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Economy housing needs transparency
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A person who recently applied to Beijing authorities for an economy apartment reportedly had an 18-digit ID card number with no other numerals but "1". The "ridiculous" ID card number has raised serious doubts about the transparency in the economy housing scheme. The authorities should take the matter seriously and give the public a convincing explanation, says an article in Qian Jiang Evening News. Excerpt:

In response to public criticism of the weird ID card number of an applicant for an economy apartment, the Beijing housing authorities have said the number posted on the Internet is not his ID card number. Instead, it is the serial number of the applicant, who has not been issued an ID card for special reasons.

But the argument is too weak to convince people.

One cannot help wonder how a citizen without an ID card could apply for economy housing in Beijing. According to rules, an applicant must be a registered resident of Beijing for more than three years and should be at least 18 years of age to become eligible for the scheme.

Since the applicant, surnamed Gao, applied for an apartment, one has to assume he is registered with Beijing's urban department, which automatically means he has a valid ID card number. A citizen without an ID card does not mean he/she has no ID number, which can be easily identified from his/her household register.

How come the civil servants ignored such an important fact?

Economy housing is a kind of social welfare, offering comparatively inexpensive apartments, built from social resources, to low-income families. Since all citizens contribute to building social resources they have the right to demand that the authorities make applicants' basic personal information public to clear a controversy.

To ensure all applicants get equal chance to enjoy social welfare, government departments should make the application process more fair and transparent so that it can pass any public scrutiny.

(China Daily September 7, 2009)

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