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Local authorities guilty of failing to disclose gov't info
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Recently in two separate cases, courts found against both Huangzhou Traffic Bureau and Yuyao city government for failing properly to disclose relevant government information in October 2008. The details of the two cases are as follows:

Case one: Huangzhou People's Court ruled on October 7, 2008 that Huangzhou Traffic Bureau of Huanggang City, Hubei had breached administrative law by failing to disclose government-related information.

Plaintiff Xu Jianguo of Huangzhou works at Yipai Law Firm in Beijing. He decided to buy a motorcycle in Huangzhou. On May 1, 2008 he submitted a written application to the Huangzhou Traffic Bureau, requesting it to disclose the standard road maintenance fee charged for motorcycles, the relevant procedure, and the punishment for violation of relevant regulations.

Huangzhou Traffic Bureau received Xu's application on May 3, 2008 but failed to give him any answer before June 10 of the same year.

Xu lodged a claim based on Article 24 of the Regulations of the People's Republic of China on the Disclosure of Government Information: After receiving a request for open government information, if an on-the-spot reply is not possible, administrative agencies should provide a reply within 15 business days of receipt of a request.

This was therefore held to be administrative malfeasance by Huangzhou Traffic Bureau. The Huangzhou People's Court decreed that Huangzhou Traffic Bureau had breached administrative law by failing to respond to Xu's written application within 15 business days, and the Bureau had to bear the litigation cost of 50 yuan.

Case two: After receiving no response from the Yuyao city government to an application to inspect land requisition information, 68 Niyantou villagers of Yuyao, Zhejiang, applied to higher Ningbo city government for administrative review. The Ningbo government made the decision that Yuyao authorities should deal with the issue in compliance with the Regulations of governing the disclosure of government information, within 30 days of receipt of the administrative review decision.

Niyantou village owns a total of 400 mu land (15 mu = 1 hectare), of which 200 mu has been requisitioned. But the Yuyao government had published only two land requisition notices. In order to understand the full facts, Xu Yaofang and other villagers submitted on May 26, 2008 a written application to the Yuyao government requesting disclosure of detailed land requisition information. The Yuyao government has yet to provide any response.

On July 4, 2008 Xu and other villagers applied to the Ningbo government for administrative review, requiring the Yuyao government to disclose the requested information within a given time limit.

The Yuyao government claimed that it had telephoned the applicants requesting their identification certificates, and informing them that they should apply to the Yuyao Bureau of Land and Resources. The applicants denied this claim and the Ningbo government found no satisfactory evidence that Yuyao government had performed its duty.

The Ningbo government held that the Yuyao government had failed to carry out its duty after receiving the application.

(China.org.cn by Zhang Ming'ai, October 10, 2008)

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