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Links 1 through 6 of 6 by David Bandurski tagged openness_of_government_information

In a piece published in the most recent edition of the official Party journal Qiushi (求是), and shared across China's internet today, Premier Wen Jiaobao (温家宝) calls for great government transparency, "creating the conditions for the people to monitor the government." The piece, drawn from Premier Wen's March 26 speech on clean governance at the State Council, comes right on the heels of the official announcement last week that former Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai has been removed from the Party's Central Committee for "serious discipline violations."

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As news comes that artist and dissident blogger Ai Weiwei (艾未未) was detained in Beijing yesterday, readers may want to review AIWW Study, an online archive of work by Ai and his work team, which have documented many important cases in China in the past few years, including the Yang Jia court case in 2007 and the collapse of schools the Sichuan earthquake in 2008.  

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As the controversy continues in China over the suspicious death of village leader and rights activist Qian Yunhui (钱云会), Wu Danhong (吴丹红), an assistant professor at China University of Political Science and Law, writes in Southern Metropolis Weekly that the case underscores yet again the crisis of credibility facing local governments across China. Openness of information, Wu writes, is one important key to government credibility: "We learned already from the 2003 SARS crisis that the open release of information helps to raise government credibility, and during the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, the government release of information on the disaster . . . helped to prevent the spread of rumors, settle the hearts of the people and did much to raise government credibility."  

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According to a news report from Guangzhou Daily today, Internet users in China have now shared "black light" (黑灯) photographs of apartments with lights off for close to 20 Beijing housing neighborhoods in order to document the high level of housing vacancy in the capital. Housing vacancy has become a highly sensitive issue in China in recent days, as potentially high vacancy rates might indicate oversupply on the market and signal pending collapse in the domestic real estate sector. Last week, well-known blogger and columnist Wu Yue San Ren (五岳散人) wrote of China's "abnormal" over-sensitivity to information, focussing on a recent decision by China's National Bureau of Statistics against releasing numbers about the housing vacancy rate, citing the sensitivity of these figures ( Guangzhou Daily reports that real-estate developers have responded to the online "black light" campaign by installing bulbs in vacant apartments.

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At a meeting held yesterday, officials in Guangdong Province promulgated a series of regulations that will reportedly require that the details of assets held by the bosses of state-owned enterprises be made publicly available, Guangzhou's Yangcheng Evening News reported. The newspaper said the regulations would also require that the details of partners and children living overseas and other related information be made public. The report said that disciplinary action had been taken against 203 bosses of state-owned enterprises in Guangdong in 2008-2009.

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Speaking with The Beijing News, Gao Qiang (高强), deputy director of the financial and economic commission of the National People's Congress (NPC) and member of the CCP's Central Committee, said the conditions are right in China for full disclosure to the public of the budgets of local governments and central government agencies. Gao's conversation with The Beijing News suggests, however, that making budgets public is a process that will take years. According to Gao, scores of central government organs made their budgets public for the first time this year. He described the process as "extremely complex," pointing out, for example, that the budget of the Ministry of Education also includes the income and expenditures of more than 100 universities.

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