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Publicizing gov't spending boosts transparency

(Xinhua)

10:05, July 21, 2012

BEIJING, July 20 (Xinhua) -- The publicization of the spending of multiple central government departments on Thursday marks another step toward a clean and transparent government in China.

For the second time in history, over 90 central government departments and public institutions revealed how public money was spent on receptions, vehicles and overseas trips by officials.

According to the figures released, 9.36 billion yuan (1.48 billion U.S. dollars) was spent on receptions, vehicles and overseas trips, also known as "the three public consumptions," which have been deemed by the public as a major source of corruption and waste.

Compared to last year, the latest publication featured more detailed entries, including basic administrative costs, which were published for the first time. Charts and notes make it easier to understand the data.

Since China issued its regulation on information publicity in 2007, governments at all levels have tried their best to improve their transparency. The publicity of their expenditures brings one of the government's most important responsibilities, its finances, under public supervision, a necessary approach toward a truly clean and service-oriented government.

The multitude of public opinions, doubts and criticisms issued following the publicization of the expenditures will do no harm to the government and society, but help supervise and urge authorities to improve their ability to find and address problems, eliminate bureaucracy and serve the people.

The public's greatest concerns involve the accuracy and truthfulness of the figures, as well as whether a system has been established to correct any misconduct. The government therefore has a responsibility to improve its budgeting mechanism and create an accountability system to boost its credibility.

The publicization came two weeks after the central government created a regulation aimed at cutting costs. It explicitly prohibits government agencies from purchasing luxury items, goods or commodities, and calls for greater supervision over the use of public funds for the "three public consumptions."

China's goal of building a clean and transparent government will take some time to achieve. But the country will make continuous steps toward this end through external supervision and internal regulation.

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