The inclusion of public participation in environmental impact assessment in Guangdong Province

Jon R Munch-Petersen

Student thesis: Termpaper


This report is about public participation in Environmental Impact Assessment for construction projects in Guangdong Province in Southern China: How are people included, when are people included and who of the people are included? In China, it has been noted that the quality of the environment has weakened considerably at the expense of the economic recovery over the past 40 years. Especially Guangdong Province is an economic centre in China where many of China's construction projects are happening, with substantial health and economic consequences for local populations, which has led to public debates on these issues. In 2007, a new law for the inclusion of the public in EIA got implemented in China, so that now, for the first time in China's history, clear rules for inclusion and cooperation with the public within the planning area are set. In order to illustrate the degree of public involvement international experience with EIA is read and Sherry R. Arnsteins theory, which categorizes public involvement, is used as a reference to the findings in the report. Based on interviews with Chinese EIA experts and participation in an EIA fieldwork a theoretical frame has been designed for the inclusion of the public in EIA in Guangdong Province. This frame is compared with experiences from local testimonies in two villages (3 interviews), to see if local citizens experience EIA processes in line with the theoretical frame and further more to identify the kinds of conflicts that arise during the EIA process in Guangdong province. The results in this report show that local citizens in Guangdong province are included very late in the EIA process, at a point when the project design already is established and where new ideas poorly can be incorporated. Information disclosed to local citizens is sparse and leaves little opportunity for citizens to relate critically to the projects. In relation to international experience, the degree of inclusion in Guangdong Province is low. Testimonies from citizens shows that one village saw no inclusion to great dissatisfaction to the citizens, while another village saw the inclusion corresponding to that described in the theoretical frame.

EducationsTekSam - Technological and Socio-Economic Planning, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) Undergraduate or graduate
Publication date29 Aug 2013
SupervisorsHenning Schroll


  • Public Participation
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Developing country
  • Transitional country
  • Arnstein
  • Case