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Efforts to boost transparency will help iron out improper practices: analysts

08-04-2011 08:53 BJT

BEIJING, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- A recent circular that urges increased transparency in Chinese governmental affairs has been referred to by analysts as a "strategic move" by central authorities to iron out improper communication practices by government agencies.

China's State Council, or cabinet, and the General Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee jointly issued a circular on Tuesday, calling for increased publicity for major policies and projects that are directly related to the people's interests.

"The circular is directed against government agencies that have tended to cover up (the truth)," said Zhou Hanhua, a law expert with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

According to the circular, information on major emergencies, such as investigation results and details on government efforts to address emergencies, should be released to the public in an "objective and timely manner."

The central government also ordered local government departments to ensure transparency in government affairs in order to protect the people's right to know about and supervise the government.

The publication of the circular came on the heels of a deadly high-speed train crash near the city of Wenzhou in east China's Zhejiang Province last month.The train crash killed 40 people and injured another 191.

Zhu Lijia, a professor with the Chinese Academy of Governance, blamed a lack of transparency in policy-making as a factor that has led to major problems in China over the past few years.

Wang Yukai, another professor with the Chinese Academy of Governance, believes that stronger enforcement of the policies outlined in the circular is critical to ensure increased openness in government affairs.

After the train crash, railway officials said the accident was caused by "serious design flaws" in railway signaling equipment, which has done little to assuage the public's concerns.

Internet users have resorted to using online forums and microblog services to voice their anger and concern.

New forms of media such as microblogs have prompted the government to publicize relevant information, said Wang.

However, some of the explanations given after the accident failed to address public concerns and therefore undermined government credibility, he said.

To embrace openness and transparency in government affairs, Wang said it is important to improve the established communication system and ensure proper enforcement of government regulations.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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