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China Moves to Build Gov't Ruled by Law
Source: Xinhua
Source Date: Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Focus: ICT for MDGs, Citizen Engagement
Country: China
Created: Nov 15, 2010

China has moved to speed up the building of a clean government ruled by law, part of the country's efforts to further enhance the government's credibility and maintain a harmonious social order for its rapid economic development.

The Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council, or China' s cabinet, issued guidelines on Monday focusing on creating a government ruled by law, which requires officials and government staff to improve their ability in addressing "prominent problems" through legal means and invites the public to contribute to legislation.

According to a statement issued along with the guidelines, the State Council said it was "important" and "imperative" to build a government ruled by law, as China now faces challenges, including imbalanced development of rural and urban areas, a widening income gap, an increased numbers of "social conflicts" , as well as corruption and injustice in law enforcement in some sectors.

An official with the Legislative Affairs Office said Monday that the guidelines will further safeguard public interests and maintain social and economic order by requiring stepped-up efforts from authorities to investigate and punish cases that run counter to the country' s mandate for the safe production and issues related to food safety, the protection of natural resources and the environment, as well as public security.

The guidelines, which requires officials and government staff to improve their ability in addressing "prominent problems" through legal means, also stipulates that if officials perform their duties according to the law or are skillful at solving disputes by legal means, they will more likely be promoted.

However, government officials will be held liable for malfeasance or failure to fulfil their duty in major accidents or cases that have seriously violated laws.

Further, the guidelines stress the importance of public participation in legislation, saying people's opinions, reasonable needs and legitimate interests should all be considered in lawmaking.

Additionally, the guidelines state that the legislative process shall not be influenced to favor the interests of a certain sector or protect local interests.

Also, to facilitate the creation of a clean and transparent government, the guidelines require all government information, aside from that involved in state, commercial or private secrets, to be open to the public.

Government departments are also required to reply to pubic requests on the release of government information within a certain period of time and improve the ways of handling government affairs, according to the guidelines.
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