Nine Chinese government departments, including the National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Labor and Social Security, will hold regular press conferences from January 2007.
"They will hold press conferences at a fixed time and place every month or quarter," said Cai Wu, minister of the State Council Information Office, at a press conference in Beijing on Thursday.
The seven other departments are the Ministry of Construction, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Commerce, State Forestry Administration, State Intellectual Property Office, China Meteorological Administration and China Insurance Regulatory Commission.
From the beginning of 2006, the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Health began to hold press conferences on a regular basis.
"China has made great progress in the release of information in 2006," said Cai.
To date, 74 departments under the State Council have put the system in place with 91 spokespersons appointed. China's 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions have all introduced the system and engaged 52 spokespersons.
Their achievements are particularly remarkable. Cai gave details showing that since the beginning of 2006 the State Council Information Office had held 58 press conferences giving journalists easy access to important information provided by central government organs and departments under the State Council.
Departments under the State Council and governments of provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions have held 506 and 757 press conferences respectively. The total number of press conferences held on the three tiers reached 1,321 in the past year.
In addition, 40 vice ministers have hosted press conferences here. This year 59 leading officials of various departments above the vice-ministerial level, including 12 ministers, hosted such events.
Cai said more government departments, including the Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Civil Affairs and Ministry of Communications, are also preparing to hold regular press briefings some time next year.
Information of Spokespersons
(Xinhua News Agency December 28, 2006)