City opens channels for report of major concerns

Updated: 2012-01-12 07:43

By Zhu Chengpei and Zhang Xiaomin (China Daily)

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DALIAN, Liaoning - Liu Rensheng, 80, savored the good news from the local government in Dalian, in Northeast China's Liaoning province.

"My worries about the broken antitheft door at the entrance of my apartment building have been relieved. It couldn't protect us from burglars. Now, the district government has offered to fix it for free," Liu said.

Liu and other residents had made suggestions and appeals to government officials in face-to-face meetings during the second half of last year.

According to Zhang Liping, director of the Changli community in the Zhongshan district, the district government has promised to commit 1.5 million yuan ($237,500) this year to the maintenance of all antitheft doors in the old residential buildings in the area.

In September, New Business newspaper began its "A letter to Dalian" feature, in which residents were invited to air their thoughts about the community.

"Within 48 days, we received 2,148 letters. In them, workers, experts and foreigners living in Dalian, Dalian natives living in other cites, and many other people who love Dalian expressed their concerns and made suggestions," said Ma Li, editor-in-chief of New Business.

The first letter, Ma said, came from Fu Shanshan, a Harbin girl living in Dalian, who wrote of her concerns about home prices and the government's housing fund, as well as public transportation. The day after Fu's letter was published, an employee of the city administrative center of the housing fund called Fu and tried to answer her questions and address her suggestions.

On Oct 25, a letter from Tang Jun, Party leader of Dalian, was published in New Business answering questions raised in "A letter to Dalian".

"The letters build a good platform for the government to feel the pulse of the community. They are enthusiastic, rational, frank and comprehensive. Some criticism and suggestions are very sincere," Tang commented.

"Those that can be solved easily must be done immediately. The complicated ones will be given thought to find a reasonable solution," he wrote.

In order to build a long-term, direct communication platform, Dalian set up the website, where netizens can post threads to various government agencies to voice their suggestions, inquiries, complaints, and other thoughts.

According to Li Shouchang, director of the Party's supervision office of Dalian, about 980 threads were posted on the website within a week of its opening on Dec 29. More than 100 received replies in the first workday after the three-day New Year holiday.

In recent years, problems such as traffic jams and environmental damage amid the city's fast economic development have concerned residents.

"The life of the website relies on the trust of the citizens. Only if we solve their problems in a timely manner will they want to communicate with us directly," Li said.

During the 5th session of the 14th Dalian people's congress, from Jan 5 to 9, Mayor Li Wancai said the city will employ innovative methods to learn about and address residents' concerns.

According to the mayor's annual report on the work of the government, Dalian will improve social management by seeking more public participation to solve the pressing problems, protect the residents' rights and maintain harmonious social order.