China issues guidelines to increase government transparency

Beijing, Feb 18 (IANS) China’s Cabinet or the State Council has called for more transparent governance by 2020 by making more government information public, the media reported on Thursday.

In a document issued on Wednesday, governments at all levels were asked to keep the public informed in five main aspects: policymaking policy implementation, managerial affairs, public services and government decisions, the China Daily reported.

“The document is a new national guideline for the disclosure of government affairs,” said Yang Weidong, a law professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance.

Yang said the fourth plenary session of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee in October 2014 set the tone for the publication of information and listed what should be made public.

The document specified when governments should make information public and when to keep it confidential.

Government websites are important platforms to demonstrate administrative capacities and give the public access to official information, according to the document. Thus it is critical to push forward the cooperation of the internet and governmental services, making websites better serve the public, it said.

With the participation of people from different walks of life, and especially with the involvement of the media, the decision-making procedures are expected to be more transparent and better serve the interests of the public, Yang said.

The document requires making public three lists: government powers, government responsibilities and the negative list, which identifies sectors and businesses that are off-limits to foreign investment.

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