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China specifies efforts to improve government affairs transparency

Xinhua, November 1, 2016 Adjust font size:

Chinese government will implement rules more specifically to improve government information transparency, calling for more public participation in policy making and better sharing of information.

A new guideline, which specifies a set of requirements on government affairs transparency, was approved on Monday during the State Council's executive meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.

"Government affairs transparency is vital to transforming government functions," Li said. "And we need better efforts in improving government affairs transparency."

The new guideline is a set of specific rules and requirements on improving government affairs transparency through stages of policy making, implementation, information regulation, public services as well as keeping the public informed.

It designates that by the end of 2017, government at all levels should set up a system that allows attendance from the public at government meetings, especially attendance from the press, stakeholders, and experts.

It requires that policy documents, especially those that may impose or result in a crucial impact on people's lives, need feedback from the public before they are issued.

It also requires government at all levels to set up a specified catalog for types of documents that ought to be publicized by the end of 2018, while adjustment will be constantly required on such catalogs.

Li pointed out that government should work hard in building a comprehensive platform for public services and government resource sharing so as to enhance policy interpretation, while giving a prompt reply to public concerns.

More adequate and prompt interpretation on State Council level policies are required, according to the new guideline. Government departments in charge of drafting particular policies should give a full interpretation when such policies are issued. Systematic approaches are also required for government at all levels in giving prompt reply to public concern.

"Through efforts in improving government transparency, we work to make our government more service-oriented and provide more convenience for those starting business," Li said.

The new guideline calls for a clearer and defined responsibility across all government departments in government information sharing and transparency so that work will be further enhanced. Meanwhile, a third-party evaluation will also be introduced on evaluating how well the above measures are implemented.

The government has been making comprehensive efforts on improving public information sharing and government affairs transparency, especially since 2013. The State Council has just approved another guideline on improving government services via the internet across the country in September, an effort that helps with government information sharing.

"Ensuring government affairs transparency is a duty for government departments at all levels," Li stressed. "For policies that may exert a big influence on the market as well as people's livelihood in particular, government should inform the public of these policies promptly. Otherwise, any delay may fail market expectations, and thus have an ill effect on economy as well as public confidence in the government."

"Especially in cases of public emergency, related departments should take the initiative in sharing information with the public and answering concerns from the media, and take responsibilities where possible," Li added.