Beijing should look at ways to improve the transparency of government, a senior political adviser says.
Liu Ji, a vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that although there were constitutional means for citizens to monitor the Government, in reality this often proved impossible.
Mr Liu, who has called on Beijing to accelerate the pace of democratisation, blamed this on a lack of transparency in the policy-making process.
He said Chinese people suffered from the tyranny of corrupt officials who considered themselves above public accountability.
Mr Liu said such abuses were so widespread they had become an underlying cause of the country's deep-rooted problem of corruption.
'For a long time, Chinese people were only informed what had been decided for them by the Government and knew very little about how these decisions were made,' Mr Liu said.
'The lack of transparency is also a feature in law-enforcement agencies and the judiciary.' He said that without transparency, the public would not be able to prevent officials from abusing their powers, or evaluate their competency.
Mr Liu said there were growing signs that senior leaders were moving towards support for greater openness.
For example, he said an edict had been issued ordering local governments to make public their affairs, and the Beijing Intermediate People's Court had recently decided on open trials.