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Officials Checking Cell Phone for New Regulations
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Keeping up with the pace of change, one local district in Shaanxi Province in northwest China is now text messaging government documents.

According to Liu Quansheng, deputy director of Hanbin District Government in Ankang, "The text message system for sending documents has been running properly over the past month, improving administrative efficiency and reducing administrative costs."

Since July 1, chief officials of the government departments, bureaus and townships far from the office are now required to have their mobile phones on 24 hours a day to receive official notices.

Part of the increased efficiency translates into cutting costs. Liu Jianfeng, a district government official, said, "We can save some 50,000 yuan (US$6,410) in administrative costs every year."

Hu Junqi, an official in the agricultural technology promotion office under the district's agricultural bureau, said that when he would return to his office after months of working in remote villages, "I would find several documents on my desk issued weeks ago. With the new measure of sending documents via mobile phone, I can get the newly-issued documents at the same time as my colleagues in the office."

The innovation was put in place after extensive study and planning, according to Zhang Yaqing, deputy director of the district government.

Zhang said the text messaged documents are just as binding as paper documents.

Zhang Baotong, director of Shaanxi Provincial Economic Development Research Institute, said that rapid economic and social development requires continuous reform in government administration, and Hanbin District's new method of sending documents is an effort to meet the needs of the developing society.

(China Daily August 10, 2007)

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