May 12

Transparency in government remains one of the major obstacles in China’s social and political reform. The Communist Party has publicly acknowledged the need for more transparency; only in the last 3-5 years has government offices at every level around the country begun to add press departments, issue press releases, and hold regularly press conferences. But this is only one step in government transparency.

The next little step might be the “Government Release of Information” regulation (中华人民共和国政府信息公开条例) issued by the State Council in January of 2007. This regulation went into effect on May 1st of this year, 2008. The regulation requires administrative government offices go through a formal process in terms of processing, analyzing, and finally releasing various types of information (including budgets, planning decisions, details on government expenditures, etc) to the public.

This article from the Guangzhou-based Southern Weekly gives us some idea of how this regulation might change the way Chinese government offices does business.

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