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Gov't Bolstering Accountability

Only several days after China's former environmental protection czar resigned for dereliction of duty, Shenzhen, China's first special economic zone in southern Guangdong Province, has started a system of accountability for administrators.

The supervision mechanism includes 34 cases in which an official concerned should take responsibility, ranging from nepotism to faults in major decision making.

Earlier this month when the responsibility system started, a set of detailed measures to beef up accountability were also promulgated in Shenzhen.

According to Huang Weijian, spokesperson for the municipal supervision bureau of Shenzhen, the establishment of a responsibility system for administrators can be seen as a breakthrough in using an institutional method to standardize officials' conduct.

It is a third channel for supervision besides disciplinary measures and legal instruments, Huang added.

"The accountability system requires administrators to take certain responsibilities when they are granted certain power and helps enhance the supervision by the public," Huang commented.

Accountability has been a controversial topic in China this year.

Before Shenzhen, east China's Zhejiang Province, Huadian City of northeastern Jilin Province and Chengdu, capital city of southwestern Sichuan Province, had followed the suit.

Chongqing began to employ a responsibility mechanism targeted at officials in July 2004, which was the first in the form of a local government rule on the Chinese mainland. The city has since initiated accountability procedures for against 49 local officials.

Professor Wang Xuehui, vice president of the administration institute of the Southwest China University of Politics and Law, which is based in Chongqing, said, "Accountability is the basic requirement of a modern responsible government. Its improvement displays China's resolve in building a responsible, service-oriented, and responsible government."

"To further beef up accountability and transparency in China, such problems as who should take responsibility and who will be authorized to demand somebody else to account should be addressed properly," Wang added.

(Xinhua News Agency December 22, 2005)

Hold Officials to Account
Official Accountability Needs Clarification
Government More Resolute in Fighting Dereliction of Duty
Incompetent Officials Face Tougher Scrutiny
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