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More Transparency Needed for Governors
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Provincial governors have lower transparency and exposure in their work than mayors, a poll has found.

The survey, released yesterday, was conducted by the Horizon Research Group, a leading market research and consulting company based in Beijing.

Carried out in six major cities of which five are provincial capitals, the survey quizzed 1,592 respondents aged between 16 and 60.

"It was an experimental exercise as public evaluation of senior officials is rare in China," said Yuan Yue, chairman of the Horizon Research Group.

The results of the poll come as no surprise to those employed in the system.

"Chinese officials often keep low profiles," said Han Congbi, a deputy director of the Beijing Shijingshan District Organization Department.

Low work transparency and exposure of senior civil servants risks affecting public confidence and undermine governmental support, said Yuan.

Jiang Changjian, professor at Shanghai's Fudan University, said the idea of reflecting an administration's performance on particular senior officials helps obtain feedback on its policies.

Administrations can continue their good work and yet learn from the feedback, he stated.

For the public, it is more convenient to monitor and interact with local administrations if civil servants are open about their work, Jiang said.

He said to keep the public abreast of the government's work requires strategy.

"Public services, like commercial companies, need to learn marketing strategies," Jiang said.

The professor suggested one way in which officials can learn to promote their policies to the general public.

Governors and mayors should spend more time communicating to the media and use it as a platform to communicate with the community, Jiang said.

The index for public assessment of public services was also released by the company yesterday. It showed the country scores a relatively low 63.16 out of 100.

"Public services in China have improved but still have a long way to go in catching up with the public's increasing expectations," said Deng Guosheng, associate professor at Tsinghua University's School of Public Policy & Management.

The research sampled 4,218 interviewees in eight cities, seven towns and seven rural areas. Particular weaknesses were found in social security, employment, public safety and sanitation.

(China Daily December 20, 2006)

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