Fifty-one out of 59 government administrations under the State Council and 70 percent of 43 selected city governments failed to pass an administrative transparency evaluation, according to a blue book report released on Thursday.
The blue book, an annual report on China's rule of law that was released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said administrative transparency has become the government's "shortcoming" and needs "improvement".
The report reviewed the implementation of the Regulations on the Disclosure of Government Information, a guideline issued by the State Council in 2007. To do so, it looked at information provided on the official websites of the administrations and city governments it was evaluating.
On the national level, the research panel chose "budget information" as the realm to assess the transparency of ministries and government administrations.
The highest score of 68 points on the centesimal system was earned by the Ministry of Science and Technology. It was followed by the National Population and Family Planning Commission and the State Forestry Administration.
The National Bureau of Corruption Prevention and the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine were at the bottom of the list, each with less than 10 points. More than 50 percent of the administrations being assessed scored between 30 and 50.
When assessing city governments, the panel used two perspectives, adding "information on food safety" as an item to be reviewed this time in addition to the "information on house demolition" subject that was also used last year.
A total of 13 local governments scored more than 60 points.
Ningbo government, in East China's Zhejiang province, topped the list with 71 points, while the government of Lanzhou, capital of Northwest China's Gansu province, was the bottom with a paltry 6 points.
Tian He, the book's executive editor-in-chief and an expert in rule of law studies with the academy, told China Daily that most governments failed to meet the requirement of the State Council's regulation because of "a lack of determination from top officials".
"In fact, if people in high positions don't care about government transparency, such requirements from the public seem useless," Tian admitted.
Asked to comment on the poor performance of the country's anti-corruption authority, Tian stressed that the index used for the evaluation was "objective".