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Government vows more transparency

Updated: Dec 18,2014 7:06 AM

The country is promising to improve its information transparency by holding routine briefings every week next year to introduce major decisions, plans and economic and social policies of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council.

The State Council Information Office also updated its directory of spokespeople from different levels of government bodies, with specific names, titles and contact information. Included is information about the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, which didn’t release the information last year.

“I was told recently by some of our foreign friends that it was not easy to get through to some spokespeople, making it difficult for them to arrange interviews,” said Cai Mingzhao, minister of the State Council Information Office, during his speech at the 2015 New Year Reception.

“Here, I sincerely hope that you (spokespeople) will make a higher priority of media interviews, and accept media inquiries as an important duty.”

Cai also urged spokespeople to do their work “in a serious and responsible manner” by “ensuring the phone is on, giving timely replies to reporters’ questions, and making proper arrangements for their interviews”.

The information office said that in 2014, it organized 87 news conferences and briefings, a record. Central government departments held more than 1,000 news conferences and briefings.

The result was 540,000 reports about China in English-language media by the end of November, exceeding the overall total for last year.

Ni Hong, the spokeswoman of Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, said they always have a spokesperson to answer reporters’ inquiries, and last year’s “absence” was because of her predecessor’s retirement.

“There was a two-month gap before the ministry found another candidate to be the spokesperson,” Ni said.

The Ministry of Public Security went without a spokesperson for two years. It doesn’t have regular briefings and tends to release information after special activities such as the “Fox Hunt 2014” campaign to trace economic fugitives on the run abroad and confiscate their ill-gotten gains.

This year, it released information on two spokespeople, one of whom has been dealing with the media for years.

The directory also added new spokespeople from the State Internet Information Office and the Cyberspace Administration of China.