Shanghai mayor vows transparency with official vehicles

13:49, March 30, 2011      

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Mayor Han Zheng of Shanghai vowed Tuesday to provide more transparency regarding the use of official vehicles by municipal officials.

Han said during a conference that the city would release previously "sealed" information to the public.

"The local media must play the role of publicizing government information correctly and in a timely way," Han said in a statement published on the government's website.

The mayor did not explain what details or how much information would be released.

Information about banquets and receptions held for government officials and overseas field trips by public servants will also be released to the public, he said.

Han said that the government would provide more details about the city's budget, audits, construction projects, and explain how the city handles policymaking and manages State-owned property.

Official vehicles have been a source of controversy across China. Many critics say there are too many vehicles not only used by top officials but lower-ranking ones also.

Under the current regulations issued in 1994 by the State Council, China's cabinet, only those officials ranking higher than deputy-ministerial level could have an official vehicle.

Ye Qing, a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC), raised the issue at the NPC session earlier this month and proposed that only three official vehicles should be reserved for each government unit.

"I have never used the official vehicle during private time, and we have strict regulations to supervise the usage," an official surnamed Sun, who uses an official vehicle, told the Global Times Tuesday.

A local resident surnamed Lü told the Global Times Tuesday that she is quite upset about the use of official vehicles. "Usually they are using high-end luxury vehicles, which I don't think is necessary, after all they are using the taxes I pay."

Chen Jun, a government administration professor at East China University of Political Science and Law, said so many vehicles add to traffic problems.

"Government use of official vehicles has been a long time issue, adding to the traffic problems in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai," Chen said.

Premier Wen Jiabao said in February that the detailed measures to reform the use of official vehicles would be finished this year.

Source: Global Times
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