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More openness pledged for 2018

China Daily,December 20, 2017 Adjust font size:

State Council Information Office vows greater help for media to get word out

The State Council Information Office will play a better role in connecting China and the rest of the world with more openness and improved services this year, Jiang Jianguo, minister of the office, said on Tuesday.

Last year, the SCIO, various ministries and local governments in China hosted thousands of news conferences to aid the work of media, Jiang said at a New Year's reception hosted by the office in Beijing on Tuesday evening.

More than 400 people attended, including media representatives from China and overseas, spokespersons of central government ministries, foreign diplomats and representatives of international organizations.

This year has been of milestone significance in China's development history, with the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China electing a new leadership with President Xi Jinping as the core and laying out a grand blueprint for building China into a modern socialist country, Jiang said in a speech at the reception.

On Tuesday, the SCIO also released the latest version of a list of 244 spokespersons for central government departments and local governments, 88 of whom are new appointments. The SCIO has released such lists every year since 2004, when 75 spokespersons were listed.

"I find the number of news conferences given this year has increased compared with previous years, and they cover areas including economic data and economic policies," Lim Zi Heng, Beijing correspondent of Singapore-based Lianhe Zaobao, said at the event. "I can feel China is making progress in releasing information and transparency."

He said he has been focusing on economics and financial news, and follows news conferences given by government departments such as the National Development and Reform Commission, the National Bureau of Statistics and the General Administration of Customs.

"Such news conferences help us get more reliable information and data."

Bill Birtles, a correspondent with Australian Broadcasting Corp's Beijing bureau, said he has been in China for two and a half years and has regularly attended the news conferences of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"I hope other ministries will also give news conferences every day like the Foreign Ministry so we can get more of the information that we need," he said.

Birtles said he has done interviews in other places, like Guizhou province, and was glad to find local governments willing to help.