Source: (2006) In Michael W. Dowdle, Ed., Public Accountability, Designs, Dilemmas and Experiences. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 329-357.

"Comparative constitutional law can thus provide a useful foil for exploring today's apparent accountability crisis, and perhaps even for addressing some aspects of that crisis. This chapter uses the experience of constitutional development in the People's Republic of China to explore what such a methodology might look like. Anglo-American scholars are clearly 'outsiders' insofar as China's constitutional system is concerned. On the one hand, that system lacks the defining attributes we associate with constitutional accountability, namely the use of direct public election to fill principal constitutional offices and a bureaucratic, 'rule of law' architecture that binds lower-level civil servants to more politically responsive principals. On the other hand, China's constitutional system has experienced a significant quickening over the past fifteen years, showing increasing and recognizably-constitutional effectiveness. There clearly seems to be something going on there that escapes our cognition. An analytic methodology that is able to give usable comparative meaning and insight into China's constitutional system would seem to be of use, not only to our understandings of comparative constitutional law, but also to our more domestic efforts to identify the public accountability possibilities that might exist in the new and unfamiliar arenas and institutions that are coming to characterize governance in the post-regulatory era." (excerpt)