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Civil servants chopped from hearings

09-01-2011 09:16 BJT

GUANGZHOU - Government officials and civil servants in this capital city of Guangdong province will no longer be selected as representatives for public hearings starting September.

The trial measures are designed to ensure fairness at the hearings, which are organized when local residents have major disagreements on important city issues.

"Officials and civil servants usually have more channels to express their opinions. So non-government employees can better represent the public," said Lin Qi, deputy director of the Legislative Affairs Office of Guangzhou.

However, government officials and civil servants have attended all public hearings as representatives in the previous months.

In July, two government officials from the city's commission of communication and the city's bureau of finance were among the 25 representatives attending a public hearing for the price hike of local taxi service.

As a result, many local residents questioned the fairness and justice of the hearing due to the participation of the two officials who were in favor of raising the city's taxi fees during the public hearing.

Wang Fengchen, a white-collar worker in Guangzhou, said banning officials and civil servants from attending public hearings is good news for the city's large number of residents.

"Officials and civil servants always support the government's policy during the public hearings," she said.

However, Liu Yi, a local civil servant, said civil servants' legal rights will be infringed if they are not allowed to attend the city's public hearings.

"Civil servants are also residents of Guangzhou and they have the right to voice their opinions on the city's major issues," Liu said.

According to the trial measures, all the representatives of the public hearings will be chosen from local residents older than 18, or older than 16 if the public hearings involving the legal rights and interests of the minors.

Media will be invited to cover the hearings.

An official from the city government said the measures aim to prevent the city's public hearings from becoming a show.

Wang Xuyang, a senior lawyer from Guangdong E-time Law Firm, said it is not important whether the representatives are civil servants or not if the government takes effective measures to ensure all the representatives are chosen openly and fairly, and if they can express their views freely during the public hearings.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: China Daily

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