A team from the Institute of Law under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences assessed the efficiency of information disclosure by the central government and local authorities in 2014.
The assessment covered 56 ministries and departments under the State Council, 31 provincial-level governments and five city-governments. It focused on whether, and how, these authorities disclosed information, and if the public could conveniently access the information.
Various platforms were used to disclose information, including official websites, government gazettes, news conferences, weibo and wechat. Most of the authorities’ websites contained designated channels to disclose information for public scrutiny, including regulations they formulated.
Of the 56 State Council ministries and departments, 51 disclosed their 2014 budgets on their websites, while 46 ministries and departments published a list of administrative approvals that they had the power to implement.
Ministries and departments surveyed that had the power to impose administrative punishment disclosed all, or part, of their cases involving administrative punishment.
Many of the central or local authorities responded to topics that grabbed media attention within days of them being reported by news outlets or social media.
However, the assessment team found that the central government and local authorities could improve their disclosure of information.
It found that only four of the State Council ministries and departments surveyed had set up a special department dedicated to information disclosure.
Some of the departments, the assessment found, in local authorities didn’t have their own websites, didn’t disclose enough online information that could serve the public, or didn’t update their information on time.
Most the local authorities surveyed didn’t disclose their budgets and how they accounted for them and most did not disclose how many officials went on foreign trips using government funds.