Premier Li Keqiang encouraged the use of the Internet in a bid to further accelerate the administrative approval process at an executive meeting of the State Council on Jan 7.
“As a matter of fact, most approvals can be achieved online,” Li said, “Our local governments and departments are capable to realize it.”
The approval process can and should be accelerated. Otherwise, the government will be unable to keep pace in an era of rapid change — and it could not be considered a modern government, Li added.
Aiming to boost the government’s credibility and executive ability, several other requirements specifying what the government should do while receiving an application were also announced.
A single location should be designated in each department for the convenience of applicants. Instructions concerning the application process should be clarified enough to avoid rework.
Approval authorities are supposed to finish the process within a limited time with no excuse to prolong.
Information related to the approval must be publicized, unless it involves national, commercial secrets or personal privacy.
Approval protocols need to be revamped, Li emphasized, the administrative system should run under the rule of law.
If the approval process is not regulated, it leads easily to corruption and rent-seeking, Li said, thus, the principal question is to ensure equality in front of the law.
“No matter who you know and how powerful you are, you have to comply with the rules,” the Premier said.
China has struggled to simplify administrative procedures as part of its reform efforts to stimulate the market amid an economic slowdown. The State Council has eliminated or delegated to local governments 798 approval items in the past two years.