Dynamics of Policy Changes in China: A Case Study of the Renewable Energy Law

Honggang Tan

Abstract


With its rapid economic development, China plays a key role in the world energy economy. Its future energy path will influence the world’s future. On February 28, 2005, China passed a comprehensive Renewable Energy Law, which was a major policy change for the Chinese government. This article investigates the legislative process of the law and uses this as a case to analyze the dynamics of policy change in China. Throughout this article, I try to explain two highlights of the process: that the law was passed quickly and overwhelmingly, and that the process included various actors, including international and domestic environmental NGOs, which is very rare in China. Applying two Western theoretical frameworks—punctuated-equilibrium theory and advocacy coalition framework—to analyze this case, I partly explain the process. However, I also find the inapplicability of these frameworks in China’s special political context. I argue that some exogenous pressures influenced both dominant core and advocacy groups. With few retarding forces, these strong driving forces made the law pass quickly and overwhelmingly. Generally speaking, the Chinese government is seeking to utilize these NGOs to achieve its own goals. Common interest is a key factor for the involvement of NGOs.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22140/cpar.v4i1/2.74

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Chinese Public Administration Review (ISSN 1539-6754, Online ISSN 2573-1483)  is published by the School of Government, Sun Yat-sen University.