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Efforts to improve government transparency specified

Zhang Yue
Updated: Oct 31,2016 10:43 PM

The government will implement more specific rules to improve government transparency, calling for more public participation in policy making and better sharing of information.

A new guideline, which specifies a set of requirements on government transparency, was approved during the State Council’s executive meeting on Oct 31 presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.

“Government transparency is vital to transforming government functions,” Premier Li said. “And we need better efforts in improving government transparency.”

The new guideline is a set of rules and requirements on improving government transparency through policy making, implementation, information regulation, public services as well as keeping the public informed. For example, it designates that by the end of 2017, government at all levels should set up a system that allows attendance from the public at government meetings, especially attendance from the press, stakeholders, and experts. It also requires that policy documents, especially those that may have an impact on people’s lives, need feedback from the public before they are issued. It also requires government at all levels to set up by the end of 2018 a specified catalog for types of documents that ought to be publicized, and constant adjustments will be needed on such catalogs.

Premier Li said that government, at all levels, should work hard on building a comprehensive platform for public services as well as government resource sharing in order to enhance policy interpretation, as well as giving a prompt reply to public concerns.

More adequate and prompt interpretation of State Council-level policies is required, according to the new guideline. Government departments in charge of drafting particular policies should give a full interpretation when such policies are issued. Systematic approaches are also required for government at all levels in responding to public concerns.

“Through efforts to improve government transparency, we work to make our government more service-oriented and provide more convenience for those starting business,” Premier Li said.

The new guideline calls for a clearer and defined responsibility across all government departments in government information sharing and transparency so that work will be further enhanced. Meanwhile, a third-party evaluation will also be introduced to evaluate how well the measures are implemented.

The government has been making comprehensive efforts to improve public information sharing and government transparency, especially since 2013. The State Council just approved another guideline on improving government services via the internet across the country in September, as part of efforts in government information sharing.

“Ensuring government affairs transparency is a duty for government departments at all levels,” Premier Li stressed. “For policies that may exert a big influence on the market as well as people’s livelihood in particular, government should inform the public of these policies promptly. Otherwise, any delay may fail market expectations, and thus have an ill effect on the economy as well as public confidence in the government.

“Especially in cases of public emergency, related departments should take the initiative in sharing information with the public and answering concerns from the media, and take responsibility where possible,” he added.