GUANGZHOU - The Guangdong provincial committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has launched a public relations campaign to upgrade its image, pledging to embrace transparency.
Mo Gaoyi, deputy head of the publicity department of Guangdong provincial Party committee, said spokespersons would act as "a bridge" linking Party departments to the public.
Speaking at a press conference in Guangzhou on Wednesday, he urged spokespersons to publicize major departmental policy decisions, projects, events and issues that are of concern to residents through local media in a timely and accurate manner.
Mo said spokespersons of Guangdong's Party departments would cultivate good relations with local media outlets over the coming months.
A total of 10 spokespersons from Guangdong provincial Party departments, including the mysterious Commission for Discipline Inspection and the sensitive Organization Department, made their first appearance at the gathering.
The Commission for Discipline Inspection is responsible for ensuring honesty in government and the Party by investigating illegal activities and corrupt Party officials, while the Organization Department is in charge of assessing and promoting officials.
The spokespersons each took it in turn to brief reporters on their departments' efforts to increase transparency, vowing to improve their service to the public and the media in the future.
Wang Xingning, secretary-general of Guangdong provincial Party Commission for Discipline Inspection and its spokesman, and Zhang Hui, spokesman for Guangdong provincial Party Committee's Organization Department, both said they would expand their contact with the media, keeping reporters abreast of developments and responding to issues that are of concern to local residents.
The spokespersons' contact phone numbers and e-mail addresses were made available to the public at the press conference.
Dong Tiance, a professor with the school of journalism and communication at Jinan University in Guangzhou, said the spokesperson system would help establish a conduit between the Party and the public.
"I hope the spokespersons will work efficiently in serving residents and the media," Dong said.
Cheng Long, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee, said the spokesperson system is of great significance in promoting intra-Party democracy and further improving the Party's governance.
Local media outlets have largely been receptive to the spokesperson system.
"I hope the spokespersons from the Party departments will offer more news tips and other useful material to the media in the future, instead of empty, official words," said a local reporter who declined to be named.
Party committees in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and all other prefecture-level cities in Guangdong have already established a spokesperson system in an effort to make their operations more open and transparent.
Guangdong, which borders the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, has increasingly been in the media spotlight for the rapid economic development that it has undergone in recent years.
The CPC Central Committee initially proposed the idea of introducing a spokesperson system in September 2009.