Government and Policy

CPC at all levels to have spokesperson

By Wu Jiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-12-30 07:23
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Spokesperson system to usher in more transparency, analysts say

China will accelerate efforts to establish next year a spokesperson system at all organizational levels of the Communist Party of China (CPC), a senior official said in Beijing yesterday.

The move is expected to speed information transparency and political democracy within the Party and society at large, analysts said.

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"We'll push forward the spokesperson system in departments of the CPC Central Committee and provincial-level CPC committees," Wang Chen, minister of the State Council Information Office, said during a press briefing in the city.

This system will help spokespersons release information on CPC affairs through press conferences and interview opportunities, Wang said.

The CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the CPC Central Committee's Organization Department, the United Front Work Department, the International Department, the Party History Research Center, the Party Literature Research Center, the Taiwan Work Office, and the Central Archives have already set up the system, Wang said.

China has already established a widespread news briefing system that covers administrative bureaus at both the central and local government level.

However, there are few spokesmen at most central or local-level CPC committees, which are the actual decision makers under the country's power framework.

The 17th CPC Central Committee first proposed the Party committee spokesperson system at its fourth plenary session in September.

The proposed system will help drive transparency in Party affairs and quicken political democracy in the country, analysts said.

Ren Jianming, a professor of political science at Tsinghua University, said the system would help institutionalize the process of publicizing Party affairs.

Earlier, despite calls to make its internal affairs transparent, some Party organs were selective about the process, and only gave out information on issues they wished to touch upon, said Ren.

After the new system is set up, they would have to face up to all public inquiries through the spokesperson, said Ren.

Current State Council regulations require all government agencies to make relevant information public.

Ren proposed that this be upgraded to a law designating all agencies executing public power to disclose information to the public.

"The law should cover Party organs, the National People's Congress, and also the judiciary," Ren said.

Even though government departments have spokespersons, the proposed Party committee spokesperson system will make a major difference, as the Party is the actual decision maker under the Chinese power framework, said Li Chengyan, professor of politics and governance at the School of Government, Peking University.

The spokesperson should inform the public about the decision making process within the Party, and government department spokespersons will explain issues arising from the process of policy implementation, Li said.

"Most Party affairs now remain mysterious, and that adds to public speculation. For instance, if there are people to answer queries regarding the reasons behind several recent suicides by some local leaders, it will certainly help clear the rumors," said Gao Xiaohua, a Beijing resident.