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Party Affairs to Be More Transparent
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The Organization Department of the Communist Party of China's Central Committee intends to improve the transparency of their work by appointing spokespersons to disseminate information a senior Party official said yesterday.

"We have selected the candidates," Ouyang Song, deputy minister of the department which is responsible for admitting cadres told a press briefing organized by the State Council Information Office.

Central and provincial government, ministries and commissions now all have spokespersons as a result of the information office's push for better communications. But Party organizations have not yet adopted the practice.

The department, which releases a range of information on issues related to the work of cadres through Xinhua News Agency, is also considering setting up a website, Ouyang said.

"A system where a spokesperson is provided assists in enhancing the public's trust in the authorities," said Hu Guangyun, an associate professor with Tsinghua University's School of Public Policy and Management.

"We don't know yet how far the Organization Department will go with regard to the transparency but this is a very positive gesture," Hu said.

At yesterday's news briefing, Ouyang confirmed there had been cases of unrest with a great many farmers in rural areas because of farmland acquisition by local governments.

But he denied these conflicts threatened social stability. "China is the world's most stable country. It shouldn't be strange that in a country so large, which is developing at such a pace, that certain areas will experience incidents of unrest," he said. He noted that the Party and government were taking measures to solve the problem.

The Party would continue to strengthen all things related to education and instill discipline among its members to fight corruption and abuse of power, said Ouyang.

The build-up of grassroots organizations had become a focal point of the Party's agenda and Ouyang confirmed that 1.75 billion yuan (US$219 million) had recently been earmarked to build offices in nearly 100,000 villages.

The Party admitted 2.47 million members last year from the 17.67 million who applied, said Ouyang. He said that the number of Party members under the ageof 35, and the number of applicants were all on the rise last year.

There were a total of 70.8 million members by the end of last year.

(China Daily March 2, 2006)

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