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State Council to further promote openness in government affairs

Updated: Nov 15,2016 9:42 PM

The Chinese government is going to further promote the openness of government affairs, according to a circular released by the State Council on Nov 15.

Five sections of information that should be more transparent are listed in the document — policy decision, execution, management, service and results.

By 2017, all local governments and departments should set up a mechanism that invites stakeholders, public representatives, specialists and the media to attend government meetings, the circular said. Crucial policies and reforms must be open to public discussion before they are officially sealed.

Authorities are also urged to make a catalogue of the affairs they need to open before 2018.

Standardization of information openness should be promoted at grassroots governments, said the circular. One hundred county-level governments will be chosen to try out an effective and standardized way to open grassroots government affairs, such as taxing and healthcare.

Apart from information openness, officials of State Council departments and local governments are also urged to explain policies more effectively to the public, according to the document.

Departments under the State Council should be the main player in explaining government policies, said the circular. Officials should participate in policy briefings, news conferences and receive media interviews to explain the background, measures and progress of policies.

To increase the transparency of government affairs, the government should actively reply to social concerns, said the document. They should clearly define the liability subjects, guarantee that the departments involved are the first responsible subjects, and collect public opinions in such areas as national policies and decisions.

It suggested that the government should study collected public opinions, and cope with different problems using different methods and release relevant information in a timely manner.

In addition, establishment and management of government websites at all levels should be strengthened and the coordination of these websites should be promoted by integrating the information resources and improving the cluster effects.

The government should also fully utilize media platforms to publicize information and improve publicity influences, and the government gazettes should list all the laws and regulations released by the governments, providing standard texts for the public and judicatory cases, according to the circular.

Public participation in government affairs openness should also be expanded. The document urged to detail the scope and items that the public could participate in to let them be a part of the policy making, implementation and supervision process to a larger extent. While participation approaches should be regulated, the channels also should be improved by exploring new involvement methods and increasing new interaction functions of government websites.

The government should also improve the working mechanism of the transparency of government affairs, set up a corresponding evaluation system, strengthen related training and enhance the assessment and accountability mechanism, said the document.