Chinese premier defines criteria for fighting corruption

By An Baijie and Wang Xiaodong | Source: ANN
Disclosure is the key to clean government and fighting corruption, Premier Li Keqiang said at the State Council’s first meeting on clean governance held in Beijing on Tuesday.

The new government will continue to focus on developing the economy, improving living standards and promoting social justice, Li said, according to the Xinhua News Agency. “It is imperative to build an innovative and clean government under the rule of law,” Li said.

“Clean governance is the cornerstone for the credibility of a government, and it is expected by the people,” Li said.

“Open and transparent use of power is the key to building a clean government.”

Delay in disclosure by some local governments has led to unmerited speculation and even panic among some sections of the public, Li said.

Li also called for disclosure on food and drug safety and pollution so that government work can be supervised by the public and the media.

“We must take the step in advance, rather than hurry to handle these issues when they have caused a disturbance in society,” he said.

During a news conference on March 17, Li reminded government officials that serving the people and making money are two separate paths.

To save public expense, Li vowed that no new government buildings will be built, the government payroll will decrease, and receptions, business trips and the use of official vehicles will be slashed.

Zhu Lijia, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said that information disclosed by local governments should be more detailed and relevant.

“Many local governments disclosed trivial things such as government meetings and officials’ activities, which is useless and boring for the public,” he said.

The authorities must publicise key information, including the process of making relevant policies, how many deputies to the people’s congress oppose the policies, and so on.

“For example, when the government decides to repair a road, the public must know why the road needs repair, how much it will cost, and who will take charge of the bidding process,” he said.

Local governments should also tell the public about the process and criteria for any reshuffles, and let the public know exactly why someone is promoted or demoted, he said.

The budget and expenses should be disclosed in a more identifiable manner to avoid the possibility of misusing public funds, he added.

People’s congresses at all levels should supervise the government in a more effective manner rather than always saying “yes”, he said.

Jiang Ming’an, a law professor at Peking University, said that making information more transparent will help the government win more public trust.