Survey: People want lowdown on pay

By Wang Ying (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-05-14 07:16

People want to know how much government officials earn, a survey published on Monday has found.

The research was carried out following the introduction on May 1 of a government information disclosure regulation, which demands local governments be more transparent on issues that affect the public interest.

The survey, jointly conducted by China Youth Daily and, polled more than 3,800 people about their views on the new regulation.

"More than 77 percent of people chose 'assets of government officials' as the information they most wanted," said on its website.

Budgetary and accounting information, land seizures, house demolitions, and how governments react to "sudden public incidents" were also high on the wish list, the survey found.

The regulation gives the public the right to information about government policies, including finances, economic plans and environmental regulations.

Of those surveyed, 65 percent said they would apply for information if they needed it, while 23 percent said they would wait and see.

In response to the question, "What will you do if your application fails to get access to the information?", 34 percent said they would seek help from the media, 23 percent said they would go on applying in accordance with the rules, and 22 percent said they would seek help from their friends and family.

On May 4, Yan Yiming, a lawyer from Shanghai, submitted applications to the environmental protection departments in Anhui and Henan provinces requesting the names of major polluting companies in the two areas and details of local environmental standards, China Youth Daily reported.

He also applied to the health department in Fuyang, Anhui, for information on how the local government was handling the outbreak of hand-foot-mouth disease.

"My applications have been accepted and I will be given a reply within 15 days, in line with the regulation," the Shanghai lawyer said.

"The information will provide me with evidence for my cases and the regulations will help people learn more about their governments," Yan said.

Zhang Xiaofeng, a doctor in Guangzhou, said that while the new regulation should help improve the imgaes of the local governments, more measures are needed to ease its implementation.

"I don't actually know how to apply for information," he said.

Zhan Jiang, a professor at China Youth Political College, said the public will become familiar with the regulations.

However, both people and government departments should be told more about it, he said.

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