: Insights from Government-citizen Interaction
1 Qin Tianbao2 and Wang Huanhuan3 7.1 INTRODUCTION In what has been labeled the “Information Age”, information, predominantly through the Internet and other Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), is widely and ever freely produced, disseminated and accessible. This, in turn, has had major impacts at the social, economic, cultural and political levels as was anticipated long ago by John Dewey: “Our modern state-unity is due to the consequences of technology employed so as to facilitate the rapid and easy circulation of opinions and information, as so as to generate constant and intricate interaction far beyond the limits of face-to-face communities … The elimination of distance, at the base of which are physical agencies, has called into being the new form of political association” (Dewey (1946), pp. 114–15). Indeed, the impacts of ICTs can be found in almost every realm of modern society with the advent of so many “electronic things” such as ecommerce, e-governance, and e-government. Environmental governance is also changing as a result of the Information Age. A new environmental governance mode based on ICTs, defined later in this chapter as environmental electronic governance (EEG), is emerging. Many leading countries have pioneered the use of ICTs in varied aspects of environmental governance. For instance, in their decision-making processes, the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Forest Service have both used the Internet as a major channel to solicit public input for their proposed rules, respectively, the 1997 Organic Labeling Rule and the 2000 Roadless Area Conservation...
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