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Gov't Officials to Launch Blogs for Public's Involvement
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Five leading environmental protection officers are set to launch blogs on their daily working lives.

The initiative will be launched on June 5, World Environment Day.

Li Chao, head of Shenyang Environment Environmental Protection Bureau, and four deputies will publish details of their daily work, details behind policy-making and also answer netizens' questions, said Shui Hua, director of the bureau's information office.

"We hope the blogs will help the public learn more about our efforts in environmental protection and encourage them to join us," said Shui.

The initiative in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province, has been welcomed by environmental experts and residents.

Wang Canfa, a professor at China University of Politics and Law, who is an expert on laws and regulations on environmental protection, said the new platform could help to improve the bureau's working efficiency.

Many local people have expressed an interest in the blogs.

"Compared with the traditional ways of writing and telephoning, it is more convenient for us nowadays to communicate with the officials online," said Zhang Yanjie, manager from one local international hotel.

Li Ning, a program officer at the China Liaison Office for the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, said: "The blogs will be a very good way to hear voices from both sides the government and the public.

"This shows a change in the government's working style to be more transparent."

Earlier this year, Shenyang unveiled the nation's first regulations that authorize members of the public to participate in environmental law legislation and file lawsuits against enterprises that cause pollution.

"In some ways, the blogs are the first step to implement this regulation because this will help the public acquire first-hand information," said Jia Feng, director of the information office of the State Environmental Protection Administration.

More and more government officials in China are beginning to launch working blogs to get public feedback on their performances.

Ren Chengyi, deputy director of the Standing Committee of the Chongqing Municipal People's Congress, opened a blog in February this year.

Su Yongxin, deputy mayor of Suzhou, a city in Jiangsu Province, and Zhou Hongyu, deputy chief of Wuhan Education Bureau in Hubei Province, have also set up blogs.

(China Daily May 18, 2006)

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