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“Statute of China’s Governmental Information Disclosure” Taking Effect From 1 May 2008

2007-08-28

The (hereinafter referred as ), which is in order to ensure the rights of Chinese citizens, corporations and other organizations to acquire governmental information and to increase the transparency of the Chinese government, recently was promulgated by the State Council of the PRC and would be put in force on 1 May 2008.
 
 
 
The consists of 5 chapters, which respectively are general principals, range of disclosure, the mode & procedure of disclosure, supervision & security and supplementary articles. The mainly included the following contents:
 
 

1. Subject to disclose the governmental information.
 
  

According to the , there are three major subjects who have the responsibility to disclose the governmental information: administrations, organizations authorized by law with responsibility to manage public utilities and enterprises & government-sponsored institutions, such as education, water supply, electricity supply, heat supply, environment protection, medical and health, family planning and public transportation, which tie up with the interests of citizens.
 
 

The first two subjects are the administration subjects ordained by Chinese Administrative Permission Law, Administrative Reconsideration Law, Administrative Penalty Law and State Compensation Law to exercise administrative power and bear administrative responsibility. They possess the governmental information resource and should absolutely bear the obligation to disclose the governmental information.
 
  

The third subject also produces and acquires lots of public information of society during the progress of providing public services. And this kind of information is closely connected with people’s living and producing. Therefore, it was brought into adjustment range of the as one of subjects. However, considering these enterprises and government-sponsored institutions are not administrations, it is especially regulated that they should take this statute for reference when disclosing the information, which is produced and acquired during the progress of providing public services. The specific measures would be stipulated by relevant departments or authorities of the State Council.
 
 

2. Range of disclosure
 
 

The clearly regulated that the administrations should initiatively disclose the information which accords with one of the following requirements: 1. information related to the vital interests of citizens, corporations and other organizations; 2.information needed to be widely known and participated by public; 3. information that can reflect the administration’s establishment, function and procedure for handling affairs; 4.other information that should be initiatively publicized according to the laws, regulations and other rules.
 
 

3. Establishing disclosure system upon application
 
 

Besides the governmental information which should be initiatively disclosed by administrations pursuant to the , citizens, corporations and other organizations could, according to their particular requirements of producing, living and scientific researching, apply for relevant governmental information before departments of the State Council, local governments of different levels and departments of local government at or above the county level.
 
 

According to the , written forms (including electronic messages) are required when applying for governmental information before administrations. If an applicant has true difficulty in writing application, he may apply orally and the accepted administration should fill in the application of governmental information disclosure on behalf of him.
 
 

Pursuant to the , as to the governmental information which is applied for disclosure, the administrations should reply respectively according to the following 4 circumstances: 1. for the information within the range of disclosure, the administrations should tell the applicants the way and method of obtaining the governmental information; 2. for the information out of the range of disclosure, the administrations should inform the applicants with relevant explanations; 3. for the information, which should not be disclosed by the accepted administrations or did not exist, the administration should inform the applicants. If the administrations which should disclose the governmental information is ascertained, the name and contact method of the administration should be informed to the applicants; 4. for the application with ambiguous content, the administration should ask the applicants to make amendment and supplement.
 
 

This has drawn a high attention of the society since it came out, however to what extend it would promote the governmental information disclosure and realize people’s right to learn the truth, right to participate and right to supervise concerning the government’s work after it taking effect, we would wait and see.
 

 
 
 
 

(By GL & CO. Law Firm on 28 August 2007)
 

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