Government services received generally low ratings in a recent evaluation,
with public sanitation and environment protection faring the worst.
The Public Service Development Report 2006 said public services in China
remain underdeveloped and are plagued by problems like unbalanced development
and inefficiency, according to Xinhua News Agency.
Jointly conducted by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the
Development Research Centre of the State Council, the report's findings were
based on official statistics from 2000 to 2004.
The report evaluated eight sectors - basic education, public sanitation,
social security, science and technology, infrastructure, public security,
environmental protection and general public services.
Of those, pubic sanitation made little progress in the years measured. The
situation even deteriorated in some areas, the report said.
Deng Guosheng, an associate professor at Tsinghua University's school of
public policy and management, said public sanitation and environment protection
had been singled out because the evaluation's conclusions were more or less in
accordance with the public's firsthand experiences.
Deng attributed the poor condition of the country's public services to
inadequate investment by the government.
His views echoed the report's conclusions, which showed that the country's
wealthier cities have outperformed their less well-to-do counterparts in terms
of the quality of the public services on offer.
The report hailed the relatively comprehensive public services available in
Beijing and Shanghai, both of which enjoy large tax bases.
The professor attributed the two municipalities' efficiency to their adoption
of diversified approaches to delivering public services.
For example, in Shanghai's Pudong New Area, many pubic services have been
outsourced to non-profit organizations or enterprises.
Beyond increasing investment and adopting new approaches to delivering
services, the government should also strengthen the monitoring, appraisals and
decision-making powers of government agencies that provide public services, the
(China Daily 04/10/2007 page3)