Governors need to be more open

By Wang Zhuoqiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-12-20 07:20

Provincial governors have lower transparency and exposure in their work than mayors, a poll has found.

The study showed a mayor's work transparency was 51.3 per cent and a governor's only 44.7 per cent.

The survey, released yesterday, was conducted by the Horizon Research Group, a leading market research and consulting company based in Beijing.

The survey, carried out in six major cities of which five are provincial capitals, interviewed 1,592 respondents aged between 16 and 60.

"It was an experimental exercise as public evaluation of senior officials is rare in China," said Yuan Yue, chairman of the Horizon Research Group.

The results of the poll come as no surprise to those who work in the system.

"Chinese officials often keep low profiles," Han Congbi, a deputy director of the Beijing Shijingshan District Organization Department, said.

The low work transparency and exposure of senior civil servants could affect the public's confidence in supporting the government's work, said Yuan.

Jiang Changjian, professor of the Fudan University in Shanghai, said the idea of reflecting an administration's performance on particular senior officials helps feedback on its polices.

Administrations can continue their good work and yet learn from the feedback, he said.

For the public, it is more convenient to monitor and interact with local administrations if civil servants can be more open in their work, Jiang said.

He said to keep the public informed of the government's work requires strategy.

"Public services, like commercial companies, need to learn marketing strategies," Jiang said.

The professor suggested one way how officials can learn to promote their policies to the general public.

Governors and mayors should spend more time talking to the media and use it as a platform to communicate with the community, Jiang said.

The index for public assessment of public services was also released by the company yesterday.

It showed the country scores a relatively low 63.16 out of 100.

"Public services in China has improved but still has a long way to go in catching up with the public's increasing expectations," said Deng Guosheng, associate professor of the school of Public Policy & Management of Tsinghua University.

The research sampled 4,218 interviewees in eight cities, seven towns and seven rural areas.

Weaknesses were found in social security, employment, public safety and sanitation.

(China Daily 12/20/2006 page2)

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