The Kunming Daily, a government-run newspaper of Kunming, capital city of Yunnan Province, publicized the city's senior officials' telephone numbers along with the description of their duties in its February 16 issue. These contents, occupying four full pages, attracted an incredibly large number of readers and that day's newspaper sold out immediately. A thread on a website called www.clzg.cn, covering the data has also become extremely popular. Moreover, the newspaper has reprinted and widely distributed the February 16 issue in order to make the information accessible to more local readers.
This publication has become a hot topic among the people who were attending a meeting of the Kunming Municipal Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) that opened on February 16. Many of these political advisers regarded the exposure as a positive move taken by the local government. But some others disagreed and presumed that it would have some negative impact on bureaucrats' daily operations, possibly generating telephone harassment.
Wu Tinggen said that the exposure would not only help ordinary citizens to make their voices heard by the governments but also help the authorities to supervise their subordinates.
Liu Shuwen noted that the exposure would undoubtedly pressure the officials to some extent. On the other hand, it could serve as the driving force for them to do a better job. Liu did not believe that disturbing calls were likely if officials properly served the public.
Zhou Hailian believed that the exposure could not count much in regard to improving government operations. He said that the government should introduce a series of detailed measures to inform ordinary people how to proceed if they wished to contact governmental officials for help and to ensure that the officials will effectively respond to the public's concerns.
(China.org.cn by Pang Li, February 18, 2008)