Gazette shows Shanghai at work
Shanghai has taken a small but important step in making its citizens aware of the workings of local government, with the publication of the mainland's first official gazette.
The Government Gazette, which initially included local regulations, personnel changes and opinions on policy, is aimed at increasing government transparency.
'This will have important significance in increasing the transparency of government and promoting structural innovation,' Mayor Xu Kuangdi wrote in the first issue. 'Placing the work of the Government under the supervision of society at large will certainly strengthen the ability to serve the people and to establish an honest, hard-working administration.'
He said the move was a step forward for economic management, the rule of law and democratisation.
The first edition carried the full text of municipal health insurance regulations, guidelines for a planned government reorganisation and new rules on promoting the computer software sector.
It also carried a notice on the trial reform of street inspections for infringements of health, environment and traffic obstructions. The notice called for the creation of a special taskforce with its own budget. Though it would have the power to fine offenders, this income would not supplement its budget. This is a key problem in many cities where government departments, from police to consumer protection agencies, abuse their powers by using fines to boost revenue.
'This is a fairly important step,' said a foreign observer in the city. 'There is a good variety [of information] in the Gazette.'
The Gazette will be published twice a month and made available free of charge. But the number of distribution points is limited and each outlet has only a few copies of the first edition.