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Private Capital Dabbling in Public Service Sector in China

Beijing residents are aware that many new bus lines that opened in recent years are not operated by the city's only state-owned public transport company.

Private capital is more frequently seen in public service sectors such as bus operation and sewage treatment, as the Chinese government gradually opens the long-state-monopolized businesses to private funds to improve their efficiency.

Beijing resident Li Lin told Xinhua that he feels there is better public service now than a few years ago. "They are more efficient and care more for our needs," he said.

To provide efficient public service is one of the government's efforts to build its image as a public servant instead of a ruler, the image of "government" that deeply dwelt in Chinese culture and people’s hearts.

The government has to do so pressed by economic growth and social changes as well as the need to modernize itself, said Wang Yukai from the National School of Administration.

"Without introducing more social funds, the government itself may not meet the growing demand for public service," Wang said.

Monopolies and lack of policy transparency in old public service sectors caused low efficiency, misuse of government power and even corruption, he said.

The government expects market competition to improve the efficiency and quality of the services including heating, water supply, energy supply, sewage and rubbish treatment which are vital to citizens' daily lives.

The country has restructured its power grids nationwide while it has welcomed foreign and domestic companies to invest in power plants and heating plants.

"The reform in public service sectors will bring crucial changes to the administrative methods of Chinese government," said Prof. Qi Suyu from the National School of Administration.
(Xinhua News Agency June 12, 2004)

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