HEFEI - Facing a public grilling under the spotlight can be a tough experience for officials, but it might be an effective measure to improve government work. Some Chinese local governments have recently launched series of live TV shows in which officials answer questions from an audience, in a move to strengthen public supervision.
Recalling the shows he joined, Yuan Hua, deputy party secretary of Chuzhou city in East China's Anhui province, said it was the first time he had answered such detailed and sensitive questions on TV.
Yuan is director of a newly launched project in the city -- the construction of a modern industrial park with an investment of over 100 billion yuan ($15.7 billion).
During the show, many sharp questions were put to Yuan, such as how the government will rehouse the 1,400 households' inhabitants displaced by the project; what will it do to prevent possible corruption and ensure fairness; and whether the construction can benefit the people.
"This requires us to better carry out our work, to have a thorough understanding of problems, and to think maturely about solutions to the problems. Facing the public directly allows not a scrap of negligence."
Yuan introduced the progress of the project and revealed a timetable for the project and how it was being supervised to the public during the show.
An Guoling, an official with the local government of Chuzhou, explained that the city holds two kinds of TV shows for officials -- one will be held at the end of the year to let heads of local government institutions report their work and receive judgments from the public; the other is about the progress of important projects and government work in the city.
"As for the questions which cannot be solved on the spot during the show, officials have to give written replies within a certain range of time and report the solutions to the municipal government," An said.
China, the world' s second-largest economy, has been undergoing a set of changes concerning its social stratum, income distribution and social needs. Such problems as the regional imbalance, the urban-rural imbalance, the income gap and the backwardness of social services have becoming ever more prominent. Wang Kaiyu, a socialist in Anhui, said promoting transparency of the government's work is a most efficient way to ease societal concerns.
The live show was initiated in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, in 2010. It has been adopted by local governments in several provinces including Hunan, Hubei, Henan and Hainan since the beginning of this year.
Hao Xinfu, an expert with the Anhui Party School of the CPC, said that at this critical period of the social reform and development, it is especially important for officials to pay attention to different voices in order to make rational and correct decisions.
However, some also warn that beside the TV shows, governments should focus on establishing mechanisms to enhance public supervision, such as to reporting some government work to the public on a regular basis, and handling problems that come to light during the shows strictly according to the law.
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