Occasionally I am asked to speak to Chinese government delegations visiting Canberra, about eGovernment. The latest was in February on "Framework for e-Government: Security, Green ICT and Data Management" (安全，绿色ICT和数据管理). Last week China's Premier, Wen Jiabao, called for pushing ahead with political reforms ("Wen to carry on reforms", China Daily, 15 March 2012). I suggest that Chinese political reform could be furthered using electronic government (e-Government or Gov 2.0) techniques. In particular public sphere techniques (公共领域) can be used to involve citizens in policy making.
All governments, regardless of political system, worry about public consultation, as this may be a platform for criticism of the government. However, there are techniques to focus the discussion on positive outcomes. On a visit to help with the Beijing Olympic 2008 Website, I visited the offices of the People's Daily newspaper, which has a studio equipped for live web casting. Clearly the facilities and technical expertise are available for policy consultation online, what is needed are the administrative procedures and training.