District vows to provide quick info
Beijing's Chaoyang District has vowed to reply within seven working days to applications for government information.
The vow is backed by the district's supervision department, which said officials of those departments that fail to do so will be held responsible for the failure, the Beijing News reported.
Located in eastern Beijing, Chaoyang District includes the capital city's central business district, the well-known Xiushui Street and Sanlitun bar areas.
The district government is the first ever district or county government in Beijing to adopt a system of timely responses to residents' inquiries.
Since September 1, residents can send applications to the district government through mail, fax and e-mails to access government information.
Government departments will be required to reply within seven working days to queries for information that fit the public access criteria.
If the information residents applied for cannot be released, government organs should inform the applicants of the reason within the same period, sources said.
State secrets, commercial secrets, private and other sensitive contents may not be released.
Officials said information will only be secret according to the law in order that anything released to the public will not interfere with national security, damage interests of enterprises or individuals or influence the social stability and social order.
The Chaoyang government has received 327 applications from residents so far.
Most of the inquiries are about the approval procedure on construction certificates at night and layout of some new residential districts.
"To make relevant governmental affairs transparent has led to upgrading of operations of the local government," Li Fushuo, an official with the Chaoyang District Commission for Discipline Inspection, was quoted by Beijing News as saying.
The new system also calls on government departments to open information that is closely related with residents in a timely fashion while in the past the work was not done well enough, the official pointed out.