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Government must meet public demand for openness

(People's Daily)

16:57, August 19, 2011

Edited and Translated by People's Daily Online

As technology and hardware have been upgraded to "version 2.0," the public requirements for transparency in government affairs have also been upgraded to "version 2.0." The Chinese government can make great achievements only by following the trend of the times, actively responding to social needs and making practical efforts to increase government transparency.

It should be a general principle to give out necessary information, though some exceptions are allowed. This principle has been increasingly popular among government bodies, and the publicity of government information has become an irreversible trend in China since the 16th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, especially since the introduction of the "Regulations on Government Information Openness." The formation of such an irreversible trend should be attributed to the determined efforts of both the central and local governments and also to the growing social demand for transparency.

In the information age, only when government agencies increase transparency, can they adapt to the profound changes in social ecosystem. With a stronger desire than ever to participate in and supervise state affairs, the Chinese people are increasingly demanding transparency from the government.

According to rough statistics, there had been more than 2,000 reports from traditional media from July 1 to Aug. 15 about the disclosure of central government agencies' expenses for official receptions, vehicles and overseas trips, which were reposted online about 16,600 times during this period. Meanwhile, there were more than 200,000 related micro-blog posts and about 11,100 related forum posts, reflecting strong public demand for openness and transparency.

In an era when technical measures and hardware equipment have been upgraded to "edition 2.0," there will be larger platforms and more ways for realizing government transparency. With modern information technologies, government departments will have more advantages in such aspects as meeting social demands, improving their services, making their decisions public and accepting social supervision, and they could become more productive.

One year ago, the public security department of Jinan, the capital of Shandong Province opened its micro-blog. And now, the number of its fans has exceeded 10 million, the number of the pieces of information published on it has exceeded 5,600, the number of comments made by netizens and pieces of information re-published by netizens has exceeded 100,000, the number of replies and answers has exceeded 13,000, and the blog has solved more than 1,118 practical problems for netizens. From it, we could see the tremendous vigor of the "governmental affairs microblogging."

It must also be noticed that the social focus on government transparency has changed from quantity to quality. It has shifted from appreciating the gestures to pursuing the practical effects, and from asking for "being timely, precise, comprehensive and specific" to asking for "being understandable and useful."

Therefore, for governmental departments, the advanced technical measures have become a "double-edged sword." Used properly, they will bring transparency and public confidence to the government. Used improperly, it will make the government transparency nothing but empty words, and the public credit will be damaged.

Viewing it from the angle of changing times and progressing society, the current government transparency is still "insufficient to meet its demands." The deceptive transparency of "emphasizing the form and ignoring the content," the optional transparency of "not making what is strongly demanded public, but making only the insignificant public," the unilateral transparency of "only making it public but not replying to or only releasing it but not explaining it" and other "transparencies" of the same kind will not only damage the internal demand for a healthy operation of political power but also restrain the keen demands from all walks of life for transparent governmental information.

It's for sure that there's an adaptation process to leap from a long closed state to the recent trend of going public. Making government affairs public also needs to follow the saying of "look before you leap" and make self-perfection in the process of constantly meeting social demands and responding to social concerns so as to solve the problems of going public with public practices. Presently, the bottlenecks of incomplete procedures, deficient criteria and imperfect oversight and evaluation mechanisms are more prominent. Public demands to make "matters of the masses' concern and areas vulnerable to corruption" open become increasingly imperative. The basic points of the future development in making government affairs public lies in how to solve these new problems and meet new demands given the condition of the times.

Making government affairs public is to let the masses "know and judge everything" and to meet the increasing social demands of public information and service. In the meantime, taking the opportunity of promoting openness and transparent, the government can update and transform the power operation and governance mode so as to make good governance with the power of information, lead civilians to "do everything with initiative" and to further promote the development of reform and opening-up.


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Leave your comment1 comments

  1. Name

Ang at 2011-08-2260.50.14.*
I fully agreed that China government and officials make transparent to the public.NO government or officials is above the law and is answerable to public becuase the income of the government comes from the public. Public have the obsolute right to know everything the government doing
  

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