Leading by example

By Tan Yingzi and Li Yingqing (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-12-28 08:50
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Leading by example

Wu Hao,deputy director of Yunnan Provincial publicity department.

After just two months in office, he shocked the city by releasing in the Kunming Daily four pages of the contact information of all the heads of the municipal department. The newspaper sold out in hours and an additional 30,000 copies had to be printed to meet the demand.

He also forced his officials "back into the classroom", organizing many lectures for them. He even fired a local investment official who fell asleep at a lecture on investment and development. Recently, he made foreign language skills a new requirement in the selection and promotion of local officials.

He has also invited the media to assess the work of government and promoted e-government to reduce administrative costs and improve work efficiency.

Faced with a messy downtown area where hundreds of shabby village houses stand next to new modern buildings, Qiu launched a large-scale relocation program which involved many disputes on compensation.

Leading by example

And at his insistence, construction on the long planned second ring road, that will greatly ease the traffic congestion, started last year and was completed ahead of schedule.

Wu Hao, the first Chinese official to use Twitter, the online social networking service, attracted nearly 50,000 followers in just one month.

Feeding about seven tweets through his mobile phone every day, the youngest deputy director of a provincial publicity department in the country is not afraid of sharing his work, personal life and emotions with strangers.

"Some say I am trying to show off (by using Twitter)," he says. "But we Chinese officials should also show some personality."

Last month, Wu set up another Twitter account for the Yunnan publicity department for the quick dissemination of government information. The move made Yunnan the first province with a government department using Twitter.

"We opened our Twitter feed to encourage public opinion on social issues. It shows the government's confidence in making its work more open," Wu says.

The journalist-turned-publicity official understands well the power of the media, especially that of China's 380 million Internet users.

As an enthusiastic veteran Web user, he believes in the way advanced information technology can change communication between the government and the public.

Within a year of assuming office, Wu established a reputation for his innovative ideas with several firsts. In February, a 24-year-old detainee Li Qiaoming was found beaten to death by a fellow inmate in a Yunnan detention house after initial claims he died during a game of hide-and-seek. Under enormous pressure and suspicion voiced by netizens, Wu came up with the novel idea of inviting a group of fam ous bloggers in China to investigate the case together with the local police.

In November, at the country's first Internet press conference, 100 citizens aged from 17 to 66 in Kunming and other Yunnan cities were selected to act as "voluntary media supervisors", responsible for overseeing the province's 10 newspapers.

Despite the controversy over the two Yunnan officials' radical reforms, their work has been recognized by the public and learned from by many young innovative Chinese officials.

Qiu He's story has spread to the whole country and a book on his reform in Suqian has become a must-read for many local officials.

Wu Hao has been nominated for several national awards for innovation.

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