China Sets Out to Cut Secrecy, but Laws Leave Big Loopholes – Jim Yardley
China announced new regulations on Tuesday to reduce government secrecy and grant citizens greater access to official information, but the regulations include broad exceptions that raise questions about how much new openness will be tolerated.
The regulations, approved in a decree signed by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, were announced with fanfare on Tuesday but will not become effective until May 1, 2008. And the caveats suggest that the new regulations may represent only measured steps in fulfilling promises by top leaders to create a more transparent and accountable government…
The new rules, as decided by China’s cabinet, include a list of “priorities” detailing what information should be eligible for public release: government responses to emergencies; government spending and fees; and official investigations into environmental problems and public health concerns, as well as food and drug safety.
(Photo of a popular Chinese TV Drama called “Government Secrecy”)