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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Guangzhou begins weekly news briefings

By Zheng Caixiong (China Daily)

16:35, March 29, 2012

When Gong Haijie, deputy director of Guangzhou construction committee, arrived in the central hall of the city government's headquarters on Tuesday night, he was under the media spotlight - literally.

Media photographers competed to get the first photo of the first government official to brief the media after the city's weekly routine work conference.

Starting this week, Guangzhou has decided to hold a news conference immediately after each of the city's weekly work conferences.

"The city government has passed the 'Comprehensive Management Regulations on Constructing a Good Living Environment in Guangzhou' during this just-finished work conference," Gong said during the news briefing, attended by many reporters.

He also answered questions from the reporters, who had waited for more than two hours because the work conference had been delayed.

The news briefing was on the second floor of the city government's headquarters, a building with old-world charm. On the building's third floor are the offices of Chen Jianhua, mayor of Guangzhou, and his deputies.

Mayor Chen said the news briefings will help make the city government's work and operations more transparent to the media and the public.

"They (the briefings) are just the first step toward building an open and transparent city government," Chen said.

"Some of the city's routine work conferences will be broadcast live in the coming months," he said, adding that the city government is determined to build a transparent government to better serve its residents in the following years.

Chen was elected in January.

Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, has become the first city in China to hold news briefings immediately after routine work conferences.

The news briefing initiative was praised by many experts.

Huang Shiding, director of urban management research institute under Guangzhou Academy of Social Science, said the initiative is of great significance because it indicates the government's urban management concept has made great progress.

"It would help make the city government's work and operations more transparent and enable the media and residents to supervise those workings," he told China Daily.

Zhu Ying, a professor at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, said the new briefings are a positive development because they safeguard the residents' right to know.

"According to surveys, most residents actually did not know what the government has done in the past and what the government is doing now," Zhu said.

Zhu urged the government to take even bolder steps to allow local residents' representatives to attend city work conferences as visitors.

Xie Cuilan, a Guangzhou white-collar worker, said the news briefings would help establish a conduit between the city government and the public.

"I hope it will work efficiently in serving residents," she said.

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