Local officials need oversight

Updated: 2007-01-24 06:56

Public supervision is needed in the government's decision-making procedures, says a signed article in Beijing Youth Daily. An excerpt follows:

The Western-style office building of Yingquan District government of Fuyang, Anhui Province, is called the "White House" by the locals. This building has aroused much controversy as the annual fiscal income of Yingquan District barely reaches 100 million yuan ($12.8 million), while the construction cost of the "White House" has exceeded 30 million yuan ($3.85 million).

A school was torn down to make room for the grand office building and now students have to study in a shabby compound. Many farmers lost their land to make way for supporting facilities. The farmers got only one-time compensation. The district government has not turned them into urban residents, let alone provided the minimum living subsidy guarantee.

Public money is used to build the "White House". But in Fuyang, an underdeveloped city, there are many public needs that have not yet been met. Education, public health and other public needs should be the priorities of public investment. A luxurious office building is surely not at the top of the list.

The "White House" is widely criticized, which shows the public does not accept it. There had not been sufficient public supervision in the process of planning and construction of the office building. There are obvious defects in the procedures.

A serious problem is that there are many similar luxury office buildings around the country. Luxurious image projects like office buildings or squares have wasted enormous social wealth and harmed the credibility of the government.

Public supervision should be emphasized to curb such unhealthy phenomena. When the decisions are made in the sunshine, the hearts of the public will be won.

(China Daily 01/24/2007 page10)